10 important family values to uphold for a family

The importance of family values to have in your household

By Patti Flinsch-Rodriguez
10 important family values to uphold for a family

Importance of family values

You have probably heard of family values, but what does that phrase mean?  Family values refers to the set of principles that a family functions under.  No one is born knowing what their family values are.  The values are imparted by the family based upon how they act with each member and others outside of the family. 

Children learn the values that are important to the family by observing the actions of their parents and other siblings.  For example, a child wants to have a playdate on Sunday morning, but is told that he cannot because the family goes to church services every Sunday morning.  The child learns that church services are important part of life for his family and he is not expected to miss them.  He begins to understand that he cannot make other plans on Sunday mornings.

Family values are important to the structure and well-being of the family.  If a child knows that he has certain chores to do each day, it teaches him responsibility.  It also helps for the child to see how he specifically contributes to the family.  My job is sweeping the kitchen floor after dinner and by doing this task, I am helping to keep the house clean.  We all like having a clean house without food crumbs and dust on the floor.  I am doing my part to make everyone in the house happy. The child understands why he is doing that particular chore and he wants to do his part.

10 most important family values to incorporate

There are so many potential family values to choose from, but each family has to decide for themselves which ones are most important for their family.  What a family determines to be important may differ wildly from family to family, and this is okay.  What people value should not be judged, especially if they have different values from yours. Remember, values within a family may change over time. People, and values can evolve.  

In a traditional American family

A traditional American family usually means there is a mother, father and children.  The dad is normally the breadwinner, and the mom takes care of the house and children.  Here are some of the the traditional American family values.

1. Valuing the Elders

The elders are important to the family unit.  Grandparents and great aunts and uncles often help out with the raising of children.  If you need a babysitter, you have the peace of mind in knowing grandma and grandpa are ready and willing to help out and you do not have to worry about your children's safety.

Grandparents may actually live with the family due to financial struggles.  Children, in these types of households, spend lots of time with their grandparents.  They get to learn about family history, possibly about immigration and the trials and tribulations their parents went through just to get to the United States.  

When the elders are valued for their life knowledge and history, the children will also value them.  This seeps into the elderly people the kids will interact in their everyday life.  

2. Hard Work

Hard work is a traditional value shared by many people.  It doesn't matter whether the person has a desk job or works on a construction site, as long as they work hard at their job.  Working hard translates for many to bringing home a paycheck.  A paycheck is important to the family because it means the family is stable.  Every member of a family wants to know that they have a place to sleep at night and know that there will be food in the house to eat.  

3. Respect

Respect is another traditional family value.  Families teach their children to respect others by showing respect to people inside and outside of the family.  If mom and dad are fighting, they can do it in a respectful way.  Name calling is not showing respect.  If dad thanks mom for making a wonderful dinner, it is showing all of the kids how a woman should be treated.  

When a problem arises, you can make a complaint and yet still be respectful.  Keeping your composure when things go wrong, helps teach respect for other people.  Treating people in the manner in which you would like to be treated is a way to show respect too.  

4. Compassion

Having compassion as a family value will teach your kids how to be a good friend and human being. You don't want your kids teasing others because they don't have as much money as your family does.  You don't want them to look at homeless people with disdain.  Teaching compassion will allow your family to show empathy to those people who are not as fortunate in life as they are.

5. Eating Together

Eating together as a family is a way for families to engage and connect with one another.  It sounds rather simple, but when the tv is off and the electronic devices are put away, the family gets to talk and really get to know each other better.  It's a great way to find out what is going on at school and work.  The kids may not love the idea of giving up their devices, but they will eventually start to enjoy dinner with the family. 

In a modern family

Modern families can consist of two moms, two dads or single parents and they instill family values into their children.  Below are some modern family values.

6. Responsibility

Instilling responsibility into children is the best thing you can do for them.  Kids need to know that when they make a commitment to someone that it is their responsibility to follow through because people are counting on them. You can start with small levels of responsibility depending upon the age of the child.  They can take out the garbage, feed the dog, clean the litterbox, vacuum the floors or help put away food from a weekly shopping excursion.  

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7. Creativity

Creativity is a modern family value.  While there are certain chores that must be done every day, some families choose to have a creativity component to their day or week.  Of course, homework and studies are important, but modern families try to incorporate some level of creativity to lighten the load.  You do not want to work so hard that there is no room for creativity. Learning to play the guitar or spending time drawing or painting can be very relaxing and it is important to dabble in the arts to become well-rounded. 

8. Kindness

You want your child to be the one to sit at the lunch table with the new kid at school, and that doesn't happen by itself.  You have to teach your children to be kind by showing kindness to others.  When you see a homeless person, hand them $5.  Put food outside when you see a stray cat or dog.  Wave hello to an elderly person sitting on a bench.  Tell a harried mom you see in the supermarket that they are doing a good job and that things will get better.  It costs nothing to be kind and the kindness you show others can change their day.

9. Fun Time

Having a weekly game night is the perfect way to connect with each other and get the whole family laughing and interacting with each other.  Everyone works hard all week, whether they are at a job or going to school, so having some time to kick back and have fun on the weekend with the family is something everyone can look forward to.  When the kids are younger, that day could be Friday or Saturday night.  As they become teens, you may want to switch the game night to Sunday as they may want to spend time with their friends on Saturday night.

10. Volunteering

Volunteering with your family is a great way to show them that you need to give back to society.  You can volunteer with a religious organization, or you can help out at your local food pantry or animal shelter.  If you aren't a fan of groups, you can get together with your kids and help out a local family in the neighborhood.  Maybe there is an elderly couple who could use help with yardwork or painting a fence.  Volunteering always makes you feel good about yourself and everyone can use a helping hand once in a while.

Quotes on family values

My own mother always taught me that fairness was a family value - I think equal pay is about fairness for everyone.

Be Honest
Hard Work


All families have values.  The hard part is knowing which values are the ones that you want to instill into your children.  You know you want to raise good children to become good humans as they reach adulthood.  The way to do it is to practice what you preach.  If you don't want them to smoke, then you should not be a smoker.  It kind of really is that simple.  You and your spouse will decide what values are important to you and then your children will have those same values.   

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