Respect means you care enough about the other person’s feelings and think before you act!
I am often amazed how parents struggle to teach their children respect and simple etiquette. I have witnessed so many occasions where the child controls the entire situation and parents will simply stand helplessly letting their child disrespect them and others around them.
The definition of respect according to many is to look up to someone you admire. WRONG! You cannot limit respecting to only people you look up to or admire or who are older than you. Respect needs to be shown all the time to others around you even if you do not know them.
My favorite way to define respect is “due regard” which means paying attention to another’s beliefs and to acknowledge someone’s existence.
In my 18 years of child-care I am truly baffled at how so many times parents will disrespect the staff in the school treating them like “their own private owned workers” yet they want the staff to respect the parents back. As soon as the tuition is paid they exhibit some kind of “sense of entitlement” to the employees. Children witness their parents behaving rudely and will basically pick up and learn from such behavior. How can one teach children manners if the parent cannot follow the same rules?
Remember, we are not born with a built-in sense of respect, we have to learn respectful behavior and it starts from the home. As children grow, as parents we have to teach them respectful ways of getting their needs met. Unfortunately in todays era, YouTube, movies, music and easy access to the internet has glorified disrespect and we need to now work even harder to teach basic etiquette to our kids.
Parents are also too busy with their work commitment to spend the quality time needed with their kids. Another reason for deterioration of etiquette in the common household today is that parents are unrealistic about their kids and unable to accept their weaknesses and their strengths, always making excuses for their inappropriate behavior. One of my pet peevs is to hear a parent say “he/she never does this at home” and refuse to acknowledge the beheavior! 9 out of 10 times, your child is doing the same at school that they do at home but as parents we are too embarrassed to admit it.
Here are some tips for parents to begin implementing simple ways of teaching their kids respect:
1. First and foremost, your child is NOT your friend. When you see your child crossing the line a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would allow someone else to do that to you? If the answer is NO, then please stop your child.
2. Implement etiquette and teaching good manners right from the time they are born. Infants too can be taught to say please and thank you. Correct your child politely explaining the reason why what they did is not acceptable.
3. Both parents need to be on the same page! One of the worst ways to raise your child is have one parent be the correcting one and the other say nothing or never support the correcting parent. Make sure one of you isn’t allowing the disrespectful behavior while the other is trying to intercede.
4. Always correct your child respectfully and not in the prescence of others. When your child is being disrespectful, you as a parent need to correct them in a respectful manner. Yelling and getting upset and having your own attitude in response to theirs is not helpful. In fact, it often only escalates their disrespectful behavior. The truth is, if you allow their disrespectful behavior to affect you, it’s difficult to be an effective teacher. Instead, you can pull your child aside and give them a clear message of what is acceptable. You don’t need to shout at them or embarrass them.
5. Be realistic in the expectations of your child’s behavior. Example if you know your child cannot sit for too long in a public place then avoid those family dinners until they are a little older. Taking them to public places and letting them create screaming scenes is not the way to teach respect.
Remember it is not too late to start teaching respect. Kids do want limits and even if they initially object, they will eventually respond and cooperate with consistency and seeing a parent lead by example. Respect means you care enough about the other person’s feelings and think before you act!