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What are Family Values? – Definition and Examples 

By Emma Davies


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All family units have their own set of family values. Just like no family is identical to another, family core values and beliefs can vary significantly too.

What are Family Values? - Definition and Examples

But, what are family values, and why are they so important? A family’s values can be passed down from generation to generation, shaping the character and personalities of all the different family members. A person’s core values growing up will have a lasting impact on their relationships and work during their adult life.

What are Family Values?

The family values definition according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:

‘values of a traditional or conservative kind which are held to promote the sound functioning of the family and to strengthen the fabric of society.’

Values of the family are often instilled in children by their parents and are passed down to future generations. Changes in society can result in family values being challenged and adapted over time.

While each family unit may have its own unique family values, all parents will either consciously or subconsciously pass certain values and beliefs down to their children. Children growing up with core family values will often have a strong belief system that aligns with their parents values and views.

Examples of Family Values

Each family may have their own set of values but most value systems fall into specific categories including:

  • Social
  • Political
  • Moral
  • Religious
  • Work

If you are in the process of trying to create a list of family values for your own family, here are some examples for each of the above categories.

Social Values

These family values are used to guide and encourage all members of a family to interact with each other and other people in a certain way. Raising children with good social family values can help to improve communities and society as a whole.

Popular social family values include:

  • Treat people with kindness.
  • Always be honest with others.
  • Use your manners and be respectful.
  • Never use violence or verbal abuse.
  • Be a good team player.
  • Celebrate the achievements of others.
  • Help people in need and stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves.

Political values

When it comes to politics, everyone has their own personal views and opinions. Regardless of how a person chooses to vote, political values are important.

Examples of political family values include:

  • Keeping an open mind.
  • Respecting the opinions of others.
  • Be patriotic and believe America is the land of the free.
  • Treat everyone as equal.
  • Respect the police and the law.

Moral values

Moral values build up the fabric of family relationships and society as a whole. A person’s moral values relate to the things they consider to be right and wrong. Moral values are linked to a person’s behavior, opinions, and relationship with others.

Examples of moral family values include:

  • It is important to always tell the truth.
  • Treat others with respect and kindness.
  • Take responsibility for your own actions.
  • Never give up on your dreams.
  • Work hard.
  • Listen to each other.
  • Look out for each other.

Religious values

There are many different religions and faiths in modern society. Families may follow different religions, but many faiths share similar core values.

Examples of religious family values include:

  • Helping people in need and volunteering.
  • Treat others with love and compassion.
  • Respecting the beliefs of others.
  • Remaining committed to your religion and continuing to grow spiritually.
  • Treat others in a way you would wish to be treated.

Work values

Parents can pass on a good work ethic to their children through certain family values and beliefs. The work values instilled during childhood can help to create a happier and more productive workforce in the future. Positive values surrounding work can also help children to perform better at school, as well as create a family environment where chores and errands are shared.

Examples of work family values include:

  • Share your ideas.
  • Listen to and consider the ideas of others.
  • Be a good team player.
  • Celebrate the achievements of yourself and others.
  • Treat schoolmates and colleagues with kindness and respect.
  • Work hard but make time for rest.
  • Prioritize education and self development.

How Do You Pass Your Values on to Your Kids?

How Do You Pass Your Values on to Your Kids?

If you grew up in a family with strong beliefs, you may be wondering how to pass these same core family values onto your own children. Passing down our thoughts and opinions on things like relationships and morals often happens subconsciously, but there are steps you can take to actively develop your family’s own set of key values.

  1. Lead by example – If you want your children to talk to you with respect, you will need to talk to them with respect. If you don’t want to raise children who lie, always be honest yourself.

The easiest way to instill positive values in your child is to model them yourself. If you want children who are kind and consider the feelings of others, you need to be doing exactly that. Children are heavily influenced by their family environment and if you want your kids to grow into happy, well-rounded adults, you need to model the desired behavior at home.

  1. Communicate – You don’t need to write a list of family values and pin it to the refrigerator (unless you want to), but it is important to talk about them with your children. You don’t have to make it a big deal, but regularly taking the time to remind your children how to treat others, behave and so on will help build the foundations of their morals and belief systems.
  1. Don’t over complicate it – There is no problem with having a long list of family values, but try not to make it too complicated. Splitting your family values up into categories (as we outlined above) can help to keep everyone on the same page and understand what is expected of them in different situations.
  1. Create a family motto – Choosing what family values to enlist in your children may feel like a big responsibility. If creating a list of beliefs to recite regularly feels like too much hard work, coming up with a family motto may be sufficient. For example, a simple family motto could be, in this family, we are kind, honest, and respectful. You could get creative and make it more personal by adding your family surname or coming up with a fun rhyme that all family members will remember.
  1. Refer back to core values regularly – No family is perfect and even those with the best values will not be able to behave and communicate as expected at all times. When things go wrong, refer back to your family values and explain how things should have happened.

For example, if a child tells a lie, remind them of the core family value of honesty and explain why it is important to always tell the truth. As your family grows and changes over time, it may be beneficial to revisit your family values and see if your list needs to be adapted.

The Importance of Family Values

The family values that parents choose to pass on to their children play a huge role in society. Teaching your children the importance of respect at home will show them that it is important to listen to authoritative figures, such as teachers and employers in the future.

When we raise children to be kind, we create a generation full of caring and compassionate individuals. When family values focus on positive behavior and healthy communication, this can only be an advantage to communities as a whole.

Enlisting good family values in your children will strengthen the relationship they have with you, while also teaching them how to communicate and build strong relationships with others as they grow. A family motto can help to establish a deeper family purpose and connection, whilst making it easy for all family members to follow the same values.

Family values can change as society becomes more progressive and societal norms change over the different generations. The family values you grew up with may no longer align with your core beliefs and you may decide to adapt them to your own modern family life.

About Emma Davies

Emma Davies is a freelance writer that specializes parenting and animal topics. With over 20 years experience as a parent there are very few topics that faze her.

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