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What traits do you value?

Do your actions communicate these values?

In every challenging situation, people can and do respond in different ways. Each different response conveys different values.

Read each situation, circle the response you prefer and then look below to see what your responses would communicate.

1. Three year-old Zack has proudly dressed himself in a dotted pink shirt with green and red plaid pants. You:

  1. Notice but say nothing about his clothes.
  2. Notice and comment pleasantly.
  3. Tell Zack to change clothes.
  4. Decide to talk about clothes combinations.

2. Your daughter Yvonne promised to go to Sarah’s birthday party but now, the day of the party, she doesn’t want to go. She wants to stay with Uncle Max. You:

  1. Accept Yvonne’s preference.
  2. Talk with Yvonne about how Sarah will feel.
  3. Discuss why she doesn’t want to go and the consequences of not going.
  4. Insist that your child go.

3. Your son Willie’s pet dog Muffin died. He is crying and wants to have a funeral for the dog. You:

  1. Tell Willie not to cry.
  2. Rush out and buy a new pet.
  3. Cuddle Willie and support his preparation for a funeral.
  4. Talk about life and death, and how he can remember Muffin.

4. Ted-dy is a ba-by, chants first-grader Sophie to her three-year-old brother. Ted starts to cry, protesting that he is not a baby. You:

  1. Send Sophie to her room.
  2. Ignore them.
  3. Ask Sophie how Ted is feeling.
  4. Teach Ted to decide for himself if Sophie’s claim is true.

5. It is 7 pm and Robby (age 9) and Pearl (age 6) have not picked up the Legos® as they promised. You:

  1. Encourage them to come and help put the Legos® away.
  2. Pick up the toys and put them away for several days.
  3. Ignore the toys.
  4. Pick up the toys and return them to where they are kept.

Values conveyed in these situations:

1. Dressing: a. independence, b. neatness, c. uninvolved, d. problem solving.

2. Birthday party: a. happiness or independence, b. empathy, c. problem solving, d. trustworthy.

3. Dog dies: a. courage, b. happiness, c. sensitive, d. spiritual.

4. Teasing: a. obedience, b. independence or parent detached, c. empathy, d. problem-solving.

5. Toy clean-up: a. cooperation, b. responsibility, c. giving up, d. happiness.

Adapted from Using Your Values to Raise Your Child to Be an Adult You Admire, by Harriet Heath, Ph.D.

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Last updated May 05, 2008