Teach Respect

I have always liked that bumper sticker that says Teach Peace. Look!!! Here it is.

teach peace 2

Whenever I see it on a car, I feel a kinship with the driver.  The fact that the sticker might be left over from three owners before and this driver is actually not particularly Man of the Year doesn’t keep me from feeling a little extra love juice in that direction.  Nothing wrong with that, right?  Both of us can probably use it.

Teach Respect is better as a mantra than a bumper sticker.  If our kids have knowledge gaps, then we have to teach them things we think they should already know–like respect.

I am forever shocked at how little our tiny attachment challenged professors actually know about the subtleties of life.  They have to be taught.  Respect is no different.

Believe it or not, parents have often been the teachers of disrespect to their children in two ways:

  1. We respond to disrespect with disrespect. Because we are the adults, we don’t always go back, apologize, and redo our disrespectful words with the one’s we wish we had used.  We just feel justified and move on.
  2. We respond with compliance. When Sam says, “I don’t want this for dinner. I hate f…ing pork chops,” many of us will tell him to “Shut your f….ing pie hole and sit the f… down!” Certainly none of my readers. Others of us will simply get him something else to eat to spare the family the shenanigans.
Neither of these methods teach respect.  Actually, they teach the opposite.  Try these on for size:
1. Be respectful, even when your child isn’t. Save all your angry, disrespectful words for your mental bubbles or therapist (who will definitely understand.)
2. Gently require respect before your child gets the thing s/he wants.  For example:  Whoa Sam, not sure you realize that saying that the way you did about the pork chops is a sure fire way of making me deaf. That hurts my sensitive ears. Go ahead and try again.  If Sam gives you more disrespect, tell him you love him and go back to dealing with dinner–mental bubble: pork chops it is .  If he gives you respect, you can decide to stick with pork chops because that is all there is and let him choose dinner for another day or maybe give him the choice of something leftover.  It’s never a good idea to allow him something special while everyone else gets what is on the menu.
Of course, there are a zillion ways to respond.  Those are just a few.  I have heard plenty of people react to my suggestions with, You have got to be kidding; my kid would explode all over the place if I tried to correct him.  If you don’t correct him now and withstand the tantrums for a good 21 days, YOU will live with this tyrant for an entire childhood.
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Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

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I fixed the link to the parent training if you have been trying to sign-up and couldn’t get through.  Sorry about that; my techno wizardry only goes so far–about a foot.
NOTE:  Space is limited this time around. The nextREVISED Trust-based Parent Training Course in Sacramento, CA is scheduled for January 24th and January 31st. Registerhere.  If you have been through this course in the past, you will be getting significantly more hands on experience than ever before.
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