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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Sawchuk

Family Values - Determining What Means Most to Each Family Member

Family values are the foundational elements of each family. Values are understood as beliefs and principles that help guide one’s behaviors towards a meaningful life. They are often unique to each individual. Families often share common values; however, they may vary in terms of level of importance and means of achieving said values.

For example: A parent and their teenager may equally value independence; however, the parent may view independence as being able to complete chores without reminders, while the teenager views independence as the ability to organize their own social life. Both are speaking about the same value, but the way in which they are enacting those values are different.

It’s important to clarify that no person’s values are more important than another in a family unit, and it is unhelpful to place personal values on others. Power struggles often arise because family members are not respecting individual values or ineffectively communicating about said values.

Where to start? Values Clarification

Asking each individual family member to identify 3-4 values that are the most important to them. This can be done by printing out value cards and asking each family member to sort values into two categories: 1) important to me and 2) not important to me. Once the most important values are determined, get curious.

“Tell me why that value is important to you.”

“What is a behavior or action that is associated with that value?”

“How can we support you with fulfilling that value?”

“Is there anything you feel that we do not understand about these values?”

Remember, this is about learning more about one another and finding ways to honor everyone's values. It is important to continue getting curious and communicating about individual and family values, and finding ways to collaborate together on how to see those values through.


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