10 ways to respect your children
There is a common adage that says “respect must be earned.” But, how can a child earn respect, if they do not understand what it is? Respect is not an innate characteristic of a small child. Their parents play the most important role in teaching them what respect means.
Respecting children means speaking to them in a normal voice and showing genuine concern. Don’t talk down to them. Here are ten more ways to respect your children.
Teach them by example to say “excuse me”
Children are taught that interfering when a parent is talking to someone is not appropriate. But, how many times does a parent interrupt a child when they are busy talking to someone else? If a child knows their parents will say “excuse me” if they are busy before speaking to them, it is most likely they will do the same thing in return.
Respect your child’s personal space
Children have different needs when it comes to personal space. Learn to respect what each child feels comfortable with. One of my grandchildren has long hair. She has told me that she doesn’t like me to rearrange her hair or put it behind her back. I now know not to touch her hair. Boys may not appreciate your always tucking in their shirt and feel it as an invasion of their physical privacy.
Make them feel comfortable around you
If a child is always bombarded with searching questions when they return from school, they may put up block and not want to share. Instead, welcome them home and give them a chance to talk about their day. Let them know you miss them when they are away and are happy to see them. Treating them with love and respect will be the best foundation for them to know they are in a safe environment.
Be slow to solve all their problems
If a child approaches you with a problem, be empathetic and ask them what they think would be the best solution. Tell them what possible solutions you think there are and let them make the choice. They will feel empowered if you give them a chance to make decisions on their own. They also can learn from their own mistakes and how to overcome them next time. Be respectful when you correct your child.
Teach them the skill of Decision Making (SODAS Method) to help them make better decisions on their own.
Avoid constant ordering, correcting or directing
Invite children to help you rather than demanding that they do. Let them decide when is the best time to do their homework. Set boundaries and let them work within them. Children often rebel and push parents to the limits when they are forced to do things. Respect their time, limits and wishes as long as they are reasonable. Show appreciation for any help a child gives
Build them up
So many things can affect a child’s self esteem. The way you treat your child should not tear them down. Encouraging words can influence how their day goes despite how their friends and others treat them. They need to know that you have their back and that they have a safe refuge from the world. Pray with and for them and and send them off with a smile. Children who feel good about themselves are more likely to give respect to others.
Encourage them to participate in extracurricular activities
Model the behavior you would like your children to adopt. Be involved in a particular activity such as singing, playing an instrument, crafting, or other interest in your spare time. Ask them what they would like to try and support them in their endeavors. Praise when they are successful and help them when you can.
Help others in need
When you show respect to neighbors, your kids will see your example. Taking a meal to someone who is ill or watching their children can influence their behavior. You can also encourage your child to share with their siblings and others. Praise them for being respectful by sharing and giving to others.
Compare them only to themselves
A child who is always compared to siblings, cousins or parents will always feel inadequate. By treating them as an individual and being nonjudgemental will have better results. Each child is so unique and has their own set of talents and attributes. I have a grandchild who has special needs. She has very good self esteem despite her disability. Her parents treat each of their children with respect and love.
Give up the need for power and control
Power struggles rarely bode well in families. Daily conflicts with children create disrespect. You are a steward over your children. Mutual respect between parents, spouses and children can solve daily challenges. Show your children respect and they will respect you. All humans desire respect and thrive with it.