Give Your Child Your Best
If I was able to ask you the question, “Would you like your child to always make the right choices?”, I don’t think any parent would say no! All parents, I believe, even bad parents, actually want their children to make good and better choices than they have made in life.
When our children are young, it’s easy to control their choices with rules. We can tell them it’s a rule not to play in the street, because you can get hurt, but when they are older they might challenge that rule, saying they’ll get out of the street when cars approach them. This is just a simple example, but I want you to understand the difference between rules and values.
Rules Are Meant To Serve Us And Can Be Changed
When It Doesn’t Serve Us.
Values Are Meant To Rule Us, Even When No One Is Watching.
In saying this, there is a clear dilemma. When parents raise their children on rules only, the children can eventually decide for themselves that they don’t like the rules and they will change it to suit themselves and their needs. Rules only serve a purpose until it doesn’t serve the person any longer. This is true for each and every rule you can think of – even laws of countries. This is why laws change or school rules are adjusted. If the rule doesn’t serve anyone, the rule has become obsolete. Let me give you another example so that you can clearly see how this works.
If you have a rule in the home that bedtime is at eight o’clock at night, the rule will change as the child grows older. Rules serve a definite purpose in our homes and children will without a doubt challenge our rules whenever possible. The main goal for rules are to keep us safe and guide us, but the rules can be changed in order to serve our needs at any time in our lives. Rules are great for teaching discipline, but are not a good way to teach your child to make constant great choices. If telling the truth is only a rule in your home, they will disobey and lie when it serve them better to lie and when they get away with lying, they might even feel glad that they were not caught. So how do you make sure your child won’t tell lies?
The only way to make sure your child doesn’t lie or steal or make continuous wrong choices, is to not teach it as rules, but as values. Values are much stronger than rules. We have control over the rules in our homes, but the opposite is true for values:
Our Values Control Us.
Values are like an internal compass that cannot change. When kids are raised on values, it’s a different ballgame! Kids can see mom and dad practicing what they preach – they walk the talk. The kids know that they can speak their mind respectfully if they disagree and they will be listened to and not be told “because I said so”.
The only problem is, you can’t raise kids with strong values
if you don’t have strong values yourself.
If loving and being kind to people is a rule, you might still swear at, gossip or badmouth people and your child will see this. When it’s a value your child will see how you handle difficult situations involving people really well.
When it’s just a rule to not steal, you might still brag after being handed too much change at the store. When you live by a value to not steal, you will return the money and your child will learn integrity.
Another important difference between rules and values is:
When rules are broken, kids (and even adults) might feel good
and that they got away with something!
When values are crossed
– when people give in to bad choices that are totally against their values –
the result is normally guilt.
This could be a great way to measure whether you have taught your child a value or a rule. Does your child feel guilty for breaking a “rule” or are they upset that they got caught?
Remember, rules are controlled by the situation and can change according to our needs, but values rule us. If you raise your children on values and just use rules to help you, you will ensure that your children make great choices. Their values will rule their lives and will guide them through every decision they make.
‘Till next time, get busy Raising Leaders!