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Teaching Your Children Values


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Introduction: Why? When? Where? Who? What? and How?


Living by certain tried-and-proven standards is the best route to personal happiness as well as to a stable and productive society.


Values should be taught to children of all ages -- with differing agendas and changing emphasis as children mature.


Values are best taught in the home.


Parents are the crucial exemplars and instructors.


Each parent must decide which values to teach. This book is a menu from which to choose and a teaching system that will help with whatever values parents select.

There are some methods especially well suited to teaching values to preschoolers. Other methods work best for elementary ages, and still others are effective for adolescents.


Month 1: Honesty

...with other individuals, with institutions, with society, with self...the inner strength and confidence that is bred by exacting truthfulness, trustworthiness, and integrity

Month 2: Courage

...daring to attempt difficult things that are good...strength not to follow the crowd, to say no and mean it and influence others by it...being true to convictions and following good impulses, even when they are unpopular or inconvenient...boldness to be outgoing and friendly

Month 3: Peaceability

...calmness, peacefulness, serenity...the tendency to try to accommodate rather than argue...the understanding that differences are seldom resolved through conflict and that meanness in others is an indication of their problem or insecurity and thus of their need for your understanding...the ability to understand how others feel rather than simply reacting to them...control of temper

Month 4: Self-Reliance and Potential

...individuality...awareness and development of gifts and uniqueness...taking responsibility for own actions...overcoming the tendency to blame others for difficulties...commitment to personal excellence

Month 5: Self-Discipline and Moderation

...physical, mental, financial self-discipline...moderation in speaking, in eating, in exercising...the controlling and bridling of one's own appetites...understanding the limits of body and mind...avoiding the dangers of extreme, unbalanced viewpoints...the ability to balance self-discipline with spontaneity

Month 6: Fidelity and Chastity

...the value and security of fidelity within marriage and of restraint and limits before marriage...the commitments that go with marriage and that should go with sex...a grasp of the long-range (and widespread) consequences that can result from sexual amorality and infidelity


Month 7: Loyalty and Dependability

...to family, to employers, to country, church, schools, and other organizations and institutions to which commitments are made...support, service, contribution...reliability and consistency in doing what you say you will do

Month 8: Respect

...for life, for property, for parents, for elders, for nature, and for the beliefs and rights of others...courtesy, politeness, and manners...self-respect and the avoidance of self-criticism

Month 9: Love

...individual and personal caring that goes both beneath and beyond loyalty and respect...love for friends, neighbors, even adversaries...and a prioritized, lifelong commitment of love for family

Month 10: Unselfishness and Sensitivity

...becoming more extra-centered and less self-centered...learning to feel with and for others...empathy, tolerance, brotherhood, sensitivity to needs in people and situations

Month 11: Kindness and Friendliness

...awareness that being kind and considerate is more admirable than being tough or strong...the tendency to understand rather than confront...gentleness, particularly toward those who are younger or weaker...the ability to make and keep friends...helpfulness, cheerfulness

Month 12: Justice and Mercy

...obedience to law, fairness in work and play...an understanding of natural consequences and the law of the harvest... a grasp of mercy and forgiveness and an understanding of the futility (and bitter poison) of carrying a grudge


HOMEBASE: a national organization of parents who share common concerns, ideas, and objectives as well as values. What the organization is and how to get involved


About the Author

Richard and Linda Eyre are writers, educators, and public speakers on topics such as parenting, life-balance, and family-strengthening. They have spoken before the American Bar Association, the AARP, the American Dental Association, executives at Fortune 100 Companies like Disney and Merck, and many more. Richard and Linda are the authors of more than two dozen books, including How to Talk to Your Child About Sex, Empty-Nest Parenting, The Entitlement Trap, Teaching Your Children Joy, and the #1 national bestseller Teaching Your Children Values.


This successful abridgment of the recent book ( LJ 3/15/93) focuses on 12 values that parents should encourage in their children: honesty, courage, peaceability, self-reliance, self-discipline, chastity and fidelity, loyalty, respect, love, unselfishness, kindness, and justice. Using a value-of-the-month approach, the Eyres clarify each concept with spirited examples from their lives. Suitable methods of instruction, such as games, family discussions, and awards, are explained, and suggestions for selecting techniques appropriate for preschoolers, elementary-age children, and adolescents are included. Read with warmth by the authors, this program should be made available to parents in most public libraries.-- Linda Bredengerd, Hanley Lib., Univ. of Pittsburgh, Bradford, Pa.

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