7 Core Values Every Child Needs

core values

My children are adults now, but when they were kids, I learned the importance of teaching them certain core values.  I realized that if I didn’t teach them, they would automatically pick up the values of our culture: things like you have to climb the corporate ladder and make as much money as you can, or ideas that having a nice car and lots of materialistic things will make you happy. Are these really the values we want guiding our children?

Core values are like a navigation system that guide our actions and behaviors. They are the ethics we live by, principles that affect our decisions and determine our choices. Your children’s core values will affect every decision they make from the home to the workforce.  Helping them develop core values is essential for a life of purpose and significance.  These are the 7 core values my family has chosen to live by.

1. Interdependence rather than independence

Being in relationships and navigating the challenges and blessings that come from interdependence with others makes us healthy and well-rounded individuals. We were created for community, and in community we bring balance to each other. It’s important to teach our kids to relate to others in healthy ways, whether it’s on the playground or with their siblings; asking for your child’s input into minor decisions like where to eat, and celebrating each family member in their special moments are ways to teach this core value.

2. Resiliency

Life comes with disappointments and setbacks. It’s important for kids to learn how to overcome these painful obstacles. Life doesn’t always go our way. Learning to see these times as opportunities for growth teaches them to become powerful instead of a victim to circumstance.  Our own ability to rise above disappointment and stay hopeful is the most powerful way to teach resilience. At times, great opportunities come when our kids come face-to-face with let downs. {Tweet This} Talk through their disappointments with them, showing compassion and empathy for what they’re going through. Then brainstorm with them about positive steps forward.

3. Respect for Self

A healthy respect for self will allow them to say no when they need to. Knowing it’s okay to say, “no” when being pressured to do something they don’t want to do validates that their needs are important too. And honoring someone else’s “no” validates that others’ needs are important as well. Healthy boundaries result from a respect for self and are essential for a healthy life.

4. A relationship with God

Personally, for our family, it has been important to teach our children the importance of a life in connection with God.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the one who would know the most about life is the one who created us. A life centered around God brings stability and strength. Awareness of and dependence on God helps them remember that life is bigger than themselves. Taking them to church, praying with them, reading the bible together, and talking about how you relate to God are great ways to teach this core value.

5. Integrity

Integrity means I can be counted on to fulfill a commitment I made to the best of my ability. It can also mean I admit when I’ve overcommitted and make amends for how it affects the other person. Additionally, integrity means honesty, trustworthiness, and faithfulness. Repeatedly following through with your own commitments to your kids shows them first-hand the value of integrity. And when you find yourself breaking your commitments to them, it’s important to apologize and strategize about how to keep your word in the future. These are occasions to grow in your own integrity, which teaches them the true value of being a trustworthy person.

6. Strong Work Ethic

In order for our children to become successful in life, a strong work ethic is essential. It’s how you respect your boss, co-worker, and customer. Teaching kids to do regular chores, help with preparing dinner, serving their grandparents, and volunteering at church or school are all ways to teach children the importance of a good work ethic.

7. Dreaming and Imagining Possibilities

Having the ability to dream and imagine opens up their potential. They will find they are capable of so much when given the opportunity to dream. Life has a way of resisting these dreams and will bring balance to outrageous ideals. But your support, along with your guidance and wisdom, will encourage them to realize great potential.

What are some of the core values you want to teach your kids?