As a parent, you go to great lengths to ensure that your children are happy and content. You put them in the best of schools, buy them the best of clothes, and give them all that you can so that you can see a smile on their face. While all this can make them happy, it won’t exactly matter if you aren’t treating them with respect.
Treating elders and parents with respect is something that is commonly taught to children. And often they abide by this rule without even questioning. But what most of us tend to miss out on is that children need to be respected too. They may be young and lack the experience that many of us possess, but they still are unique personalities capable of emotions. Treating children with respect instills qualities like confidence and self-respect from a very young age (1). If you aren’t treating your child with respect, then now is the time to change that. Read on to see if you are treating your child with respect by following these points:
1. Are You Using Golden Words Regularly?
It is essential to use golden words on children often as it instills a sense of courtesy, politeness, and respect. Some golden words you can use on your child are “thank you”, “excuse me”, “I’m sorry”, and “please”. When you want your child to do something, say “please”. Similarly, if you have made a mistake or yelled at your child unfairly, make an effort to apologize to them for behaving wrongly. Instead of commanding them to do something or not do something, ask them politely by using golden words.
2. Listen To Them
When you proactively make an effort to listen to your child and not just “hear” what they say, you will be able to understand them better. Not listening to your child’s perspective or depriving them of expressing an opinion is a form of disrespect. You need to know that children are individuals on their own terms, and they too are entitled to their own thoughts and opinions. By listening to your child, you strengthen the bond you share with them and give them a chance to trust you.
3. They To Have A Right To Disagree
Many times, parents get startled or angry when their children disagree with what they say. It may hurt your ego that someone barely half your age has a strong opinion that doesn’t necessarily align with yours. But you know what? If you want to show your child respect, then you will have to agree to disagree politely. For example, if you believe that you did the right thing in a given situation, but your child disagrees with you, be humble enough to accept their view.
4. Quit The Negativity
It’s easy for us as parents to belittle our children by using harsh words or inappropriate language, but this is wrong. Don’t call them names, and don’t put them down. Children tend to mirror adults, so understand that whatever you do, your child is watching. And what they see you do, they will emulate. When you deal with them with a lot of negativity, their self-esteem and confidence levels will take a hit. They also begin to harbor negative thoughts and aggression. If you have the habit of dealing with your child negatively, then you should know that this does not align with respect.
5. Give Them Answers
Children are curious. They tend to ask a million questions, but guess what? That’s okay. You may get annoyed with them at times, and it’s fine, but don’t discourage them from asking you things. Sometimes, what they ask may be silly. Other times, they may ask something profound. And then there may be times when they ask the wrong questions. When all this happens, give them answers in a nice way.
If you don’t have answers, tell them that you don’t know, but you’d like to find out along with them. And when they ask you those questions which don’t concern them, politely tell them something along the lines of “I can’t give you an answer right now, but maybe when the time is right, you’ll learn of it”. Don’t turn them away or act like they aren’t entitled to find things out for themselves.
6. Respect Is A Two Way Street
As much as it is important to respect your child, your child needs to know that this should be reciprocated too. Just because you respect your child, it doesn’t mean that you encourage bad or rude behavior. Your child needs to understand that they can’t be taking you for granted. Talk to your child, so they know you are making efforts to be courteous, and they too should do the same, not just with you but with everyone else as well.
7. Give Them Your Time
It’s easy to get carried away with work, and we get that you’re trying to do your best to keep your family safe and happy. But it is also important to give your time to your child. No amount of gifts and money can take your place. You are the single most important person in your child’s life, so show up when they need you. Set aside time to spend time with them, even if it doesn’t necessarily mean you do something big. During the weekends, when they don’t have to worry about school much or you don’t have a lot of work, prioritize your time with them.
It takes time and effort to be the best version of yourself, but it is worth it. Showing respect to others, regardless of age, says a lot about your integrity and personality. By respecting your child, you also show them how to respect you and others. This in turn has the domino effect of your child treating others with the same level of respect and politeness. Do share with us your thoughts on what you feel about respecting children as much as any other individual in the comments section below.
- The Development of Respect in Children and Adolescents