How Do Children Learn Values?
People develop their values through observation, experiment, experience and feedback. For young children, parents play the most significant role. Children watch their parents very closely; they absorb their parents’ values by observing their behaviors. By the time children are teenagers, they increasingly turn to others to help sort out their identity and define their value systems, comparing their observations in the world against what they have learned at home. Role models play a critical role at this stage and include friends, teachers, religious and civic leaders, employers, and, for better or worse, the media.
Specific Ways to Encourage children to give back:
Philanthropy is often defined as an effort to improve society, based on love of humankind. While philanthropy usually includes money, it is most meaningful when it comes from the heart and includes the contribution of time and talents. The following principles may help to guide your approach to philanthropy with your children:
- Take a cue from your children. Listen to them and support their interests.
- Talk reflectively and provide choices. Lecturing and forcing are ineffective. Serve as a resource to connect your children to opportunities.
- Be sensitive to your children’s developmental needs. What may engage them at one age may be a turnoff when they get older.
- Don’t worry! As long as you model your own philanthropic values, they will get the message. You may not see the results until later in life, when your children become parents themselves.
Read the full article about teaching philanthropic values at The Philanthropic Initiative.