Monday, January 30, 2012

Teach Your Children Respect and Expect No Less!

“Luke’s been pretty bossy lately,” I said.  My girlfriends nodded, empathetically – they’ve all been there at some time in some way. “I keep trying to tell him that he can’t tell us “no” and he most certainly cannot talk back. He seriously thinks he’s running the show at home.” I took a gulp of my Azunia Fresh Lime Margarita, I knew with the first sip that I was glad I ordered that instead of my usual cerveza.  Then Sam spoke up, “Isn’t he running your house? Three-year-olds think they run the show.  It’s about respect. If you teach him that it is what is expected of him-don’t bargain with him. Be consistent and keep at it.  He will learn.” 

It was if the clouds in the sky parted and the sun was finally able to shine through.  I even heard harps playing. Respect.  Of course!  I mean, it’s not like I haven’t been raising him with respect.  I’m a very respectful mom, letting him voice his opinions and make choices in his day; even allowing him to wear his Batman shirt for the 5th day in a row. I guess it’s that I hadn’t thought he needed to be taught respect.  As he’s growing, sometimes it just seems like he’s catching on to so much automatically that I think he should just know instinctively how to be.  Don’t they know they should always be kind and giving and respectful and helpful?  That its just good to be that way?  But, they only know what they see and can only grow if someone is showing them the way.

So I started reading up on respect (10 Tips onTeaching Respect to Children: You can't get it if you don't give it! and Talking back: Why it happens andwhat to do about it) and I stopped letting things slide.  We can have such long days when we’re home with the kiddos.  Until lately, after the 7th time of “No, I don’t want to!” I’m tired of dealing with it and just throw my hands up and try to distract him without teaching him!  But I can’t give up!  I need to work on this through the 14th “No!” and then maybe tomorrow there will only be 7.  And the next day 4.  When finally one day he’s not saying it anymore.

Another friend of mine said so bluntly, “If you don’t change this behavior now, you’ll have a back-talking, sassy 15-year-old who really is running your house.” With that said, I’m on a mission.  I will have children who respect my husband and I because we treat them with respect and expect (another key word – teach expectations) no less from them.  We will be those parents who can just give them the look when we’re out in public to keep them in line.  And hopefully, they will be those kids who will enjoy our company as they get older because we have seen them and treated them as people, the amazing individuals that they are.

In the meantime, we have a lot of modeling and teaching to do.  In the course, this will make me a better person because I have to keep my own temper in check and keep calm even in a chaotic day.  I will keep reading about how to teach respect and provide positive discipline.  I will meet up with my girlfriends often (not only providing relief and relaxation – but advice that can just bring a turning point into your child-rearing world).  As Dr. Robyn Silverman wrote,

“Teaching respect takes patience, time and willingness to do as you preach. Time isn’t everything though, is it? It takes years to rear a respectful child and only moments to fill one with anger and disrespect. Which one do you choose?”