What are family values?

As parents we want what’s best for our kids. We want them to grow into vibrant, healthy adults who are capable of navigating challenges and success.

Families have the opportunity to craft a clear picture of what success means – what priorities they care about and the climate they want to create in their home.

Whether or not you consciously define your values, you are communicating and transferring values from one generation to another. Why not be intentional?

Core values set parameters for staying the course and remembering the why.


The benefits of family values for parents

There aren’t really any cons to being intentional about defining family values. For parents, it’s easier to choose your battles when you’ve already defined which kinds of “battles” to choose.

You aren’t locked into only setting rules around your family values, but it does make it easier to set healthy limits and boundaries and to define the “why” for your kids when you do.

Plus, it’s a team building exercise that helps bring everyone on board and makes life easier for you.


The benefits of family values for kids

Kids can (and should!) be part of the process of defining your family’s values, which increases their sense of value to the team. When kids have a strong sense of identity, they are less likely to participate in risk-taking behaviors. They are more likely to develop the character traits that you define together because they learn and repeat them again and again.

Kids with a strong sense of belonging and identity are more resilient. Because they are less likely to seek belonging or identity from their peers and/or social media, they are less likely to be adversely affected by disagreements or negative pressure.


What makes a good list of family values?

You should choose values that matter most to your family! Great family values reflect your morals, ethics, and the things that make your life better.

Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Empathy
  • Family
  • Honesty
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Perseverance
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Flexibility
  • Fairness
  • Self-compassion
  • Kindness

Perhaps it’s the marketer in me, but when my first child was born, I was already crafting the poster with pithy sayings. In our house, we put God first; we do our best; we believe the best; we cheer people on; we don’t give up.

The same list could also look like this: faith, integrity, empathy, kindness, perseverance.

Keep it simple, but make it memorable.


How do I start?

A family meeting is a great place to start! Plan for snacks (or pizza!) and brainstorm a list together. Then try to narrow it down to 3-7 values that you will be able to remember and repeat. Bonus points if you can make an acronym or another mnemonic device! Keep in mind, they are values for the whole family. If honesty is one of your family values, for example, make sure that you are honest 100% of the time. When kids see that you aren’t making your values a priority, they will follow your lead and won’t make them a priority either.

Most importantly, have fun!

Kelly Fann

Kelly Fann

Digital Media Manager

Kelly has lived in three countries and worked with teens across the world, encouraging them to pursue their passions and to be kind. She’s been refining messages and telling stories for brands and non-profits since 2009.

More Resources You Might Like

Creating a family bucket list
A gorilla and a grizzly bear