R Is For Respect
“YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!” screams the 5 -year-old child as he slams the door of his perfectly decorated room in your posh five-bedroom home. You are stunned to realize that your child is an out-of-control Brat with a capitol B. You think, If I spoke to my mother the way my child speaks to me …
How interesting that each generation of parents says the same thing about their babies: “Children today just don’t have any respect. It wasn’t that way when I was growing up.”
Then you take a deep breath and walk away without saying a word to your child, because that is what your pediatrician has told you to do when your child throws a tantrum. “Stay calm. Don’t yell. Walk away. No matter how much or how long the child continues to scream, kick, and flail — the parent should ignore him and his disrespectful protests.” Not so.
How tragic is this all-too-familiar situation? The tragedy is the loss of respect.
Don’t feel helpless, parents. Don’t walk away and don’t give up. Your doctor is wrong!
The Bible says in Proverbs 20:11, “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work is pure, and whether it is right.” His actions are a reflection of the parents who have trained him.
What is respect? It’s both a noun and a verb; “respect” can also be made into an adverb and an adjective. Respect is a very big deal!
For most of us, respect means thinking of someone else, considering his needs, desires and position. In some cases, it is an acknowledgment of “who’s the boss.”
From the perspective of the child, regardless of age, they can begin to understand that to behave respectfully they must act in a specific, acceptable way at certain places and in certain times. Sometimes it is in the way they speak to someone, the way they follow the rules and the way they take care of things. For example, she must respect her books by not tearing the pages and not walking on them.
Your child’s ability to show respect and politeness to others will reveal much about you as a parent. Your commitment to teaching them respect is critical. Disrespect is not something children will outgrow. They need you to not walk away; but rather, dig your heals in and enforce respect into their character.
Tips For Teaching Respect:
1. Model respect. Children who live with disrespect will imitate it.
2. Praise your children when they are respectful, and use the word “respect” when you praise them. “I am so proud of you for shaking Pastor Ed’s hand. That was very respectful.”
3. Teach them to use the titles of Mr. and Mrs.
4. Practice respect during mealtime. For example: No one should leave the table until everyone has completed their meal. This shows respect for one another. Children should ask if they may be excused. This shows respect for authority.
5. Teach boys to open doors for the women and girls. This shows respect.
6. Knocking on a door shows respect for a person who may need privacy.
7. Require your children to respect property: Don’t litter. Don’t write on walls. Don’t eat messy food in the car.
8. Support authority figures in your child’s life. Even if the coach or teacher is being hard on them, teach your child to say “Yes, sir,” and to obediently respect their decision. Always respect authority without an argument!
9. Manners matter. Manners are all about respecting others. Say “please” and “thank you.” Teach them to always speak when spoken to. Don’t interrupt. Be tidy. Greet people nicely with a firm handshake and a smile. Eat at the table.
10. Be kind to older people. Give up your seat, hold a door open, lift a heavy object, ask their advice and listen to their stories. All of these things show respect to our elders.
“Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32).
To fear the Lord is to respect Him. We must take seriously our job to be respectful and to train our children in the rules of respect.
While it may seem that teaching your child to be respectful is difficult, remember that it is well worth the effort. It takes commitment and modeling, but you can do it. I know you can because … YOU ARE THE BOSS!
Read more of these great tips from the series.
Trina Titus Lozano, mother of four grown children and grandmother of nine, is a former professor of home economics at Christ For the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, and the creator of The Home Experience Semester Course. The daughter of Devi and Larry Titus, Trina is the author of Wait, the Smart Choice Abstinence Education for Public Schools, and the vice president of Wonderful Days, a nonprofit organization based in Fort Worth, Texas. Trina is a counselor, cognitive therapist and popular inspirational speaker at public schools nationwide. She has been recognized by the state of Texas premarital counseling program, Twogether in TEXAS. Trina is the author of The ABC’s, Absolute Basic Criteria for Raising the Next Christian Generation, and is an ordained Christian minister. She is open and candid, and her messages apply to real-life issues. Trina and her husband, James (since 1983), reside in Colleyville, Texas.