For the parent(s)
A great time to start clarifying your ethics is before your kids are born. Once they're born, and life keeps throwing new challenges at you, you'll continue, and probably never stop. Even when your values don't change, there will be questions about how to apply them in new situations.
Different approaches to defining your values work better for different people. You and your parenting partner(s) might like to begin with the values mentioned in this chapter, or described in the statements listed in the resource section. Or you might start by discussing what you were brought up to value, or what you like and admire about other people. Sometimes you might find that what you like leads you to a deeper discussion. For example, I like people who are unpretentious; if I dig deeper, I realize this is another way of saying I think it's important for people to treat each other as equals.
Try to come up with a list of eight to ten principles that you can agree on. Talk about what they mean in practice.
Especially important for freethinkers: As your children interact with others in their school and your community (and maybe your extended family), how will you help them balance the values of "respecting other people's opinions" and "standing up for your own convictions"?
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Although nobody gets a parenting manual or bible in the delivery room, it is our duty as parents to try to make our kids as well rounded, happy and confident as possible. It is a lot easier to bring up great kids than it is to try and fix problems caused by bad parenting, when our kids have become adults. Our children are all individuals - they are not our property but people in their own right.