Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Teaching Respect Starts Early
I recently returned from a vacation, and I found myself surrounded by families enjoying time together at our resort. There was one family that I noticed had two lively and active boys...and although their behavior did not bother me or the other guests one bit, I came away feeling very sad for their mother. It was clear that these boys did not respect or listen to her at all--ever. She would have to repeatedly ask them to do things, and then plead with them, and then usually give up...because her words had zero effect on these boys. These situations were repeated over and over again, and I observed them at breakfast or by the pool continually ignoring every word that their mother said.
So where does this lack of respect come from? I can tell you. It is a combination of factors. The other parent normally plays a role in this. If the father disrespects the mother, the children learn disrespect. And if the mother disrespects the father, the children learn disrespect. And if you, as a parent don't demand that your children listen to you...then you are disrespecting yourself and teaching your children not to listen to your words.
I felt so sorry for this mom. She was not enjoying the precious vacation time she was sharing with her beautiful boys. She seemed so lonely, and dare I say--pathetic. And thinking about the future, I wondered if these boys would ever see the error in their ways. Would they come to appreciate their loving mother? Would they grow up to be loving partners or disrespect their significant others in future relationships. Had they learned this behavior from their dad? Would the cycle continue?
The takeaway is that teaching our children to respect us as their loving parents is of paramount importance. It sets them up to form respectful relationships throughout the rest of their lives with teachers, coaches, bosses and loved ones. Don't settle for anything less than loving respect from your children. It takes loads of work, but is well worth the effort.
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