How to Get Respect

How does one go about getting respect? I was taught, as a child, that... in order to get respect, you have to, first, give respect. I've had people ask me, though, how does a child learn to respect someone? Of course, it's by seeing someone (usually, the parents) be respectful... to them and to others. So... it's kind of like "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

If you think about it, a child is not automatically born with an innate sense of respect (for their parents, the doctor who delivered them and their world). It sounds kind of silly, if you think about it that way. Obviously, they have to learn respect from someone else, model that behavior and grow to feel like it's the right thing to do.

I remember, as a teenager, saying to my mother, "Well, if YOU don't respect ME, then why should I respect YOU?" I came from a home where my parents laid out the rules, and when they weren't followed, well... that was it. You just KNEW how to behave! I see many, other people who were raised that way, and I almost think we were done a disservice. I mean... if we were just supposed to KNOW (intuitively, I suppose?!) to respect others, then where were we supposed to learn to do that from? Needless to say, there was many-an-experience being learned in the "real world..." some good, but most not so good.

Now that I'm older, and am a mother, myself, I see exactly where teenagers are coming from. Sure... they're moody, grouchy and oftentimes disrespectful, but... who is actually teaching our children HOW to act? Hopefully, it's the parents, and hopefully they're doing a good job teaching their child and modeling those behaviors for them. I know, many parents who are NOT doing their children any favors in this area... which, is sad. These children grown up not knowing who they are, where they fit in and how to properly, and positively, socialize with society.

One day, my son and I were fussing about something and he said the exact, same thing to me. He wanted to know why I always tell him he's not respecting me and why I expect him to respect me when he feels like I don't respect him. In the heat of the moment, I didn't see it, but... once everything calmed down and I was able to think about it, he definitely gave me something to think about. I do NOT want to be the parent who is always "in control," and that's it. I know how awful that feels. Rather... I strive to be the mother and role model that, at the end of the day, my son knows is "in charge;" however, is not going to just rub it in his face... "just because." What's the point in that?

What about when it comes to complete strangers, though? How do you feel? Do you find it annoying to go to the store and be in such a happy mood, just to have it all spoiled by the check out girl whose in the worst possible mood? What about when you're standing in line for a movie ticket and someone just butts right in... in front of you? Do you say anything, and if so... how?

I have to say... I'm the type that's had so much confrontation in her life, that I'd rather not even bother. I know, this is not always the best way to handle these things/people, though. If it's something very important to me, or an issue that affects mine/my family's lives... then, I say something. Other than that, I use the "I don't even see you" tactic... hiding away in my own, little space in time. Now, if someone initiates a confrontation... then, I will get upset. There would've been a time, not so long ago, that I would've completely lost it, if something like that happened. Things have changed, though. I have changed.

When all else fails, I pray. Seriously! When you are doing your best, being as caring and as respectful as you can, and the other person just refuses to see/hear your point of view... that's the time to pray. Unfortunately, not much else is going to work, unless that person CHOOSES to open their hearts and minds.

A couple of things I always try to keep in mind, are:

1.) Don't always rush to judge/take offense for the way someone ELSE is behaving (no matter what they say/do to you). You never know where that person's been, what that person's been through and where that person's going. Make sure, their last impression of you is a good one.

2.) Always speak with kindness and respect. Believe it or not, it IS possible to behave/speak to others in a way that shows respect. Again... no matter how they're behaving/speaking, you always have control over what you do/say. No one can "make" you do anything you don't want!

3.) If all else fails, I try and consider how Jesus would behave in a certain situation. If you know enough about the bible, Jesus and God... you will know, we were not meant to act in such negative/disrespectful ways.

Other than that, the rest is really up to you... how you want, and choose, to behave. What kind of person do you want to be? What do you want people to say about you, after you're gone? How do YOU want to see you? That's very important. Once you've answered those questions, you'll have the answers to so much more.

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Comments 4 comments

Rebecca 7 years ago

So how do you let a child know you are in charge without being totally controlling and uncompromising? My kids are really disrespectful and I think it is partly how I treat them and partly because they are used to getting their way much too often. Bed time is especially hairy. Any feedback would be appreciated.


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audreana71 7 years ago from WV Author

Rebecca, I definitely understand what you're saying! I have to say... as a single mother, I believe it is much easier to head some of these disputes/problems off if you are married or with someone who is a partner in parenting with you. This way, the kids are always (hopefully;) seeing a united front, and not (as in my case) one parent trying to do it all. I am, and have been, a single parent to my son (soon to be 17) since birth. It has definitely NOT been easy. The main thing, is... communication. If you start early, letting them know that you are the parent (that means, you get to make the rules) and they have to do what you tell them to. My son was compliant with most anything I said, up until about 13. As far as rules go, keep them simple. Have a handful of "family rules," for instance: In our home, we... (and list 4 or 5 main rules- respect each other, clean up after yourself, etc.). This way, there's really no "wiggle room" for an excuse. Respecting each other covers lots and lots of ground... how we speak to each other, our body language, respecting each other's space/belongings, etc. You get the idea. Another thing I have found that works for us, is keeping to a routine. Let's say, the kids are in school. Monday thru Friday, the schedule might go something like this:

6:30-7:00a.m.- up and dressed

7:00-7:20a.m.- breakfast

7:20-7:30a.m.- brush teeth

7:30-7:40a.m.- put backpacks, books, etc. by the front door

... and, so on. The same goes at night. Beginning when they get home from school, they grab a snack (hopefully, already prepared and ready for them) and sit down and relax. Give them, maybe, 30 mins. to relax and wind down. When those 30 mins. are up, let them know it is time to start their homework. Once homework is complete, they put their things away (books, pencils, etc.) and get ready for dinner (changing out of school clothes, hanging out, playing a board game, helping with dinner, etc.). Same with dinner. After dinner, clean up and, if needed, begin baths. Dressed for bed, maybe a little free time/bedtime snack, then off to bed. Story/music and lights-out. Stick as closely to this schedule as you can. You will find, not only are they much more pleasant and easy to get along with, but you will be, too;) Without knowing approximate ages of your children, I can't give specific, age-appropriate advice. If they are younger, charts are an EXCELLENT resource... chore charts/stickers, list of house/family rules, behavior chart (let them know that, when they break one of the family rules, they will be warned. Then, if they do it again, you will make an X on the chart under the rule that they broke. If they do well with that rule that day, then they will get a sticker under the rule. If the behaviors get really bad, you might want to begin withholding things they want to do/toys/games/etc.). The main thing, here, is to BE CONSISTENT! Do not slack off. Once they see you're serious about things, and that you're not giving in to the crying and temper tantrums, they will accept it. Make sure, too, you address safety issues... i.e. fighting, hitting, pinching, biting, etc. These are no-no's and will get them an automatic X under the rule for that day. It's important, too, to talk to the children about their behaviors and how what they say/do affects other people, and how they can hurt someone else's feelings. Teaching empathy is very, VERY important. It seems like, not too many parents teach their kids that, anymore. It's definitely a VITAL life skilll that has to be learned at home. If, by chance, your children are older, it's still not too late. You know what they say... "Better late than never!" If you have the choice, though, do start early, because... once they hit the teen years, things just get that much more complicated=0 I hope some of this helps. I wrote this hub for myself, just as much as I did others;) None of us have perfect lives; however... we learn from our mistakes and, hopefully, use those lessons to teach our own children good from bad, right from wrong. When we do that, we empower them as kids who will, one day, grown up and go out into this cruel world, and... we certainly want to prepare them well for that day. As a result, the entire family unit will be strengthened, and what more could we ask for than that?!


Heather 6 years ago

If your children don't go by the rules take away toys, tv, movies. Ect. My son is 2 yrs old refuses to be potty trained and my daughter is 4 and still pees the bed and at daycare how can I train her for the night to be ready for pre k this year in sept she's 5


me 5 years ago

Ok you have to have the child give you respect first explain to them what respect is then they have to earn your respect in the real world you have to respect your boss if you want respect in return we as parents have to teach our children life the real world and they way i am raising my 15 yearold daughter to earn respect and earn what you get while telling her what it means she is so much better than any of these children in this area because of it

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