Raising Children With Respect

Raising children with respect: adults often forget that children need to be treated with the same respect that is shown to other adults. Effective parenting offers this respect.

When a trip down memory lane is taken, adults often remember feelings that were rampant as our childhood and teen years were passing. It was not only important for adults to pay attention to us, but how we longed for those same adults to respect our feelings!

How many times did we say the words "you just don't understand me!" or "you think all teenagers are alike!" or even "when I have children, I will listen to them!"

Treating children and teens with respect isn't a difficult thing to do. Keep in mind that it doesn't meant spoiling them or agreeing with every idea they happen to have. They will most likely be delighted to hear why you don't agree with something they say instead of just hearing that it's not a good idea and nothing more.



In the area of respecting opinions, there are many ways we can show that the child's opinion is something that matters to us. Is there an upcoming purchase that a child might help in decision making? It doesn't have to be a big thing. Helping to choose carpet or a dinner menu are kinds of things where a child can offer input. Perhaps a Saturday excursion destination.

Children and teenagers share the feelings of adults. When we are asked input for decision making in some matter, doesn't it give a feeling of self-worth and a thought that "wow, they must really respect my opinions!" Yes. And isn't that followed with a lovely feeling of knowing we are important and that we are respected?

Yes, it makes a difference. Respect is an easy thing to show. It only needs to say that the child is treasured and that he or she matters to us.

Another form of respect is to give the child space to grow. Respect their thoughts, as mentioned previously, but also respect their privacy and their decisions. If a decision is made that could carry consequences, explain your reasoning and don't just say "that's a crazy idea, I forbid you to do it!" If it's truly a danger and the child doesn't relent, other steps must be taken, but before anything else, give the facts and see if they might alter the decision.

A teenager's bedroom is a refuge. Allow it to continue being that if the child is doing well with keeping it in order. It is their private place where thoughts and dreams fill the air.

Guidance is needed, of course, as a child matures. Respecting them doesn't mean giving in to things we know are wrong or dangerous. We still must be parents and we still need to offer that guidance when required. There is a definite line between respecting a child's privacy and thoughts, and realizing the necessity to guide.

What it actually boils down to is not very different than what we all distinguish as "The Golden Rule." As adults, we want to be respected. Why treat the adults of the future differently? One of the most highly valued phrases we can hear from a peer, or yes, even our children, is "I respect you." Think of the quantity of self esteem it will instill into our children to hear those same words!

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