Teaching Children Respect
It is always with astonishment that I see parents bully and belittle their children and then complain that those same children are hateful or disrespectful!
Honestly, how loving and respectful can a child feel about someone who constantly criticizes and frightens them? What must it be like for a little kid to be yelled at constantly? I wonder how it must feel to have Mom or Dad, the most important people in your life, always demanding that you DO something, eat right now – or else! Go to sleep this instant! Can you imagine always being threatened and being told to shut up! Sit down! Go away! Wow! It is an echo of our own childhood that is behind this crazy parenting behavior. We feel justified because it feels so normal and familiar. In reality there is no justification for such abuse towards the smallest and weakest among us. We should not condone this treatment of children and we should challenge ourselves to become better more enlightened parents.
The attitude of “spare the rod and spoil the child” is rampant in our society. Many parents that would never physically strike their child may still use the “rod” of words. Words can sting much more than a spanking and may never be forgotten. Think of your own childhood, and chances are that you still have a few hurtful sentences running around in your head! I know I do.
Children are born sensitive beings. From the moment they are conscious they are watching us. Learning from every example, every word spoken, every attitude that we project. The idea that children should “Do as I say, not as I do” is ridiculous! It might make a struggling parent feel better to say that, but it’s just not the way it is. Children learn what they see. They model the behavior that is in front of them. Parents are the most important and influential role models for their children. Hands down. I suspect that the saying “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is more from modeling than genetics! I certainly hear my Mothers words randomly coming out of my mouth!
Being a parent is a very challenging journey. It never ends, and children will always reflect back the dysfunction within a family. Perhaps the greatest challenge is not just the daily work of raising kids, the feeding, clothing, watching their every move, but rather in the personal growth that is demanded of a parent. My own on going journey through Motherhood has brought me to my knees more than once, and forced me to examine and challenge my own attitudes about everything. It has pushed me to mature and grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined possible, and at the end of the day has brought meaning, joy and connection to my life that has made it all worthwhile. More than worthwhile…Priceless!
Teaching Children Respect