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Encouraging Values in Young Children
We don’t expect children to come into the world knowing how to read. And we shouldn’t expect children to come into the world knowing how to behave. Children need to be taught how to read and how to behave. Like reading, teaching a child how to behave properly takes time. This isn’t something you do over a weekend. It takes years to socialize a child. It’s a process.

Values are expectations that parents have for their children. When parents express an expectation to their child, they are stating a value: “I expect you to be kind to animals,” for example. By expressing this value about kindness, the parent is teaching her child a positive way to behave.

Back in the 1950s, children’s television programs almost always stressed values. One of those programs was the “Roy Rogers Show.” Roy was a cowboy and Dale was a cowgirl. To children of that era, they were heroes. Each Sunday their program came into the homes of millions of children.

Roy and Dale started a club for their young viewers to join. If you belonged to the Roy Rogers Riders, you had to pledge to respect a list of values, which was sent to your home with your membership. I’m going to include that list here because the values it stresses are as important for children today as they were 50 years ago.

The values of the Roy Rogers Riders:

Be neat and clean
Be courteous and polite
Always obey your parents
Protect the weak and help them
Be brave but never take chances
Study hard and learn all you can
Be kind to animals and take care of them
Love God and go to Sunday school regularly
Always respect our flag and country

I suggest you make your own list of values for your children. Place it on the refrigerator. That way, it will remind you to remind them of your expectations.

Young children growing up in a loving home adore their parents. They look up to them. They want to please and impress them. That’s why this is the best time for wise parents to start establishing expectations for their children’s behaviour. I wish you the very best in raising children who will make you proud.

Kenneth N. Condrell Ph.D Child Psychologist