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Parenting Respect, Eye Contact & Speaking to Others

Updated on November 9, 2011

Why do we make excuses?

Recently we went to a dinner at the family of a new friend and I was so impressed the way that the children looked us in the eye, spoke to us carrying on a wonderful conversation all about themselves, their family and really participated in the evening.

While we have always taught our children to do that when in any setting it caught us completely off guard to find these children so engaging. At a very early age we always taught to our children make complete eye contact with others, respond when asked a question and relate not only to adults but to their peers. They didn't always have to carry on a complete conversation, that came in time, but they were required to answer any questions being asked of them instead of ignoring them. Now our children are grown and they are never hesitant to relate in any situation.

I have been struck recently at how many times we have walked up to parents with children, spoken to them and their children immediately turn their heads away. The parents always offer these excuses. "She's just shy, she's hungry, or they're tired." Really? Are they really shy, hungry, or tired? Are any of those excuses really valid reasons to be rude? Aren't all of us always hungry, tired or just not feeling like being kind or social? I began to think too of the grown-ups I know who's parents probably gave these excuses for them their entire lives, who now have trouble looking people in the eye and giving them a simple greeting. If only their parents had known to take the time to teach them how to engage. I do realize that every child take a different amount of time and effort to encourage.

When we see that our children struggle in a particular area such as this, we need not make excuses for them. We need to encourage them, work on it and make it fun! I mean truly go home and work on it. Practice with them. We don't want our children to speak to strangers on the street, but we do want our children to speak to those we know when spoken to out of love and respect. I truly believe that your child will respond if you practice with them and teach them that it is important to show honor and respect to others. This also teaches that love is not rude. We use to make this teaching tool a game. Our children would run in and out of the room dozens and dozens of times and we would wear hats and have different voices and make up all sorts of fun scenarios for them. It took lots of practice and then we would give them little "heads-up" on the way to places as to what to expect and what we expected of them. They felt as proud of themselves as we did of them when they succeeded!

I Corinthians 13:5 Love is not rude. Titus 3:2 Be courteous to all men.


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    • SherrieAnne profile image

      SherrieAnne 6 years ago

      mommygonebonkers ~ I'm so delighted that you found this suggestion helpful. Practicing, like with anything in life, makes it easier for our children to feel more at ease and find themselves at home in a situation. Our children did love the practice because we laughed so much over the silliness of it all. We made up all kinds of silly voices and names during practice and made a HUGE DEAL when they were able to conquer their fears greeting people...winking at they and giving them a high we walked away, of course from the people. It was a lovely, private moment between us. They felt as proud as we did! I hope you see these times as well!

    • mommygonebonkers profile image

      mommygonebonkers 6 years ago

      Thank you for this! I've noticed lately my almost 4 year old has gotten in the habit of doing this with everyone, even family members that he sees often. I'm constantly reminding him to be polite and say Hi back when he's talked to or answer a question when he's asked but it never crossed my mind to practice it!

    • SherrieAnne profile image

      SherrieAnne 6 years ago

      Thank you chiefmomofficer! I'm so glad you agree that we can expect the best from our children and that they can be such a blessing. So glad you enjoyed this hub!

    • SherrieAnne profile image

      SherrieAnne 6 years ago

      You are right sam-eg about parenting being a huge challenge in all areas. The more time we invest the more our children profit from our attention. You are so right! Thanks for your comments!

    • chiefmomofficer profile image

      chiefmomofficer 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Couldn't agree more! I believe in having high expectations of our children. I find that they always rise to meet them. Great hub!

    • sam-eg profile image

      sam-eg 6 years ago from Happy Land

      Hi, sure parenting is not easy it includes alot of responsibilities ,how ever I totaly agree with we shouldn't give them excuses and encourage them by spending even more time with them as well pay attention to their behaviour...well done very useful hub