One of the great frustrations as a parent is when children don’t respect the rules that you have in the home or are just a little disrespectful in general. Of course, all parents want their children to be kind and polite to everyone that they come into contact with. But this isn’t always going to be the case. You can see as they get older, particularly into their teenage years that they can snap back or lack respect for some people, which can be disappointing. But the good news is that no matter what the age of your children, there are still plenty of things that we can do to encourage a healthy and mutual respect for one another. When we show our children respect, they are likely to mimic it, as they will feel strengthened and empowered by how they are being treated.
With all of that in mind, here are some of the ways that you can show respect to your children and avoid those power struggles that can come at all different ages.
Ask Fewer Questions
We as parents want to know what our children have been doing when we are not there, or what they have been thinking about or doing. But when they are barraged with questions, is it any surprise that they are reluctant to answer? Being tight-lipped doesn’t mean that they don’t necessarily want to share, they just want to control how and where they do so. So give them a little space, and let them know that you’re there when they want to talk.
Let Them Choose
It can be really easy as parents to take control and choose what they are going to wear and get them dressed, just because it may be quicker. But if you follow the Montessori method of teaching, then you do need to give them a choice. This helps them to feel respected as they can have a say in things. Something as small as choosing what they wear can be a good sign of respect, as well as putting them in control. We may still feel like we should be bathing or washing our kids hair, but they can certainly get on and do it themselves, especially when they are at school. Give them choices and it will help the respect between you as they can feel more grown up and like they have more responsibility.
Let Them Speak
When you go and visit family or meet with friends, often they will ask your children things like how school is or what their favorite thing to do is. They may be a little reluctant to share, but don’t jump in there to do it for them; give them the chance to speak. It helps them to show respect to the person asking the question, as well as them being shown respect by you as you don’t jump in to answer for them.
These are just some small examples, but it can make a difference. When there is mutual respect, wonderful things can happen.