In today`s crazy, fast-paced world, it can seem harder than ever to teach children the golden rule - from the news to the movies to the courts, it`s the bad guys who always seem to win. Many of us also worry that because we don`t always have as much time with our kids as we`d like, they`ll be especially vulnerable to outside influence and peer pressure. But there are creative ways to teach our kids values and we can squeeze those lessons into a few odd moments a day.
When else can you regularly sit down, engage in a common, pleasurable activity and chat? The mere act of communicating - of sharing information and teaching your child to think independently - fosters respect, care, loyalty and responsibility. And the security kids get from this routine helps build the much-needed self-assurance: Without a strong inner sense of self, say psychologists, people have a hard time learning to care about others.
Can`t schedule a nightly family dinner? It`s the routine that counts. Some families share breakfast, others, 15-minute snacks in the evenings.
Make Bedtime Special
It`s a uniquely intimate moment: You can review the day together and help your children feel safe. By realising that you take the time to listen to their problems, victories, fears and confusions, kids feel valued and learn about kindness and consideration for others.
Control the Television
You can`t be laissez-faire about TV. Whenever possible, watch with the kids. Discuss the shows to put them in perspective. Some shows actually teach positive lessons.
Talk Their Talk
When Satish started making fun of overweight classmates, his mother appealed to the scientist in him. He loved Jurassic Park. And so she would tell him that some people have DNA that makes them put on weight more easily than others. He almost immediately stopped his attacks.
Share Your Own War Stories
Bravery is probably the toughest value to live up to, so your kids will benefit from hearing about your own struggles.
Seize the Moment
If your kids demonstrate an inclination to be generous, take them up on it, no matter how inconvenient the timing. When your pre-schooler volunteers to help make the salad, let her, even if she drops more lettuce on the floor than in the bowl. Teaching values doesn`t require much time. But it does take a great deal of patience.