Parenting Styles

10 Ways to Get Your Children to Respect You

Respect is a huge issue for parents, yet addressing the subject by way of requirement typically makes matters worse. Respect can’t be demanded, yet that’s exactly what we try.

Families simply cannot function without respect, but the more we push the more elusive it seems to be. So, what’s the answer? Why won’t children fall into line? What kind of plan can possibly help?

There are no easy answers, but there are positive directions. For starters, back off.  Families are not the military and there is no uniform code of conduct! There is, however, the powerful intervention of love. Check out the following “10 Ways” that will, at the very least, get your family heading down the right path.

  1. Respect your children:
    This is going to look different from child to child, but you know when you’re disrespectful and so do they. As the parent, this is something we can teach by doing.
  2. Respect your husband:
    This is huge. The relationship between parents sets the tone for the greater family dynamic. When children witness mom and dad treat one another with love and respect, despite their differences, the standard has been set. If, conversely, kids witness their parents bring one another down, it’s an uphill climb from there. You can’t un-ring that bell.
  3. Be consistent:
    Children need to know what to expect. Inconsistency on the part of parents leaves kids floundering. Consistency is both a compass and an anchor.
  4. Follow through:
    Another way to say this is, “Tell the truth.” That means, think carefully before you lay out a potential consequence. The moment you fail to follow through, your credibility, and your respect, is out the window.
  5. Spend more time teaching love than teaching rules:
    Children who are taught the connection between love and discipline can accept consequences more easily than those who are governed exclusively by “chapter and verse.” Love does not demand respect; love commands respect.
  6. Live with integrity:
    Children are master observers. Personal work ethic… Paying bills… Charitable giving… Helping others… Generous with tips… Talking positively about others behind their backs.  All of these are areas where we build and sustain the kind of character our kids will respond to with respect.
  7. Be a family:
    Is this a family you consider worthy of your best? Is your family “job one?” This means being proactive about family life. Meals together, special trips and events, game nights, vacation. Respect.
  8. Be a leader:
    Don’t just love, love from the front. Parents are family leaders, and one way to lead is to love from the front.
  9. Don’t try to be their friend:
    This can be hard because we want so much to be liked by our kids, but that’s not something we should be fishing for. Don’t worry about being loved; be their father instead. Do the parent thing to the best of your extensive creative ability and the love will happen by itself. The like part really isn’t a factor, because that’s not why you’re there, is it? You’re there because you love them and that’s something the kids can, and will, respect.
  10. Tell the truth:
    We’re not just talking about words here. Tell the truth about what you believe and then follow through. Tell the truth about what your values are and then live them. Tell the truth about your love and then love with as much energy as you can muster. Be genuine.  Let your gifts come through.  Do your very best at being who you are. They’re not going to love anything short of your authentic self.

© 2011 All Pro Dad. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.

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  • Worried mom

    This is a great article. More needs to be done about the easy access kids have to porn. You never hear about this scary epidemic on the news. We tell kids “don’t do drugs” and “don’t text and drive” which are equally important, but I believe there needs to be a campaign more widely advertised to protect our children from online porn. I have restrictions set on my 13 year old sons phone and only I know the code. I have his internet search settings on so he can’t access adult websites. He doesn’t like the restrictions but to me it’s necessary. I’m so afraid of what will happen with this generation of kids with iPhones and tablets etc whose parents haven’t set any restrictions on them.

  • drrichardnorris

    Every parent needs to be vigilant if they truly care about the growth and development of their kids. We also need to be engaged with our kids daily life including their friends etc.

    I cannot fathom how some people see porn as okay when it causes so much harm in marriages and denigrates intimacy between man and a woman into something purely physical not to mention the men and women who are lured into the industry.

    Thanks for reminding me to pray about this for my kids, my family and society as a whole.

  • Wife

    Its overwhelming how vigilant we have to be and discouraging trying to keep up. Technology is changing so fast as a working mom I am not able to keep up with the many ways kids can go around the blocks put in place.
    I know that throwing away all the technology is not the answer, but sometimes I’m tempted.
    I feel like I need constant advice in the many areas I need to watch out for. I don’t have cable tv, but I have netflix, and when placing restrictions, I found some of my teenagers just went around me and visit websites that show all the tv shows that I would not allow in my home. I can’t keep up. That avenue is worst then having the cable stream through your living room. I shut off the internet in my home when I go to bed to eliminate internet browsing at night when everyone’s asleep. That helps. Even my teenager who has openly confess struggling with porn admits that was something he needed however what more can I do when its open all around them any hour of the day, by anyone in their lives.
    This is really a problem.

    • Janette

      I disagree with you on throwing away technology isn’t the answer. I think a nice cheap flip phone is good enough for any kid. If homework is a concern, there’s always the library. Sometimes you have to be a little “extreme”.. but I don’t even consider this extreme. Addictions to technology and pornography are a big deal. If your kids were drug addicts you wouldn’t say that throwing away drugs in the house were extreme. You have to do what’s really in the best interest of your kids.

  • Tina Davis

    One of the best things I have found to share with your boys is session #2 of Andy Stanleys – New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating. It is available free as a download to view and listen to through his ministry. It says that when you view pornography you are going to school. You are being taught that 1. A real woman’s body is not enough 2. Your wife’s body is not enough and 3. that one body is not enough – it is powerful and one of the best teachings to explain the damage that pornography will do long term.

  • Becky

    I would love to see a follow-up article to this that would lay out methods for how to set up protections on phones/computers/tablets/Tvs. Something in a step-by-step format would be extremely helpful.

    • Wife

      That’s a great idea, I would love to see that too. My kids are smarter then me when comes to technology . I need help.