Life lessons learnt at home

2011-12-15 00:00

IT’S through watching and listening to others that children not only learn skills but also the attitudes and values lying behind our actions.

A person’s attitude and values often mean successes or failure in life. If someone is able to persevere, work hard and push through they will go further than piggybacking sloths who lie on the couch waiting for their lives to be placed in front of them. We slave to the children and bow to their every need and want. Resulting in a generation of weaklings who don’t know how to think for themselves or see the fruits of their labour which is essential for them to grow into prosperous adults.

We give and give and give and then expect them to learn the value of things and have an attitude of hard work when they have never had to apply themselves to anything.

Attitudes and values are muscles that need to be stretched and trained in the correct way so that they can grow and become strong. Children need to have opportunities to choose life-giving attitudes and display values that will grow their worth. They then need to experience the pain of wrong choices and the joy and pleasure of good choices.

Our society tends towards the attitude and value that “if it feels good do it” and “instant gratification”. Both of which can lead to the downfall of one’s character. Children need to learn in life that we need to do things because they are right not because it’s what we feel like. We may feel like visiting our friends, but our granny would be expecting us to join the family for lunch. We may not feel like washing the bath, but it’s something we just need to do. By drawing our children into our real lives, instead of letting them drift on the outskirts, they can learn valuable attitudes and values that may very well save their lives.

Take some time to consider the points below.

• What attitudes and values do we want to develop within our children and daily life activities we encounter that can build these within them?

• As parents we need to be constantly conscious of the attitude and values we are unknowingly placing within our children’s hearts. Our words and actions speak so loudly to little minds.

“Boy am I glad to be home — work was awful, so glad I can now just sit and do nothing!” does not encourage a good work ethic just as “I can’t wait to get that designer dress for Christmas,” does not encourage a child to think of the less fortunate around them

Some thoughts to consider: have you noticed that a family who likes nature has nature lovers, a sporty family has athletes, a musical family has musicians. Why do children who hate maths have parents who hate maths?

Let’s try to remain positive or at least neutral toward all topics and if we must voice our dislike we explain to our children why so that they know they need to justify their negativity. “I don’t like the slimy feeling of mushrooms in my mouth”, instead of “mushrooms are so gross”.

This allows our children to explore all their own personal feelings towards a topic and so be open to learning from it.

During the holidays spend some time looking at attitudes or values you think you are unconsciously placing on your child or family. Then choose some ways to change your thoughts and attitudes to have a more positive effect.


• Joanne Madgwick is a parenting and educational consultant. Inquiries:


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