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The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. ~Richard Bach
Since I was a little girl my father (AKA the Captain) has always said to me and my brothers “you respect the Garbage man as much as your respect the President of the bank.” No other explanation, just those words, not sure an explanation was needed usually when the Captain spoke we just listened to his infinite wisdom and his quips. The lesson was implied, and we more-or-less we just did what we were told.
My mother, the sweet lady is a much softer women of elegance and words of soft refined, well thought wisdom. She believed, as I have, and still do that there is a lot of good in everyone, and that we treat everyone with respect and they SHOULD treat us the same in return.
To share this is to tell you where I came from with respect and child rearing — how the Captain and the Lady raised me and my brothers. Which has a lot to do with how I learned to raise a respectful teenager.
When it comes to our children how exactly do we raise a child with respect in order to make them respectful???
You may think this sounds insane because we are the parents, we do not have to respect our kids, we are in charge, they should just listen to us and move on from there. I am sorry, but in my opinion, that is counterproductive. So, do not click off the page because you think I am one of those “safe place” mom’s or “everyone gets a trophy” mom’s because I am not. I am the Captains daughter after all. I was raised in the real world, and I raised Olivia in the real world, nothing was shaded from her, the truth was paramount. Realities of life were true and displayed before her to create a mature, well-rounded adult.
Why should I give respect to my child?
I know this sounds a bit off the wall to some parents that prefer to use the forceful way of earning respect or forcing respect by position power, however, giving respect is a measure of your character. PERIOD. How you respect others, and yourself shows a great deal about who you are. Character is a measure of your integrity, and integrity is a measure of your influence.
“Integrity is doing the right thing, when no one is watching.” ~C.S. Lewis
People will follow those of great character, and integrity, just like raising children into teenager, then into adults. It is your job as a parent to raise a good adult, that is the end game, the job begins the day they are born, and never ends. It is our job as parents to give them someone with integrity, character, and morals to follow.
I have told Olivia since the day she could understand, “I am not raising a little girl, I am raising a women!” Sometimes I change up women with warrior–depends on the conversation.
Give respect to get respect:
I promise you that she and I are not perfect and we still have moments where teenage disrespect pops up– but I will also promise you this… she respects her parents, my parents, our family and those that are in charge. And, I did not have to “beat it into her.”
Since Olivia was old enough to have a solid individual thought I have included her in the decision making process, which made her feel like her opinion mattered. When it has been just her and I most of her life, this was very easy, we made decisions together. Which it did, and still does even though she believes at times in your teenage wisdom that her opinion does not matter, and that is true sometimes because, frankly, the decisions are more important at this stage in the game. The decisions are more impactful to her future than they were when she was 6 and the decision was Hannah Montana on the radio or the veggie tales.
Including the children in the decision making process does a few things towards raising a respectful teenager:
- Sharpens and trains the children to make solid decisions. You notice I did not say a bad decision, the first step is they have to make a decision then it will be determined good or bad. If they make a bad decision we are able to guide them to a better one by making statements like, “I understand you wanting to make that decision, but have you considered….” then conversation can ensue.
- When the child has an opposing opinion, it also teaches them to have a constructive conversation to express their opinion in lieu of a temper tantrum. I never let her get a way with temper tantrums or yelling or crying when she did not get her way, we simply ended the conversation, and I would tell her we will pick this back up later when you are in a better place to have a discussion. Crazy thing is in all my years of managing adults the same concept applies in times of conflict sometimes people just need a moment to think because we are emotional creatures.
- Make sure that the child knows that even if they make a wrong decision you are in their corner. You will help them through the consequences, but the consequences still belong to them.
- Finally it allows them to feel as though they are valued. Those that feel valued will follow the respective leader, or in this case parent and generally just like pure magic, respect of that leader or parent follows. When children feel respected and not as though they are servants under their parents rule, the child will develop independence and respect.
If you have not noticed a pattern here, Olivia was treated like an adult because I was/am raising an adult. I owe it to her, to her future, and to the other well functioning adults in the world to raise a well rounded respectful, adult women who will be a benefit to society and not a detriment that others will have to deal with. It is a long road when they become adults, prepare them to be respectful, stand up for themselves in a respectful way, and expect respect from others
She is fully aware that just because you give someone respect does not mean they will give it back. Olivia is multi-cultural she is half her dad and half me, she understands that there are people in the world that will only see color, or sex, or whatever… I have not hidden that from her either however, in order to get respect from those that deserve respect it must be given. Sometimes we do have to teach our children to be the bigger, better person in many situations.
Another way to ensure that we raise children who become respectful adults with respect is to embrace what makes our children who they are, the individuals they are. Allow for your children to express themselves in a way that is constructive, safe, fair and prompts growth in mind and body. Our children can have very different views on the world than we do because experiences makes us who we are. I have first hand seen the damage that a parent who tries to force religion, or a life style that is not conducive to the child down their throat. They have turned the child into a rebel. Again, we do know best, but respecting their opinions can go along way in creating a respectful bond.
The moral of the story is to treat them like adults from the beginning, show respect to gain respect, allow for constructive conversation, and build solid character, which leads to high integrity, and further respect.
And… for those times that the kids are out of control… visit my Savvy Mom oils posts for oils that will reduce stress and provide calming. Olivia is an oils girl already… she loves her oils to help calm her emotions and provide a healthy life. Valor is one of my new favorites for calming and energy. https://savvymomsurvivalguide.com/2019/04/25/valor-essential-oil/
Much love, @mber