We have had a request for a list of resources to help teach kids values and character from a more secular standpoint.
I have complied my own list here. Here I will share a list of resources for teaching kids character and values from a more secular point of view.
Before I go there I want to offer a few ideas to consider:
FIRST: It is totally possible to raise good kids from a religious viewpoint AND from a secular viewpoint. It is also totally possible to shame and demean kids from a religious viewpoint AND a secular viewpoint.
You know REALLY good people who were not raised in the context of the LDS church and its values and principles. You also know REALLY good people who were raised in the LDS church. My point is raising really good kids is not contingent on one or the other.
SECOND: How your kids “turn out” is not dependent on your parenting. You can do all the “right things” and and they won’t turn out, and vice versa. I want to pause here and talk about what it even means to “turn out.” Often that is just an idea of our kids acting similar to us and making similar choices. It may be other kinds of arbitrary standards that maybe do not correlate to our kids and who they are. I think it can be helpful to pause and look at your goals in parenting.
With that said, if you choose to approach your parenting from a more secular perspective – and there are many reasons to do this if you are in a mixed faith marriage or have gone through a faith transition, I wanted to compile a few resources for you to have as you parent your kids.
Resources for teaching kids values from a secular viewpoint
Note: These are all ones I have personally vetted. I know there are many more resources, these are just my top favorites.
–American Girl Doll books
Care and Keeping of You series
A Smart Girl’s Guide series
The Feelings Book
My comment: These are excellent. While they are aimed at girls, you can use them for ideas and sound principles to teach to any child.
-Dr. Shefali Tsbari’s parenting books such as The Conscious Parent.
My comment: This book is about a whole approach to parenting that I feel honors the child. When I child feels honored and seen then they are open to our teachings.
–Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson -No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
My comment: This was recommend to me by our daughter’s therapist. It was full of practical good advice. I think having a solid groundwork around our parenting makes teaching moments more effective. That is why I list these types of books as basics before actually teaching values.
-Brooke Castillo- The Life Coach School Podcast
My comment: This is a gold mine of resources for ideas to teach children. She is teaching adults, but I have taken her concepts and adapted them for my kids with a great deal of success. It covers topics like how to feel better, how to set goals, how to love, how to set boundaries, why change is hard, accepting pain, emotional processing, and on and on.
-Caroline Dweck – Mindset
My comment: Caroline is brilliant. She teaches about growth and fixed mindset and how to teach our kids to have a growth mindset. A growth mindset is all about being wiling to keep trying, being wiling to show up and how handle hard things.
-Hire a coach/therapist
My comment – This has helped me so much in showing up with my kids and teaching them from a good place, free of shame, manipulation and fear.
-Your own imagination and your own example
My comment – This is your most valuable resource. You know your kids best and what engages them and what does not. You know what lessons they struggle with and what ones they get. We often underestimate our own gifts and knowing regarding our kids because we are afraid of doing it wrong or missing something important. What if you could set aside the fear of messing up and just lean into love and doing what you can for your kids and really let that guide you? You will do AMAZING.
Also, your own modeling of living a life based on values and goodness is more powerful than any lesson plan or talk. What you do is louder than what you say.
Do you need extra help figuring this out. Does it seem like you can’t seem to agree on the most important things with your spouse on parenting? We need to talk.