Tips for Dads to help Encourage Learning about Values and Beliefs

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“It’s okay to push your world view on the kids – there is so many competing views out there and everyone is pushing their world views strongly so you’ve got to get in there and have the first shot.” – John Anderson, Farmer, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

Here are some tips on teaching values:

  • be specific about values like trust, honesty, integrity, respect and racism
  • don’t rely on TV, movies, internet, magazines or peers to teach your children values
  • be generous and kind yourself to those in need
  • teach your children to accept people who are different, e.g. kids who are disabled, obese or ‘uncool’
  • develop their conscience about issues like bullying and abusers
  • don’t leave them in a ‘values vacuum’
  • father-figures are well placed to influence values

“If the other person isn’t laughing then it isn’t funny.” – Dorothy Tribe, Schoolteacher, Nedlands

Beliefs

“My father rejected his Catholicism and remained indifferent to spiritual things and I ended up the same. There are times when I should have sought spiritual insight, but it never crossed my mind.  I think I missed out and I think also that I missed out on developing that part of my own child’s thinking. Fathers should encourage their children to develop their own spirituality.  If not, it leaves a void.  They should encourage them to at least think about it.” – Jimmy Hart, US Marine, Gulf War Veteran, New York.

“I am an atheist, although recently Tim has challenged me on that – he thinks my position should be agnostic. I guess I’ve passed that atheism on to the kids a bit because kids always to tend to follow their parent’s beliefs.” – Peter LeSouef, Professor of Paediatrics, Subiaco

Some of the positive effects of beliefs in a family can be:

  • a strong community to share the load of bringing up children and providing a sense of belonging
  • a practiced openness to admitting mistakes (‘confession’)
  • a practiced openness to change (‘repentance’)
  • exposure to lots of educational information and workshops on relationships and family life
  • strong values & morality passed on to kids
  • a sense of purpose in life
  • frequent reminders about the importance of unconditional love and specialness
  • fathers can learn servant leadership, rather than authoritarian leadership
  • marriage enrichment opportunities
  • the potential to use God as a role model of a loving father, especially in the absence of any other role model

Some negative effects could be:

  • oppressive rules of behaviour that can induce rebellion
  • a heavy burden of expectation that restricts the personal freedom of a child to grow into a responsible individual
  • use of religious laws to discipline children, which can induce excessive guilt and fear
  • inappropriate use of faith as an avoidance strategy by fathers and father-figures, e.g. having faith that God will protect a child from absent fathering instead of just spending time with children
  • dogmatism and fanaticism that can be absorbed by children
  • using God as an excuse to be a judgemental, policeman-type father or father-figure
  • excessive focus on trivial issues
  • restricted roles for women in some situations
  • a closed community, which makes kids scared of the ‘real world’ and vulnerable when they enter it
  • rigid feelings of authoritative certainty producing inflexible fathering
  • an unnecessary fear of psychology and science
  • absentee fathers who are busy working for a ‘higher calling’
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