Teaching values to your pre-teens is a very important part of your job as a parent. It is at this stage of their lives, more so than at any other, when they will begin to develop the moral aptitude that they will carry into adulthood. There are many ways that you can teach your pre-teens values that will help them throughout their lives.
Set an Example
Being a person of high values yourself is the best way to raise children who will follow suit. Children of all ages look to you and watch you when they are creating the people that they will be. If they see you lying, even small lies, they will assume that’s okay and if they see you being honest, even when it’s hard, they will learn that that is the way to live.
Talk to Them
When you are having conversation with your pre-teen, bring up the subject of values. Talk about what they are and why they should live their lives with good values. Discuss the benefits of having them and the downfalls that occur when people don’t have them.
Offer Religious Guidance
No matter what your religious beliefs, almost every religion believes in moral values. When a pre-teen has an interest in religion, you are offered a great opportunity to incorporate these teachings with the morals and values that go along with them.
Use Life Examples
If you see someone who has made a choice to act without having any real values, this is a time for you to sit down with your pre-teen. Talk with them about what the person did, what they could have done differently, the outcome, and how the outcome could have been better had they had better values. The opposite conversation can be had when you notice someone who has acted with obvious values.
Some of the most important and useful values that a pre-teen can learn will be those which involve interactions with other people. Helping your child to get involved in a team of some sort, whether sports or academic or volunteer, will teach them some strong values and lessons about how people with values work together to be successful.
Pre-teens should be taught to have good values that they can take with them into adulthood. They need to understand the “ripple effect” that the choices they make and the actions they take will have on those around them. Explain to your pre-teen that, just as a pebble thrown into a still lake will cause a ripple that extends far beyond the initial splash, so will his or her actions, whether for the good or for the bad.