I strongly believe that the values established within a family unit are vital to the preservation and success of the family structure.
What are values? Values are the ideal thoughts, usually intangible or unseen that govern one's strongest believes such as; trust, love, respect, caring, forgiveness, empathy, financial stability, power, honor, health, etc.
Many families do take pride in what they believe in and instill those values to their children and bring forth another generation of loving, caring, confident, empathic, etc. individuals into this world. These parents take the time and invest the time in their children because they thoroughly understand and believe that they play the most important role in defining the mental makeup of their children. They accept full responsibility for their own flaws, look inward and modify their lives in a productive way in order to meet the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of their children. They understand that their children have a soul, a bright light that shines inside of them and that they cannot allow that light to be blown out be anyone. They work to nurture that soul and walk with their children at every stage of their challenging lives.
On the other hand, the perception and vocalization of these values is not enough to maintain harmony within a family. They must be modeled appropriately for the children in order for them to believe that we mean what we say. In other words, "we must walk the talk"! For example, If we claim to be loving, we have to demonstrate it to them by lending an ear, being patient, giving a hug, saying that your proud of them, attending school functions, and spending quality time to name a few examples. The feeling of love translates to, "I am important to my mom, dad, grandma, tia, or anyone who is seen as a parental figure." These feelings are irreplaceable and go a very long way in giving a child a great sense of self.
I believe that many people perceive that they are being loving by buying their children's love and attention by getting them the latest gadgets, trendy clothes, cars, toys, nannies, high definition tv's or computers! On the contrary, kids will pick up that they are being traded for gizmos or other people for time they need and deserve from their parents. They quickly learn and feel that they are second best or even third of fourth depending on their parent's life style. The stronger the disconnection grows, the stronger the resentment, and soon anger slowly creeps in making them more vulnerable to taking dangerous risks.
Kids have a way of letting us know that they are being neglected and not getting solid values instilled in them. They find creative, secretive, and destructive ways to let us know that they are need of help! Can you share some ways they let us know? I can name a few because I have worked with many kids that have admitted that what they really needed was for their parents to be present and attentive! The majority of them stated almost every time, that they wish their parents were strict and gave them a sense of structure because they felt that they were out of control and had no one to hold them accountable until it was too late.
Some ways that they show us that they are calling out for help are: self medicating by using drugs, bullying, low grades, apathy, disrespect for authority, loud vulgar music, joining gangs, over eating, excessive dating, extreme withdrawal, annorexia, and violence toward self and others.
The irony is that parents see these things happening right in front of them, but they don't really want to see it! Or they see it, and justify it as their child is just going through a phase, or they blame it on their friends, society, etc. The other interesting thing is that many parents of these children can be seen as being great parents by others who don't see what's really going on behind closed doors. The only way to take a valid measure of how effective a parent really is, is by interviewing their children and allowing them to express themselves freely without fear of negative repercussions. The truth about this is that a student can rarely express this unless you have a professional intervening depending on their age. They either lack trust or they feel that they will be wasting their time because they are convinced that their parents will neve change.
Many parents also think that the way they were raised by their own parents is adequate or enough and they use the same methods with their own children. The reality is that we are all unique human beings with unique minds and the only way to support that uniqueness is to be present and to take interest in what are children are leaning toward! As parents we need to explore and discover what is best for our children with our children. If we profess to know what's best for them, how do we go about showing them? Do we just give lip service or do we show them that the best about them is what we as parents place in them by way of values. These are the thoughts that our children understand are important to us and to those around us.
In conclusion, if we have taken on the huge responsibility of becoming a parent, we should work toward finding out more about what that means. We should ask what our values are with regard to sustaining and being responsible for our family members and then assess if we are walking what we are talking. Don't we hold our teachers, doctors, priests accountable to high standards when it comes to their values? Of course we do, because they are influencing the most precious treasures we entrust them with, our children! Even more importantly, we should hold ourselves to high standards of accountability for the values we are teaching or not teaching our childre. We are their most important influence in their lives and we have been given such a privilege-not a burden to help them thrive, embrace, and discover a world of possibilities.
With that said "Put a little MaxPower into your life!"