When Your Kid Rejects Your Family Values

As fathers, we are like the head coach. We set the template for our family, the goals, and the direction. When I was coaching both the Buccaneers and the Colts, I had signs in the locker room all the time that illustrated to the players what we were all about. Now what did the players have to do? They had to buy into it. It’s not always easy. Sometimes you have players who don’t buy into the team philosophy.

As a dad, kids can be the same way. You may have a son or daughter who doesn’t see things your way. They may even reject the values that are important to you and your wife (if you’re married). How do you get your teams or your kids to buy into your values? Here’s how.

Explain it clearly.

Tell them what is important, but don’t forget to explain why it’s important. Talk about it clearly. Listen to their responses and any possible objections. Make sure they feel heard and then explain further. But more powerful than explaining it clearly is the next point.

If you want to make your kids see how important something is, live it out.

Show them.

Live it out. When I was a rookie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Coach Chuck Noll talked about family values. He said, “Don’t put everything into football. Don’t make football your whole life.” Saying that was great, but he demonstrated it by leaving work to be home with his family, by bringing his kids to work, and giving us time off to be with our families. I also saw him institute family Saturdays, where our practice was interspersed with the kids being there. I may not have gotten it right away, but over time, he helped me see it. If you want to make your kids see how important something is, live it out. So say it, reinforce it, and keep doing it.

Sound off: What would you do if your kids rejected your family values? Or what have you done that’s worked well?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Based on how I spend my time, what do you think is the most important part of my life?”