CULTIVATING the virtues of prudence and temperance can help your child to make right choices on who to be friends with, who to look up to, exercise moderation in life activities and make responsible relationship decisions. Your family value system provides them with a critical starting block and developing life situations offer the opportunities to reinforce and inculcate these values to stand your child in good stead in later years.
As our kids grow older, friends become an important part of their lives. Being impressionable, their values learned from the family setting, perspectives and behaviours tend to undergo a mutation, very much influenced by peer pressure from those they hang out with. It is important thus to influence your child’s choices and decisions on the criteria for friendship. Regularly affirming their developing sense of self-worth is key to encouraging bold decisions based on ethical beliefs and family values as opposed to capitulating blindly to peer pressure. In this sense, make it a point to know and engage your child’s friends at an early age.
Identity and Self-Worth
As part of the search for their real identity, children often mimic/idolise celebrities/famous personalities. Sometimes, this could entail a compromise of their value system and character formation. This is when they need bolstering of their developing sense of self-worth, including guiding them to accepting their flaws. It's an opportunity for communicating with your child, reinforcing family values; but be open to listen to his views and feelings. Keeping the lines of communication open might just save your child from such decisions as piercing his tongue or to indulge in premature/premarital sex.
Dating and Sex
Often when a television programme displays a passionate scene, you may catch your child shying away with ‘Eeww' and 'Aw'. This could be an excellent opportunity to share your views and family values about this sensitive topic. Encourage them to share openly their thoughts, feelings, desires and fears. Do not let your child find out about sex and dating through their friends who would be equally ignorant about consequences though they may act as know-it-alls. Make sure your child knows the risks (both physical and emotional) of getting into romantic relationships when still incapable of mentally and financially handling them. Instead, talk about group dates, curfews, and other ideas for keeping their love life in a place that is comfortable for both of you.
Definitions of what an addiction is has gone beyond alcohol and drugs. Now, anything that one spends an excessive time and energy on is considered an addiction. Excessive usage of the computer, internet messaging and chatting (MSN, Yahoo!, etc) and mobile texting are all new forms of addictions. However, these are considered by our kids today as a lifestyle. Share your knowledge of the implications and consequences of addictions in new forms, perhaps comparing them to addictions of yesteryears. Be attentive to your child's remarks or views on such matters, for they could help you to dispel ambiguities and ignorance, formulate clear rules on addictions and establish/clarify family values.