In our fast paced and cynical society, respect has fallen on hard times. We love to criticize politicians-think Congress, celebrities-think Jersey Shore, and basically anyone who is in a place of authority. But does this culture of criticism extend its' ugly grip into our own homes? I think that unfortunately, it does. And as parents, we need to beat it back by ACTIVELY teaching children to respect us as their parents. Let me make my case...
I often work with parents who have a tough time disciplining their young children in even the simplest of ways. I am horrified to watch as their children are allowed to hit them, yell "shut up" or call them unkind names. Some even actively cover their ears and hum when being reprimanded. These behaviors are all strategies that children use to divert attention from the matter at hand, or to command attention from the parent. Respect for parents should be a house rule in every happy home. And it takes consistency and patience to teach your children that certain behaviors cross the line and will not be tolerated.
But the burden of parenting does not stop there. Parents also must be worthy of respect. Kids are smart and see right through the parent who yells at them about telling a lie and then turns around and lies to get out of a ticket or considers it a blessing to have a waiter miss an item on the restaurant bill. Parents need to earn the respect that they expect from their children by trying to be good examples in all ways. From the soccer field, to the fast food window, to the annoying neighbor next door, your children are studying your behavior and learning how you handle yourself. This helps them to determine how they act. So if you are unkind, dishonest, impatient, or worse, your kids will follow you down that path. And it will make it very difficult to demand respect from them that you don't earn.
No one ever said parenting is easy. But tackling respect from both the earning and teaching sides will benefit your family immensely!