All parents want to be respected by their children, but true respect is something that is earned over time. Most children love their parents and will continue to do so throughout their lives, even if they don’t particularly respect them. To have both love and respect is the perfect package, one that is worth striving for. To earn the respect of a child, parents need only to remember a few things.
What is Respect Worthy?
To earn respect, parents need to first think of the characteristics that they respect in others. Most of us are fortunate enough to know a few people (hopefully, many) that we genuinely respect. Typically, these people have several traits in common and conduct themselves in ways which make others look up to them. It is not money or social status that gains respect, but instead is an innate ability to make sound choices and live in a manner that is not harmful to self or others.
Parents who treat their children with respect will likely earn the respect of their children. Kids may say they want parents who would allow them to do whatever they wish, but in reality, children are often glad that they have parents who care enough about their welfare to establish and enforce household rules. Additionally, it matters a great deal just how the rules are presented and how parents deal with the inevitable misbehaviour of their kids. Yelling, hitting, or belittling children may force them to follow the rules, but they will behave out of fear, rather than respect. Parents who are firm but loving will teach their children to behave similarly and will earn the respect of their offspring.
Behaviours that Earn Respect
Children look to their parents for examples of how to conduct themselves. When parents offer their children a view of decent and responsible adult behaviour, they are helping to build the groundwork for their children as they decide what types of people that they hope to become. By providing the kids with positive examples, parents go a long way toward earning their children’s respect. Some ideas include:
- Treat people kindly and offer a helping hand when you can.
- Be fair and just, with children and with all people.
- Never expect more from someone else that you expect from yourself.
- Be honest and forthright, but never brutally so.
- Do your fair share – in fact, do more than your fair share.
- Be strong and brave, but show your weaknesses, rather than hiding them.
- Admit when you are wrong and ask for forgiveness.
- Embrace the good in others and celebrate it.
- Practice moderation in all things.
More than anything, children want to know that they are important to their parents. While parents can tell their kids that they love them, it makes a far bigger impression to show them. Children flourish when given ample time and attention, so making family a priority is a great way for parents to demonstrate their love for their children. Also, kids need guidance, so it is important for parents to be on hand. Children may not always appreciate all that their parents do for them during their growing up years, but parents who make themselves available and treat their children with love and respect will raise kids who will ultimately love and respect them in return.