Values and how they affect social skills


Very often our behavior, what we say and do, is influenced by our "values." What is a value? We may say: The ideas that we believe are important, the things that we rate highly are our values.

Values influence the way we view the world, the decisions we make, and ultimately our behavior itself.  Values help us to gain real clarity about who we are and what we stand for.  They are the family's ideas or strong personal beliefs about what is important and what is not. In addition, they guide us to what is good and what is bad; what is right and what is wrong.  Values give meaning and direction to every part of the family's life.

“Being clear about your values and beliefs –committing to them – is critical to being assertive in resisting negative pressure,” according to Dr. Peter Benson of The Search Institute. “One of the reasons assertiveness is lacking in some kids is that they are just not clear what matters to them.”

Children need to be guided by intentional and thoughtful family values and then they will be guided in the way that is important to you.

Communicating Values

Parents can communicate values first by setting the example they want their children to follow.  Parenting with intention begins with understanding yourself and your own values and motivations.  Parenting with intention is about being present and conscious in all that you do.   It is important to talk with your children about these things as well to each other; Support your children's interests for they are also creating values. Most important, parents need to be consistent in their actions and words with the children, for children fully understand the values their parents hold.

Our children never fail to imitate us.  Young children and adolescents alike learn a great deal about how to act by watching you.  So, model the values and traits you wish to cultivate in your child: respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, tolerance.  Do things for other people without expecting a reward.  Express thanks and offer compliments. Above all, treat your children the way you value people should be treated, with kindness, patience and respect.  They will in turn reciprocate these same behaviors to you and to others.

What can parents do to incorporate intentional values?

  • Parents need to talk about their family values and why these particular things are important to their family. They also need to help children learn to respect the values of others.

Values may change throughout a lifetime. So remember, the family is laying an important foundation for their child's values to grow when they:

  • know what their values are
  • know why they were chosen
  • talk with the children about social relationships and values

Values affect your family in many ways:

  • what they do with their time
  • how they spend their money
  • how they prepare in school
  • healthy eating habits/ how they dress
  • their set of beliefs and practices; their religion
  • how they relate to each other and to others

What are you teaching your children to value? 
Choose your values thoughtfully and intentionally.

“When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.” ~William Ward

Some ideas taken from Dr. Peter Benson of The Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN.

-- Susan Stern, LCSW is the founder of The Social Skills Place, Inc.

  • Dillian

    Jun 14, 2017

    Your story was really inrvmfatioe, thanks! Protection Status