Respect means different things to different people. Since respect is not a concrete concept, it can be a bit of a challenge to teach.
Respect is how we show others we value them.
It’s our attitude or mindset toward others, what we believe about them and how we treat them. It can be about valuing others’ opinion, lifestyle, etc. whether they are the same as ours or not, and it can also be about treating others with kindness and holding them in high regard.
Then there’s self-respect.
How I see myself and the way I go about living. How about you? Were you a respectful kid? Did you feel respected as a child? How about as an adult? Are you pleased with the way you currently do life?
How to help your child learn about respect.
- We can’t expect our children to respect us if we don’t respect them. We can’t even demand respect. Some parents tell me “she WILL respect me.” Almost daily I hear “she is so disrespectful.” The first thing I ask is “how are you treating her”? That, by the way, is not the most popular question I ask. It can strike a nerve. We’re the adults and it’s up to us to model what respect is. To expect our kids to respect us when we’re treating them with disrespect is absolutely wrong.
- Next to treating our kids and spouse with respect is how we treat others. Remember, your kids are watching you because you are their role model.
- Do you rant and rave when somebody cuts you off in traffic or are you gracious and let them in?
- Do you treat waiters the same way you treat your banker?
- Are you kind to your housekeeper?
- Let your child know you value her by listening to her thoughts and feelings. Be a family that requires respect. Tell your kids “in this family, when someone speaks to us, we respond. To ignore is rude and disrespectful.”
- When you see someone treating others shabbily, bring that up in conversation with your children. Say “I noticed he was mean to her. What do you think about what he said”? Get them to think and dialogue about it with you.
- Require good manners in your family. Please, thank you, yes ma’am, no sir, etc. We can start with these basics when they are toddlers.
- Teaching our kids how to listen is another skill that conveys respect and is necessary. When we’re talking to him, we expect him to put down his game and listen. We must show him the same respect.
If your child is speaking to you in a disrespectful way, make sure that you don’t respond in kind. You can request that you would like for her to come up with a more respectful way to talk to you and that you will be ready to listen when she does.
The Golden Rule is the best example we can use to help our kids understand what respect means. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you or simply put, treat others the way you want to be treated. The ability to be able to put ourselves in another person’s shoes is called empathy. Begin to teach your child about this important concept.
Respect is a must if you desire strong and healthy relationships. The parent-child relationship suffers greatly if there is little or no respect. If it is your desire to have the kind of parent-child relationship that is built on mutual respect, I’m excited for you. The reason?
You will be blessed.
There’s Always Hope,
Need more help? Parents often jokingly ask Amy, “Will you go home with me?” While she can’t do that, Amy is available to consult with parents through her consultation services. Click Here to learn more!