Kids & Respect

Have you ever heard the story of Bear Bryant who led Crimson Tide and Woody Hayes who was the successful head coach of Ohio State? Many years ago they were the speakers at the same clinic. One high school student raised his hand to ask the question. “What is the highest priority for recruiting young men to come play at your university?” Both men agreed on the answer. One of them responded with, “What I want to know is how does that young man feel about his mama and daddy, then he will respect others and will become an effective part of a winning team.” Yes, parents, respect supersedes talent and ability.  

Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. (1 Peter 2:17 NLT)

Take some time to look around at children and teens…it’s so refreshing to see those that are respectful to other kids, their parents and other adults. Trust must be earned, but respect should not be an option when it comes to children and their parents.  Some positions alone deserves respect. For example, we may not agree or like a politician’s views or leadership qualities, but if they hold an office we should respect the office that person holds. This does not mean we respect everything they are or everything they do, but we should respect their position of authority. The same goes with children and parents. Dad may be a drunk, Mom may scream more than hug, but we as parents can help our children learn how to respect the position and show respect to their dad & mom.

Respect:  (nounDue regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.

Stop for a few moments and analyze your children to note if you or others would call them respectful. Here are some things to look for when judging respect:

  • Do they interrupt you while you are talking on the phone or in person?
  • Do they talk back when spoken to?
  • Do they scream at their siblings?
  • Do they hit you or anyone else out of anger or frustration?
  • Do they answer when spoken to or do they ignore an adult speaking to them?
  • Do they listen when being spoke to or do they continue playing a game or texting?
  • Do they use manners & obey house rules?
  • Do they roll their eyes when given instructions?
  • Do they pitch a fit when they don’t get their way?
  • Do they say no with an attitude?
  • Do they take things that do not belong to them without asking first?
  • Dad – do you allow your child to talk back to their mother?  (Proverbs 31:31)
  • Does their teacher have to constantly correct them during class?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then maybe you will want to look at some ways to create respect in their actions and attitudes. You see, a child that grows up without respect for others can cause problems for them in school and affect their learning. They may have a hard time keeping friends and then eventually can struggle being a good spouse. If they never learn respect, then they will likely pass disrespect on to their kids and on and on it goes…

Do you live a respectable life?

Parents should act respectful so their children would never have a reason not to respect them. Do you have any idea how hard it would be to respect a parent that lies, cheats, or mistreats a child? Some of you may have had to work extra hard to respect your parent when you were growing up. If this is so, then let’s make it easier on our kids and live respectable lives. Let’s teach them the rewards for being respectful.

Now some questions for parents to see if you feel you merit respect from your kids:

  • Do you do the opposite of what you tell them they must do? For example, do you watch inappropriate things, but don’t allow them to?
  • Do you get on them for screaming at each other and yet they hear you and your spouse scream while arguing?
  • Do you not follow the established family manners and house rules while expecting the kids to adhere to them? (A Well-Mannered Child? Yes, Please.)
  • Do you ignore what is preached over the pulpit by the Man of God?
  • Do they hear you gossiping about others, but you punish them if they talk bad about others?
  • Do you show utmost respect to your spouse and/or their other parent?

There will come times in parenting that our children see or hear us say or do something that was disrespectful to someone. Of course this isn’t good, but no parent is perfect. One of the best ways to teach respect is to live it. If you break a house rule or you lose your patience and discipline in anger…if you break a promise or show disrespect to your spouse in front of your kids, then it’s wise to apologize to them. This doesn’t lower their image of you, but they will actually respect you even more. A respectable parent is not too high and mighty that we can’t lower our pride and admit when we do wrong. This is one of the best ways to teach children respect. Don’t just do as I say, but do as I do.

Don Shula was on open mic at a game. Millions were shocked when he used explicit profanity. Letters rolled in from all over the country, voicing disappointment from a coach they all respected for his integrity. Shula could have given excuses, but he didn’t. Everyone who wrote him received a personal apology and he closed the letter by saying, “I value your respect and will do my best to earn it again.” There are two ways to gain respect. One is to act nobly. The other is when you fail to do so, make no excuses.” (Everyone’s a Coach by Ken Blanchard)

Let’s analyze ourselves and see if there are some ways we can improve our actions in front of our children. As a mom, it’s so important to teach our children to respect their dad.  This doesn’t mean dad does everything right. This means that as the man of the house, he is shown respect. And the same goes for Dad teaching the kids to respect Mom. This means that we don’t degrade the other parent to our kids. We don’t pull up their past mistakes and and share their issues with our kids. We don’t allow ourselves to get angry and call the other parent names. This fits when the parents are married, but also in situations of divorce or when parents no longer are together. We need to show and teach our children to respect those that have authority in their lives. Are you a single parent?  I recommend finding another adult that your child connects well with that can be a support to you and help them with this important principle of respect.

When our children were young, my husband taught them to be respectful to me and I did the same towards him.  We taught them to respect those in authority. This made them loved by many. The parents of our kids’ friends loved having them over to play. They looked forward to our kids being around their kids. Now even while they are grown adults, they still choose to respect us and others. What joy respect brings to parents!

There will probably be numerous times when our kids don’t like us as parents, but they must still show respect. We don’t have to like porcupines, but we sure do respect them. And no, I’m not referring to you as a porcupine! 🙂 

Consistency is the key.

If we teach our children one thing today and then let correction slide tomorrow because of this and this, it’s confusing to a child.  Respect must be taught and continuously enforced in order to get deeply rooted in the lives of children.

If you feel your kids lack respect, today is a great day to begin teaching it. It is so much easier to begin with a 2 year old than with a 14 year old.  It isn’t impossible when they are older, but it takes more work on your part. Whatever age they are, you can can begin today in teaching respect to help create a masterpiece. God blesses those that respect their parents, so we are doing our children a huge favor by instilling respect into their hearts.

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12 NLT)

To Do:  Take the time to answer all of the questions in this lesson so you are aware of anything you may need to change within yourself or your children. We must first know what is wrong before we can begin the journey of correcting it.  If need be, sit down with your children and let them know that you are striving to make better choices. Talk to them about some ways you can all be more respectful. Make a positive conversation and end it with prayer for God to help everyone strive to be more respectful where needed.

Suggested Family Time:  Enjoy this beautiful fall season with the family.  How about going to a fall festival or a berry farm? Your family can go apple picking, have a marshmallow roast or go on a walk and search for beautiful autumn leaves. Use your imagination and enjoy the season as a family. And oh, yes, take lots of pictures to savor in years to come!



Time to Smile:  My sister was busy getting ready to host our entire family for Easter. On her to-do list was a hair appointment for her son. “So Jordan,” said the stylist as the little boy got up in the chair, “who’s coming to your house this weekend with big ears and floppy feet?” Jordan  replied, “I think it’s my Uncle Brian.”

Recommended Reading: The Ancient Paths by Craig S. Hill

Previous Recap:  A Well Mannered Child?  Yes, Please. Having a well-mannered child and house rules that are enforced takes so much stress out of parenting.  If we just try to “wing it” by learning as we go, it takes a lot of fun and joy out of our home. It’s unfair to expect a child to make their own perimeters.  They just aren’t equipped for that and it brings chaos to their lives. Enjoy your well-mannered children and watch their lives calm down with enforced house rules.

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