Values Based Parenting is designed for use by parents with children aged from toddlers to teenagers.
The Values Based Parenting program and web site help parents raise their Family Values to an overt level in your family life, hence allowing your Family Values to be used as reference points in discussions and problem solving (rather than our values sitting below a level of day to day awareness). The Values Based Parenting program uses a step by step process for slowly developing and guiding your children’s knowledge of your family values and gradually coaching your children’s behaviour to be consistent with your family values through parenting processes that easily map over your current interactions with your children.
The Values Based Parenting program offers to help you help your child build desirable values and behaviours they will take with them into their adult lives.
How does Values Based Parenting work?
Values Based Parenting (VBP) uses your Family Values (not anyone else’s) as the basis for helping you, the parent/s make and implement decisions about:
- What values operate in your family;
- What are acceptable behaviours and limits for your children (and so what are unacceptable behaviours and limits for your children);
- The result (or consequences) for the child of both their unacceptable behaviour and their acceptable behaviour;
- Reinforce your family’s values through day to day activities (hence making a great deal of the program natural and effortless);
- Use VBP webpage resources and access to parent discussion groups to slowly build your children’s problem solving abilities through reference to your family values;
- Reward your children’s healthy (or positive) problem solving;
- Use VBP webpage resources to structure values based learning experiences for your children.
It is very helpful, but not essential, for parents to familiarise themselves with our Foundation Principles: being familiar with the Foundation Issues (for example, but not limited to Media Behaviour is not real behaviour, Children and adults have both rights and responsibilities, and other principles) will allow you and your children to develop quicker results through the Values Based Parenting program.
How fast (or slow) should I teach my children our Family Values
All children will develop at different rates so children’s development can vary considerably from one child to the next. Hence, all children will achieve their various physical, emotional and thinking (or cognitive) milestones at different times. The Values Based Parenting program acknowledges this and has structured the program to allow parents and their children to progress through the program at their own pace.
How do I know if I am asking too much of my children?
Some children are overloaded by adults with unrealistically high expectations of the child being able to make too many decisions, or complicated decisions, that require a level of thinking and problem solving they have not yet developed.
This results is such children feeling pressured to achieve something they are not capable of doing and consequently feeling frustrated, or even overwhelmed. It is very useful for parents to use reminders that the thinking capacity of toddlers is elementary (by comparison with a non-disabled adult) and the thinking capacity of primary school children is straightforward (again, by comparison with a non-disabled adult).
Hence, demands on children’s thinking need to match each child’s developmental stage: the Values Based Parenting program understands children’s developmental milestones and is consequently designed to be implemented by parents in three successive stages (Children Being Informed, followed by Children’s Guided Exploring followed by Children Negotiating). The three stages of the program recognize the increasing thinking capacities and decision-making abilities of the children as they grow.
The Values Based Parenting program offers a Model Set of Values available to members as a starting point. The Model Set of Values are broadly pro-social and respectful of others, and are easily applied to values based problem solving. Nonetheless, the Model Set of Values on the VBP web page are only a starting point, so they are designed to be changed by parents to express the specifics of your particular family’s set of values. On the other hand, you may accept the Model Set of Values because they mirror your values.
Once you have decided on your particular set of values, and have decided which one to implement first, you can start a family activity with sheets of normal photocopy paper stuck together, or A3 paper or some butchers paper to make posters for your home to broadcast your family’s values. You draw up more than one Poster of your Family Values so you can put several posters of your Family Values around the home (so long as they say the same thing!). Many people stick a sheet listing their Family Values on the fridge, the back of the toilet door, have a copy in each bedroom or wherever your family decides to put your poster of Family Values.
The first stage of Values Based Parenting (Children Being Informed) is both instructional (like learning new information at school, or in staff training at your work) and problem-solving, and allows the parents to use family discussions, games, comments while watching TV etc to make reference to your family values (and a host of other ways of giving information to your children) to regularly reinforce your family values to your children. Stage One: Children Being Informed, builds a foundation of the children’s knowledge of their family values and how those values apply across a variety of different situations.
The second stage (Children Exploring) relies on children’s increased thinking abilities and their capacity for straightforward problem-solving, and facilitates more interactive learning experiences through the Values Based Parenting website and coaching by the parents.
Stage Two: Children’s Guided Exploring
Once the child has successfully completed Stage One and they have developed sufficiently that their thinking processes demonstrate more developed thinking abilities (for example: more detailed problem-solving, increased memory, increased grasp of simple concepts) and basic behaviours are consistent with your values, then children can be supported in exploring a range of values and a range of behaviours through use of VBP website resources including written scenarios, short demonstration films and other resources as well as family discussion and casual observations while still operating within your family’s value structure.
Stage Three: Children Negotiating
In the early teenage years children are gradually exposed to the next level of VBP website resources and are gradually given more problem solving opportunities in order to slowly develop independence in their problem solving, but still within boundaries that reflect the parent’s values.
Values Based Coaching
Many families, perhaps most families, rely on an unstructured set of values that are not discussed very often. If there are only a few references to the system for parents’ choices in regard to what is acceptable behaviour and what is not acceptable behaviour in your family, then – from a child’s point of view – choices made by parents can appear arbitrary, or inconsistent. Children will wonder “why is some behaviour acceptable and other behaviour unacceptable when they appear to be so similar ?”
Values Based Parenting recommends you specifically reward and encourage your children for making choices (and so, for demonstrating behaviours) that are consistent with your family’s healthy values, resulting in your children making healthy and pro-social decisions that enhance their lives and shape their behaviour in a desirable direction.