I realize that when you read the title above, you were thinking about words like "obedience" or children being well-mannered in saying things such as "please" and "thank you". In this case, when I speak of respectful and well-behaved I am talking about children who don't feel like they are in constant competition for attention or things. I am also talking about children that do not parrot superficial words of appreciation or apology. Children that are respectful and well-behaved, in my opinion, are those that genuinely care about the people around them and who are content most of the time. Now that you understand what I am referring to as far as definitions go, here is what I have learned from my own children.
First of all, kids learn respect for other human beings first and foremost through how they are treated by the adults in their life. How you relate to your children and treat them is the first influence they have. Do you feel like you treat your kids respectfully? Do you really listen to what they think and how they feel without judging them? Or do you constantly try to control how they feel? Do you put your own feelings first? Do you make them feel like their feelings don't matter by having a "well, that's too bad" attitude? Do you shame them by telling them they are wrong or immature? If you can honestly say that at least most of the time you listen to your children and show them that you value how they feel, then you are on the right track. You have shown them that their emotional needs are just as important as yours.
But wait.... If you stop here, you are only teaching your children half of what they need to know!! You have definitely shown your children that they deserve respect. You have also shown them how to give it within the confines of your family dynamic. You will sabotage all of your efforts if you don't apply the same modeling behavior to all parts of your life.
The second area of your life I'd like you to look at is how you respect or disrespect yourself. How do you talk about yourself? Do you pick yourself apart? Do you have a hard time accepting compliments? Do your relationships include respecting yourself enough to be able to receive as much as you give? Do you give to others to the point where you aren't taking care of yourself? On the other side of the coin, are you so focused on yourself that you don't pay any attention to having healthy friendships? Do you have only friends that are your followers who are always giving to you in order to get your attention? Do you always make everything about yourself when it comes to other people? How you behave in all of these areas is how your kids are going to be conditioned to behave as well.
The last area, which is just as important as the others, is how you talk about and treat other people, especially those you may not agree with. Watch your language carefully and really listen to how you talk about other people. Do you cheer on other people's nastiness when you agree with their point of view? Are you in the habit of talking about others from a place of jealousy, judgment or downright hatred? Do you gossip about others just for the sake of gossiping and picking them apart? Do you know when to walk away gracefully from someone who may not treat you well or do you put your ego first and argue because being right is more important to you than being kind? I have noticed that the more grace and understanding I show to others, the more grace and understanding my kids have as well.
Your kids will learn from you in ALL of these areas whether you want them to or not. Are you behaving in a way that you would want your kids to behave?
As a Parent Coach and Mentor, my passion lies in empowering parents to make the best decisions they can for their children and their families as a whole. As a well-trained coach, I can be your facilitator and accountability partner for long-lasting, meaningful change that has a permanent, positive impact for your family. By focusing on the values that you hold most important in your life, I can help you create and maintain the type of parenting relationship you want to have with your children, now and into their adulthood.
I am a homeschooling mom of four children in Massachusetts. I am also the author of a book called The Herbal Beverage Book, which can be found on amazon. When not coaching, writing or spending time with the family, I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki films, new and classic Dr. Who episodes, anything related to American history and a great glass of mead.
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This blog is a collection of thoughts, articles and perspectives I have at any one time. While I am pretty consistent in my beliefs, life changes and evolves along with experiences. You may feel a connection with me through my writing yet I never want any of my readers to misunderstand that the connection you feel is with a perspective I have shared and not me as a person. I am continually humbled that I am able to connect with my readers, and I hope to continue to be able to for many years to come, but it doesn't make us connected in any way beyond this. If you connect with what I write and know me as an acquaintance, this in no way reflects that I have any knowledge of you, your situation in life or that I am writing with you in mind. It is merely that I have shared a human experience that most likely very many others have had has well. This also goes for anything I post on my Twitter account, Facebook Page and Facebook personal page. I wanted to make this disclaimer as clear as possible so you know that any misunderstanding you choose to have is not my responsibility.