Parents can hurt their children unlike any other type of humankind on the planet can. Parents of adult children often don’t realize that their offspring never outgrow the need for respect from their parents. And vice versa. But the onus is on parents to be mindful of this truth in the first place.
I know I mess up with my kids and give them lots of reasons to feel less than respected at times. I hate when I do that!
So this post is written as a reminder to ME of how I should treat my still-at-home children as well as my grown-up children if I want to maintain a healthy and vibrant relationship with them.
1. Giving my full attention (by putting down hand-held devices such as smart phones, looking away from the blog post I’m typing and making eye contact, removing ear buds and turning off loud, rockin’ country music, opening eyes when I’m almost asleep…finally…after a long day, and etc.).
2. Did I mention making eye contact without ear buds in?
3. Respect means not interrupting unless it’s with interjections such as Wow! That’s Awesome! Woo-hoo!
Avoid interrupting by using interjections such as Hush! Wait a minute! Dude! Can’t you see I’m busy?
4. Respect means speaking to my kids like I’d speak to an adult. Three-year-old kids don’t need a sing-songy voice, and neither do teens. Neither does my 80-year-old Dad.
5. Respect means saying please and thank you even for stuff that is “expected” such as chores.
6. Respect means not deliberately embarrassing my kids in front of others, including siblings. In this day and age, it means asking permission before posting something concerning them on Instagram or Facebook. Or even in a blog post.
I would never deliberately embarrass my kids in front of anyone, just fyi. The thought makes me cringe, actually.
7. Respect means apologizing when I need to….like when I forget to ask permission before posting something concerning them on Instagram or Facebook. Or even in a blog post. Asking forgiveness, too, is essential.
8. Respect means knocking on a door before entering their rooms. (It also means not hiding behind the door to scare the life outta your poor mom. Just sayin’.)
9. Respect means not asking my kiddos to do something I’m not willing to do.
The exception would be asking my skinny little daughter to reach something that fell under my bed…like an earring that I shall never see again unless she slithers under there and kindly retrieves it for me. Heh heh.
10. Respect means communicating, not commanding.
The exception to this rule lies in safety-related issues. Sometimes there isn’t time to communicate why not to run out into the open field during a thunderstorm in order to retrieve a kite that’s stuck in a tree.
Fortunately, Benjamin Franklin’s mom failed at this particular safety command, and we now how electricity with which to power all these things we need to put aside when our dear children are communicating with us. So yeah, there are always exceptions to exceptions.
11. Allowing my kids to have their own opinions without telling them why they are freakishly wrong is another way I can show respect.
This is especially relevant when you have adult children. Not that my adult children have opinions that I think are freakishly wrong….well…there is that one particular offspring….! JUST kidding.
12. Listen well. Listening is always respectful. So is nodding and otherwise acting interested. “Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh…” gets awfully annoying after a very short while.
Okay. I see you have a call coming in, so I’ll bow out now. Respectfully.
About the Author
Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of URtheMOM.com, and an author and columnist. Her best-selling book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.