My child often disrespects me.
Perhaps you feel that way because your child talks to you rudely or hatefully. How do you handle it?
Do you raise your voice and yell back? That approach usually escalates the situation until both of you are speaking angrily.
Or maybe you choose to ignore it, thinking that they are just kids. However, that does not address the behavior. There are times when ignoring an attitude is a good idea, and times when it should be addressed. Disrespect is one of those times.
If you want your child to learn to respect you–and treat others with respect as well–then consider this: you will get what you sow. If you sow kindness into your child, you will eventually see them be kind. If you sow honesty into your child, they in turn will learn to be honest. And if you sow respect into your child, they will learn how to give respect back.
What does it mean to show your child respect? Basically, it starts with treating people–including your child–the way you wish to be treated. The most powerful way for you to teach your child how to respect others is for you to model it and for them to absorb it every day.
Let’s break it down a bit. What does treating your child with respect actually look like? Respect means:
- Calling them positive names, instead of negative ones.
- Not cussing at them.
- Speaking to their potential.
- Affirming them to their faces.
- Calling and and noticing their gifts and talents.
- Accepting their special talents, and not trying to make them into what YOU want them to be.
- Building them up, not tearing them down.
- Treating them the way you want to be treated (listening to them, letting them talk, respecting their opinions, etc)
- Listening – really listening to their words and expressions.
- Using kind words – even when setting a limit.
- Avoiding baby talk – speaking to them as we would to an adult.
- Letting them know what we appreciate and giving positive feedback.
- Allowing time (as much as possible) – time for movement, for conversation, to walk at their pace.
- Including them in daily life – letting them contribute to activities and conversations and allowing them to make age-appropriate choices.
- Finding ways to work with them (“Can you help me do the dishes?”) rather than threatening or bribing them.
When you get angry with your kids, you may find it easy to fall into a trap of speaking disrespectfully to them–yelling, cussing, demeaning, blaming–and think that it’s justified because they are your children. But they are not second-class citizens. They are not slaves to be ordered around. That kind of treatment will build resentment and rebellion in your child.
Showing your child respect does not mean that you are not in charge. It simply meant that you remain respectful even while being assertive.
If you’d like help with your parenting, please schedule a free intro call here.