When was the last time you considered what your core values are, the beliefs that mean the most to you? How quickly could you list the values you want to live by and pass on to your children? One of the my favorite exercises is to walk parents through a core values session. When first asked to list their values, parents often pause, but soon a smile follows the moment they focus on the endearing possibilities that matter most in life.
While a few of the top values come to mind, most clients need additional prompts. You can find plenty of core values’ lists on-line or download this PDF version of Core Values. Once you have the list in hand, take some time to circle the values that mean the most to you. You may even choose to color code or underline the most significant values, and simply highlight additional values that are generally important to you. If you have a co-parent, spouse or other person you’d like to share this activity with, print off another sheet so they can independently choose their own values.
With list in hand (or completed) consider the following questions:
-Can you find your values?
-Are you living by them?
-Are you promoting them?
-If you’re married or dating someone, does he/she share your values? Does that person have other values you’d like to add to your list? Why do these values stand out to you or your significant other?
–What values do your children consider important?
For more in-depth exercises, try these:
-What makes these values important to you?
-Can you add one (1) new way to incorporate each of these values into your everyday life?
-Or choose your most significant value and find five (5) ways you’ll implement/share this value with others this month, week or year.
-Sit down with your loved ones and ask them what makes their top core values so important to them. Find out how you can support their core values.
-If you have differing or opposing values, discuss what you can do to be respectfully regardless of the differences.
This exercise is not only a great way to encourage a family (or couple’s) discussion (imagine how much you will learn about one another), it’s also provides a wonderful way to enhance your personal life.
Traits of An Effective Parent
Immediate Stress Busters
Co-Parenting Tips (separate households-still provides excellent tips that can be used in the same household)
Parenting on the Same Page