Respect

Here is a great piece on RESPECT from www.Parenting.Org

People of character are respectful.  Respect between a child and a parent is a two-way street.  While a central goal of parenting is to teach children to respect their parents, parents should always treat their children with the same respect they themselves demand.

Disrespectful behaviors, like yelling, demeaning and manipulating, damage the parent-child relationship.  Conversely, respecting people’s thoughts and feelings builds strong relationships.

There are seven basic rules of respect:

  1. Honor the individual worth and dignity of others. Every human being has value. People are not things to be used or manipulated for personal gain. To mistreat another human being is to damage our own self-worth.  However, respect must be earned. Self-respect is equally important; parents need to teach children to earn respect, demand respect and avoid self-destructive behavior.
  2. Treat others with courtesy. Basic politeness promotes positive human relationships. Teens need to know that civility will improve their chances of getting what they ultimately want.  Parents should set a good example to ensure that good manners are passed on to the next generation.
  3. Honor reasonable social standards and customs. It is respectful to honor the beliefs, traditions and customs of others.
  4. Live by the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. When communicating with each others, parents and teens need to avoid signs of disrespect like yelling, using a nasty tone of voice and demonstrating defensive body language. Listening is vital.  Both parents and teens need to be free to share their thoughts and feelings and feel like they’re being heard. To disagree is acceptable; to demean is not. Privacy is important to teens.  Parents need to teach teens to determine whether they’re respecting others’ boundaries by asking a simple question: Am I intruding?  Parents should respect their teen’s privacy, but they do have the authority to check their child’s cell phone, computer or room if they think their teen is in danger or is involved in immoral, illegal or dangerous activities.
  5. Accept differences and judge on character and ability. Our children need to learn to value and honor all people, accepting and tolerating people’s different choices just as they would wish that others accept their own choices.
  6. Respect the autonomy of others. A respectful parent offers opportunities for his or her child to have a meaningful say in decisions that affect the child.
  7. Avoid actual and threatened violence. Parents should teach teens to resolve disagreements and manage anger without physical or verbal violence. Physical force and threats are not a respectful way to get what you want. This holds true for both parents and children alike.  Conversation and negotiation are respectful ways to resolve conflict. Though respect-as-fear is prevalent in society, true respect has nothing to do with fear.

So how does a parent enforce these basic tenets of respect?  By praising teens when they demonstrate respect. When a teen acts disrespectfully, parents must immediately point out their teen’s mistake and explain why his behavior is disrespectful. Parents must also model respect. How we act as parents carries as much, if not more, weight than what we say. Listen without criticizing and give your teen your full attention.   Never gloat when you’re right and never make fun of your child. Model civility and the use of positive language. Respect your teens’ privacy and possessions and let them have an active part in decisions that affect them.

When teens feel they are being treated with respect, parents can ask for respect for themselves and others with more authority.