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Teaching Your Children Respect Oops Respect is Earned Not Learned
Trying to Teach Respect
If your trying to teach your kids respect and it’s not working out, it’s because respect is earned not learned. I mean you don’t see your kids coming home with homework for science, English, history, and respect. That’s because it’s not something that can be taught by a teacher. Although they may earn your childs respect and many other students while they are teaching, it’s not something we learn out of a book.
It Probably Didn't Start Out That Way
The Situation that Inspired this Hub
There was a situation the other day when I was standing in line shopping that inspired this hub, as situations usually do for me. While I was in line waiting for the lady with two smaller children in front of me to finish checking out, the mother and I’m guessing 14 or 15 year old daughter were arguing behind me. The young girl kept telling her mother she really needed it for a present for some ones birthday. I don’t have a clue what that “something” was but whatever it was she was pretty set on getting it. I mean she wasn’t rude but you know how kids are when they have their heart set on something. Then as the mother became a bit louder she literally with looks that made myself and I’m sure others think she was going to lose it stated very loudly, “You stupid little bitch. Can you not hear? I told you know no, now shut the hell up or else.” I have no idea what the “or else” was, and understand that parents get frustrated, but come on. This probably would have went off without a hitch until she looked at myself and the others stating, “Kids have no G.D. respect these days”.
I swear I tried with every breath I took not to say a word. I looked at the cashier who just opened her eyes really wide and looked up, and then I looked at the woman with the two children in front of me probably around 6-8 years old and when I saw their faces that was it. The little boy (older) started to say something and the mother quickly did the finger to the lips and a Shhhh.
I turned to her and said, “She must not of had a very good teacher.” I know I went to her level. Yep that’s right I wanted her to know how her daughter who was now hanging her head a if she had just been struck with a whip felt. The mother looked at me and stated, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Well I had already gone there so I replied, “Just what I said, she must not have had a very good respect teacher. But that just goes to show you that respect isn’t learned it’s earned, and you gotta give it before you can get it.” She looked at me and bowed up for a minute as if to make me bow down. Now mind you I am just shy of 6 ft without shoes and I have more wires, plates, screws, and metal in me to build a bridge. I also had absolutely no intentions of getting into a physical altercation with someone 20 years younger than I am and also because at this point in my life don’t think it proves anything other than your stronger at that moment than the other person (notice I said at that moment). But on the other hand I was not about to bow down and make her feel superior. So I stood a little straighter and gave her the look that for whatever reason seems to say it all and neither of us said another word. The cashier greeted me as if nothing was happening and we both told each other to have a good day.
What if No One Ever Said a Word
Now I’m sure most of you would have handled things differently and just let it go, but where do you draw the line before you say something. What if no one ever said a word and she knew no different because that’s the way she was brought up. Will she change her ways? Probably not, but if it makes her take a look at herself and maybe if she talk to someone else about it she'll realize there are other ways.
Was I a perfect parent? No, none of us are and that’s how we learn to be better at it and hopefully try to not make the same mistake our parents did. The one thing I have always tried is not to humiliate my son in public and myself in the process. Don’t think for a minute that when we got home or in the car that we didn’t have words sometimes, but as a child there were a few times that I will never forget when I felt like digging a hole, crawling in never to come out until I was an adult and could let them have it. I don’t think that way now but you get the idea.
I wrote an article awhile ago called Parents Getting Respect vs. Children Giving Respect (if you want to check it out just click on the title) where I talk about an incident that happened to me growing up, and how to sit down with your child with no distractions and have some good one on ones. I think were missing that these days because were so busy working and their so busy growing up that sometimes we miss some of the basics in life, like respect. The article also gives a few tips on how to get your child to give you respect without having to try and fight for it. I learned most of tips working on an adolescent behavior modification and chemical dependency unit.
Aretha Sang it Best
I think Aretha Franklin sang it best with the verse R E S P E C T find out what it means to me. What does respect mean to you and what does it mean to your children? It can’t hurt to ask. You may find out some interesting bits and pieces that make both of your lives a whole lot easier. Sometimes the shortest conversations and simplest questions lead to answers that totally astound us, and then we wonder why it took so long to get there.
Have an incredible day and give your child a big old hug and tell them you love and respect them as a person and their opinions matters. I don’t care how old they are just do it. If you say it and do it enough you will come to believe it and be shocked at the outcome.