2 Feb 2015

Training Our Boys :: On Respect

Train up a child in the way he should go;    
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

The topic of respect has been on my mind a lot lately... mostly because it's been a battle this past week. Respect is one of the main things we require from our boys at home. It's one of the things we are constantly talking with them about, correcting them in and disciplining them for. We're definitely learning as we go but here are some of my thoughts... (note: our boys are currently 4, 2 1/2 & 1)

Just now our son told me to "Get out of the way mommy". I was sweeping the floor and apparently in the way of him watching his favourite tv show. I kindly reminded him that he  needed to speak respectfully to mommy, that mommy was working hard to clean the house and that this was not respectful... to try again with "Excuse me mommy, I can't see." He did ask again in a respectful way, I moved and we moved on.

1. Respect is not natural - it must be taught!
A while back i read an amazing article on teaching toddlers manners. It pointed out that it’s good to get them into the habit of saying please and thank you from an early age, even though they won’t completely understand why in the beginning. Children learn through mimicking. It's not until they’re older that they'll actually realize what the words they’re saying actually mean! 

I think it's similar when it comes to teaching respect. It doesn't come naturally to toddlers, or to any of us really. That being said, for us it's really important to have strong boundaries and talk to our boys when then are disrespectful. In our house they are not allowed to:
  • tell mommy and daddy NO
  • yell at mommy or daddy
  • tell us they don't want to eat or that dinner is yucky (they don't have to like it, but they do have to eat it, at least as many bites as they are old!)
  • hit us, kick us or pull our hair  (sadly i've seen kids do all 3, and parents not knowing what to do... laugh or ignore it)
We ask our kids to respect our decisions, even if they don't agree and simply say, "Yes, mommy" or "Ok, daddy" and then we move on. When they receive discipline for disrespect we ask them to say "Sorry mommy for disrespect". We try to always speak respectfully to them. Modelling how they can speak respectfully has also been really helpful.

2. Respect for mommy & daddy extends outside the home.
We've noticed that it's a lot easier to get our kids to show respect in public when it's a daily expectation in our home. Fits or temper tantrums aren't allowed at home, so they're not as common in public (yup, they do happen from time to time). But when the boys get upset about not getting their own way and this displays itself in disrespect we address it.

They know our expectation of respecting mommy and daddy also applies to other adults and their teachers. I was asking our oldest in the car the other day who he needed to respect, and the second thing (after mommy) was his teachers. 

3. Respect for authority has eternal implications.
One of the reasons we're so passionate about teaching our kids to respect authority is the eternal implications that it holds. If our kids can't or won't respect the authority that God has placed in their lives, it will be difficult for them to submit to God's authority in their lives.

James 4:6-7 says, "'God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.' Submit yourselves, then, to God."

Our ultimate hope is that our kids lives and spirits would submit to God, their creator, their maker, the One alone who can redeem their souls, save them from their sins and give their lives eternal impact and meaning.

If you're looking for more books to help you on your parenting journey here is a list of 6 books we've found really helpful! Here's a great resource for teaching on respect to school aged kids!

Blessings and keep on going. It's hard work but worth it!


sarah said...

Krista, Now that I have a little boy - I'm voraciously reading all your past posts! :D Thanks for writing, in that way, you're part of the Body (legs in this case) helping me walk through a very new and totally unknown (to me) path!

Krista said...

ah, thanks Sarah! We're still learning as the boys grow and change, but we're so thankful for the help God's given us along the way :)