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. They notice if you have a good work ethic, if you are generous with tips, if you help others, if you talk positively about others behind their backs, etc. 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 mother instead. Do the parent thing to the best of your 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.