10 Family Values to Stay the Course with Positive Parenting

10 family values for positive parenting by such a little while (stock photo of family of four smiling in bed)

Our beliefs, attitudes, and priorities not only drive everything we do as parents but impact who our children become.

So what are common family values? Are they different among positive parents? And how do these values play out in everyday life?

This post will cover the top 10 family values to help you stay the course with a positive approach to parenting and discipline.

10 Family Values for Positive Parenting: Top 10 Ways to Get Back on Track with Positive Parenting by Such a Little While (text overlay image of smiling mother and child in an embrace).

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What are common family values?

Family values are beliefs, attitudes, and priorities that parents strive to embody and instill in their children. Research shows some of the most common family values are responsibility, hard work, and helping others.

What is the importance of family values?

The answer is simple: Family values drive our choices as parents (and consequently our children’s choices).

The values we prioritize can strengthen our relationships with our children, build character, and foster resilience.

Family values serve as the core of what family members do… Instilling family values can also protect children against making hurtful decisions in the future.

Brittany Gronewald, M.A., CFLE
National Council on Family Relations

What are good family values and morals for positive parenting?

Positive parents instill family values through modeling, teaching, and communication, rather than fear, threats, and power struggles.

The positive parenting values identified in this post derive from five essential positive parenting skills outlined in Dr. Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline Framework:

  1. Be both kind and firm (i.e., authoritative).
  2. Provide connection to foster a sense of belonging and self-worth.
  3. Choose parenting tools with long-term positive results.
  4. Use discipline to teach social and emotional skills.
  5. Empower children to engage in collaborative problem-solving.

The Top 10 Family Values for Positive Parenting

#1: Unconditional love

10 Family Values for Positive Parenting: #1 Unconditional Love

"Respond to your children with love in: 

their worst moments
their broken moments
their angry moments
their selfish moments...

...it is in their most unlovable human moments that they most need to feel loved."

-L.R. Knost

Image by Such a Little While

Unconditional love is the cornerstone of positive parenting. By showing love to our children even in their most challenging moments, we teach them to run to us and not from us with their problems.

Positive parents connect before they correct challenging behavior. This strengthens the parent-child relationship and helps children reach a calm state that is optimal for listening, collaboration, and problem-solving.

Every child speaks a different love language. You know your child best. For example, some kids may want a long hug to get through a meltdown. Others may prefer time and space to cool off alone before connecting over a favorite board game. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to love.

#2: Empathy

10 Family Values for Positive Parenting: #2 Empathy

"We owe it to our kids to step into their shoes and model the skill we wish to instill in them: empathy."

Quote by Tana, suchalittlewhile.com

Empathy is one of the most challenging yet impactful positive parenting values.

Validating emotions doesn’t always come easy. Many parents were not allowed to display negative emotions as children. They may have heard phrases such as  “calm down” and “you’re fine, it’s no big deal!” from their own parents.

While these sayings typically come with the best intentions, they do not show kids how to consider others’ vantage points and act with compassion.

In positive parenting, empathy starts with you. Children learn how to treat others empathetically after experiencing empathy for themselves.

You can learn 10 simple, yet profound ways to validate children’s emotions here.

#3: Respect

10 Family Values for Positive Parenting

"If you want your child to treat you with respect in their moments of anger show them respect in your moments of anger."  -Tana, suchalittlewhile.com

Positive parents respect themselves, their partners, and their children.

The most impactful way to teach the value of respect is to show kids respect in your most challenging parenting moments.

If we expect our children to learn not to yell or hit during moments of frustration, we must hold ourselves to the same standard.

#4: Health & safety

Contrary to popular belief, positive parenting is not permissive parenting. Rather, it requires both kindness and firmness.

Positive parents value their children’s health and safety and set limits accordingly. Most importantly, they do so from a place of love.

Rather than telling your child to put on their helmet “Because I said so!” consider, “I love you too much to let ride your bike without staying safe.”

#5: Open & Honest Communication

10 family values for positive parenting

"Children will listen to you after they feel listened to."  -Dr. Jane Nelson

Such a LIttle While

When it comes to communication, positive parents value meaningful parent-child dialogue. They listen first before talking, avoid long lectures, and speak honestly (at their child’s level).

Families that value healthy communication try to avoid parenting in the heat of the moment.

Parents often find it easier to uphold values like respect by waiting to discuss hot-button issues. Kids are also much more receptive to feedback when things are calm!

#6: Collaborative problem-solving

10 family values for positive parenting

"Kids become better problem-solvers when we ask them to solve problems."

critical example (continued on next)...

image by Such a Little While
how to raise a problem solver:

rather than: "go say sorry right now!"

consider: "tell me more about what happened... what are your ideas for making things right?"

image by such a little while (10 family values for postiive parenting)

Positive parents value solving problems together with their children. Instead of forcing meaningless apologies, caregivers serve as consultants in the problem-solving process.

By not telling kids what to do and serving as a supportive sounding board, children will build important problem-solving skills over time.

#7: Responsibility

10 family values for positive parenting by such a little while

"Telling children they are capable is not effective.  They must have experiences where they feel capable."  -Dr. Jane Nelson

1.. Find opportunities' for kids to contribute.  This leads to self-efficacy and feelings of significance.

2. Regularly ask, "Can you help me with...?"

3. Rather than giving a reward, recognize your child's help with genuine words of appreciation.
These tips are adapted from Dr. Jane Nelson and Adrian Garsia’s Positive Discipline Tool Cards. One of my favorite parenting book alternatives for busy caregivers!

The family value of responsibility takes on two, yet equally valuable meanings in the world of positive parenting:

  1. Parents teach taking responsibility by modeling healthy apologies and taking responsibility for mistakes as necessary.
  2. Caregivers encourage responsible behavior by asking children for help and showing genuine appreciation.

Remember, positive parents instill family values through modeling, teaching, and communication.

#8: Flexibility

As parents, we have often heard that consistency is critical. However, not to a fault! Positive parents are flexible and respond to children’s evolving needs.

For example, your child’s most basic needs such as sleeping and eating are far more important than any arbitrary rule or schedule. Learn how to instill the value of flexibility in your daily routine from infancy to toddlerhood and beyond.

#9: Growth mindset

10 family values for positive parenting by such a little while

"It is through the most difficult times in our lives that we grow the most."

-Quote by Tana, suchalittlewhile.com

A growth mindset is a scientifically proven way of thinking about and persevering through life’s challenges. It champions the idea that skills and abilities are not fixed. Rather, improve over time through dedication and hard work.

Families who embrace a growth mindset use mistakes and hardships as opportunities to learn and grow. You can learn more about how to instill a growth mindset in children here.

#10: Kindness

10 family values for positive parenting by Such a Little While

Photo of children's artwork on a post-it note collage.  One note reads, "Be kind to others."
A beautiful reminder from one of my former students: Be kind to others! It’s that simple.

Children (particularly toddlers and teenagers!) like to do things of their own free will. So how can we as parents instill the value of kindness without power struggles and force?

  • Rather than demanding “the magic word,” you can model saying please and thank you every night at the dinner table.
  • Instead of giving tangible rewards for kind choices, build internal motivation by asking your child to reflect. “Wow, that woman smiled when you held the door for her! How did that feel?”
  • Come up with a list of community service project ideas you can pursue together and have your child take the lead on choosing their favorite.

The last thing you need to know about the top 10 family values in positive parenting

Parenting is truly the hardest job. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and that you aren’t measuring up. We all have tough moments that fall below our parenting standards. Remember #9- it is okay to make mistakes!

Staying confident and mindful of your family values will help you stay the course. Allow your values to bring you back to effective positive parenting tools when needed.

My suggestion is to start small. Identify your “why.” What led you to this article? Why are family values so important to you?

Where can I go from here?

I invite you to join me in Such a Little While’s free 30-day positive parenting challenge. We will start by identifying your why. Next, you will learn one easy-to-implement positive parenting tool per day.

Parents have found that this simple, step-by-step process steadily builds confidence and their foundation in a positive approach to discipline. Thousands of parents around the world have learned about positive parenting through our free challenge!

Questions? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat. You’ve got this!

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    Hi, I’m Tana! I’m a mom, certified positive parent educator, and former school counselor. It’s my mission to help you foster social/emotional wellness through positive parenting.
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