There is much talk these days of "the family" and the importance of teaching values and morals to our children. It is not a thing they can learn at school or from a textbook, but rather they must see it in action.
Children are always watching. They aren’t going to pick up on “the golden rule” if they see mom and dad treating the neighbors in a way that is totally against the golden rule. They watch, and they take it all in.
Gerard won’t learn how to treat his sister well if he hears or sees mom treating her own sister badly at home. A parent can say "be kind to others" a hundred times a day, but if it is followed by the same parent going outside to shout , yell and swear at the neighbor next door , it won’t mean anything.
For families with a religious background , sending the children to church while parents sleep in isn’t going to accomplish a whole lot. By the same token, going with them and then turning into a shrieking and threatening parent during the week won’t teach the right lessons, either.
The old adage of “do what I say and not what I do” simply isn’t going to work. Children have a much higher intelligence than to fall for something like that. They’ll know it’s not really a vital thing if mom and dad aren’t practicing the same.
A good way to be able to implement these things with children is to set aside special time , where the whole family can play games, watch a movie, discuss and do things together. The idea was strongly recommended by Dr. Erna Athanasius in The National Council for Children’s "Mes Chers Parents" series of TV Programmes. "Complaining about not having family time isn’t going to work. Find some family time. It doesn’t need to be three or four hours. A much shorter time could do wonders" she said.
Use the time to talk about values. Let the children SEE what family values are about. Allow them to choose some of the activities during the special times. One activity might be to have the children take a few minutes to tell what they like most about their brothers and sisters . It will be a great self-esteem boost to the others to hear good about themselves, but also a reminder to each as they’re voicing good in their siblings, that brother or sister really isn’t so bad after all. Parents can certainly get in on the action, too, by naming things they’re extremely proud of for each child.