My husband and I realized early on that respect was very important to us in raising our children.
Over the years we watched other families and the relationships between parents and children. While most Christian parents we knew demanded respect from their children, they never seemed to even think that they needed to respect their children in return. This gave us food for thought and opened up a great deal of discussion between us.
How can we give respect to our children while at the same time requiring it from them?
We came to realize that authority shows itself in respect given.
- We didn’t make fun of our children.
- We didn’t belittle our children.
- We didn’t gossip about our children.
- We didn’t embarrass our children (not on purpose, anyway).
- We didn’t poo-poo their questions.
We worked on building a positive relationship with them.
- We treated every question with integrity.
- We asked their opinions on many things.
- We explained when other adults were wrong, yet why it was important for them to often hold their tongues.
- We were quick to admit our wrongs and ask their forgiveness.
- We treated them as if they were adults in our conversations with them.
Whether as a result of this intentional focus on raising them respectfully or not, we have been blessed in that none of our eight children have ever shown disrespect to us. We have wonderful relationships with each of them, even the introverted ones, for whom sometimes our counsel times were via email or letters left on beds.
I am not saying this is The Key to child rearing, but I do think it is an important thing for us to model.
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In a culture where respect seems to be an unexpected shining light, raising children who naturally show respect makes them stand out in a crowd in a very positive way. Treating our children with respect gives them the life view that respect is the normal, natural way to treat others. They automatically hold doors for others, say ‘thank you’ and ‘your welcome’, they don’t talk back with sass, they don’t gossip, and they are polite.
Showing respect teaches respect.
It starts with us.
One way of discipling and mentoring our children is to model godly character in our own lives.
How are you teaching your children respect?