Living in an Era of Disrespect: Are We Raising Our Kids the Right Way?
Children exhibited far more respect toward teachers a generation or two ago, according to a friend of mine. No one dared to talk back or get out of line, and it only took the threat of calling parents that kept children in order.
She’s older than me, so I can’t confirm whether or not she’s right. But it is easy to pinpoint some reasons why one could easily validate her opinion: A permissive entertainment world, litigious-happy culture, me-first celebrities and athletes, and lenient, hands-off parents are just a few reasons that might mean she’s right. In short, the world today seems filled with a lot more self-centeredness.
Respect is hard to come when we’re conditioned to say and do whatever we want. But it’s up to parents to win back this battle for respect because the battle begins in the home.
Respect for parents
In some ways, I’m okay with our children making certain choices, but letting them have near total control of their lives is reckless and negligent. Allowing them to choose whatever feels right to them in life is irresponsible parenting, and does them an injustice.
We don’t let children eat whatever they want; we guide them in proper nutrition, serving sizes, and the best times to eat meals and certain foods. We don’t let them create rules; we follow them for their safety and that of others. We don’t let them play sports however they want; we instruct them on the basic skills of the game.
It’s your job to set the rules and guide them because just like any good company CEO, it all starts at the top.
Respect for themselves
If children don’t place value on themselves, how can they value anyone else? They’ll be more likely to bully, drink, use drugs, and have sex because there’s virtually no self-esteem. But if you can earn your child’s respect, they’ll respect themselves.
When they respect themselves, they’re going to make proper choices, do less harmful things and generally treat themselves as something they value.
Respect for others
You’re probably noticing the snowball effect by now. In respecting parents and themselves, they’ll in turn respect others around them. That means their peers, teachers, and anyone in authority. The respect will continue throughout life, and when they grow during those trying teenage years, they’ll carry that value into college and eventually into the world of adulthood.
What can parents do?
Parents need to act as the first line of offense and defense. Parents can be their primary role models in everything they do. Children will repeat behavior, so parents can show respect to everyone they meet whether they see it or not.
Parents can also promote a consistent, zero-tolerance policy of disciplining children who exhibit disrespect to anyone. Remember, to discipline is to train to act in accordance with rules, so don’t think that necessarily means punishment.
Those school teachers from generations ago used more strict methods that wouldn’t fly today, and they don’t necessarily fly in parenthood. Being a parent means being a teacher, and creating a culture of respect will bring about more peace and love.