What are some good values to instill in children and things to teach them when they're young?

I thinks these are two things to teach:

  1. Finance - Simple ways to manage money. I read an article that said that Chinese, Estonian and Australian student are far ahead of American students in terms of managing money. Few schools will teach this and of those that do few will do it well (I’m assuming) so why not take things into our own hands? This could lead them to be millionaires one day or have a comfortable retirement.


2)“Science” (includes Mathematics) and Logic (Philosophy) - Things like the scientific method, math logic, technology. I think these are really important and could make it very easy for them to become successful. Not to complex though. Just simple stuff step by step. And most importantly to question everything. Not by being rude to someone but being skeptical when making a decision. Thinking logically about something and what is happening here? what are the consequences? What will I stand to gain or lose?


IMHO These are extremely important for all kids to learn. But maybe I’ve left something out or you don’t agree with me. What do you think is important?

Define ‘young’. I’ll also say that teaching such things by example is fine, other approaches can be fraught with pitfalls. And even in teaching by example you need the right example. Children are not clay that you mold into your image.

Maybe 6 or 7

What are some good values to instill in children and things to teach them when they’re young?

As a father of young children, I personally highly value potty training and the ability to feed themselves without making a horrific mess.

If you teach them these skills before they are in the double digits, this leads to much less embarrassment and a more fulfilling parenthood.

When our 3 were very young our oft repeated mantra was ‘tantrums don’t work on us’. They quickly learnt that throwing a tantrum would never get them what they wanted. But that being polite and reasonable would. It made things a lot less stressful.

Speaking as someone who was once a child but does not have her own children:

That you can’t always get what you want when you want it, and sometimes you’ll never get that thing you want because it’s just not possible.

I have no idea how my parents instilled this in us, what their methods were, when they started, and when we actually finally “got it”

  1. You can resolve conflict without fighting.

  2. Honorable people pay their debts.

  3. Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up broken Oreos on the carpet.

  4. Teach every child the words to the song Another Tricky Day. “This ain’t no social crisis. Just another tricky day for you.”

  5. Basic first aid.

Patience - The ‘marshmallow test’ has shown over time that children with patience/self-control/discipline have better life outcomes.
Kindness/empathy - Being able to understand the perspective of another person is an important developmental milestone. Children with poor empathy tend to turn into selfish jerks (IMHO).

Old school, but here goes.

Growing up my father loved wood fires. In the fall and winter the fireplace in our house was always going. Fireplaces need wood, so wood was delivered and stacked every year.

When I was 10 or 11 that spring wood blocks were delivered and dumped at the end of the driveway. Not split wood, but blocks of wood that had to be split and then stacked. My father came home that night and announced to me it was my job to split the wood and stack it all, and get out there now for 15 to 30 minutes and get started.

When I came back in I complained to him it was too much for me to do and he said to me basically this. “This is a job you can do, otherwise I would not have given it to you. Just work on it 15 to 30 minutes every day and you will be surprised at how soon it all gets done. That is all you have to do 15 to 30 minutes a day”

So that is what I did. About a week or two later it was raining and I was in the house when Dad came home and he asked me if I split any wood that day. I said “No, it’s raining outside, can’t you see”

His answer was not nice. “Get out there now and split wood for 15 minutes. Every day you work on that. No excuses. Now get going” So I did. In fact I was so pissed off I worked 30 minutes + in that cold rain then went inside and took a hot shower. I never missed a day after that, and it did get done sooner than I thought. I still remember that 1st year the final day that last piece of wood was split and stacked.

So that is the way it was from age 10 or 11 till I left the house and went to college.

For a long time I just thought this was a part of my cranky old man. It took me years to see his wisdom.
[li]If you have a large job, work on it in small pieces at a time.[/li][li]Work on it every day.[/li][li]There are no excuses.[/li][li]You will be surprised how fast it gets done.[/li][/ul]

i have used those lessons over and over again in my life and it has done me well. The fact is i used those lessons years and years before i realized how they were instilled in me. i was 35+ with my own kids when I realized it all.

Whatever you attempt to do, give it an honest, real try. If you want to play the clarinet or try ice hockey, work at it diligently for six months. If you aren’t progressing or don’t like it after that honest try, it’s time to move on to the next project. If you make a commitment, honor it, but don’t let it limit you if circumstances change. Don’t quit just because something is hard.

Be kind to others. It always comes back to you.

The difference between honesty and hurtfulness.

I’d tend to think that any skill or perspective that is very hard/painful to gain in adulthood is a good candidate for learning in childhood when the penalties for failure are a lot lower, and that the parents/caregivers can ensure the correct lessons are learned and integrated by the child as part of their personality. All too often, I’ve known people who didn’t have this happen, and they either didn’t learn their lessons, didn’t integrate the lessons into their everyday behavior, or worst of all, drew the wrong conclusions/learned the wrong lessons from their experiences and modified their behavior accordingly, to their later chagrin.

Fiscal management is a good example- it’s a lot easier for a kid to learn the value of money as a 9 year old by blowing it on candies and comic books, and having no cash when something they really want comes along later. Or having to save up for that $50 video game in $5 increments, or whatever. Far better than blowing all your savings on a Corvette or some other adult-style impulse buy that might actually change your life trajectory for the worse.

So, to a degree, is learning how not to mouth off to people. Mouth off as a 9 year old, and the 12 year old 5th grader is likely to pop you in the teeth at worst. Mouth off as a 19 year old, and you may get shot.

As for a short list of these things:

[li]Fiscal management[/li][li]Conflict resolution, and to an extent, avoidance.[/li][li]Exercise as a habit.[/li][li]Proper eating habits.[/li][li]Good work ethic.[/li][li]Honesty / Keeping one’s word. [/li][/ul]

Be trustworthy. If you say you’ll do something, then do it.

Robert Persig nailed it, in this exchange with his son in “Zen/Motorcycle Maintenance”:

“Dad, what do you want me to be when I grow up?”

At that age start with manners.

“Don’t steal candy from the corner grocery.”

I came in here to suggest patience.

I’d add: Be kind to everyone you encounter.

And -as others have suggested- Integrity.

Can’t Teach a child much. other than by example, which speaks volumes of course.

Treat others with respect.

Try to think for yourself.

And of course the potty training and eating without making a mess.

Always bury your dung.

A lot of good suggestions here. I like teaching them about financial matters, and being kind to one another/showing and feeling empathy.

I would add that they should not fear the natural world. Start by letting them capture and release outside, unharmed, any insects that find their way into the house. This is simple to do and as long as it is not dangerous to handle, will help them mitigate fears of bugs, and develop empathy for other living things. A simple cup and a piece of paper will do.

Also, take them out in the morning or at dusk to find and observe wild animals living in your neighborhood. Take them outside to experience, with their senses, a rain storm, or thunder, or let them walk barefoot in the snow for a few seconds. Help them get to know and feel comfortable in the local woods, or near the river. This helps them understand their connection to the natural world a little.

Teach them not only how to read as soon as possible, but the extreme importance of reading. Flood their rooms with books of every kind throughout their lives (yes, even along with the internet)…

Tell them, “Just watch me”–and do the right things. All I can say is that it worked for me. Three kids, all well-employed, all self-disciplined. BTW, we never helped them with or monitored their homework. They were on their own. The only real discipline is self-discipline and the sooner you learn it the better.