When your children were young, you were their hero. They wanted to be just like you and watched your every move. Now, as they grow older, you are lucky if they answer your question in a complete sentence without using a snarky tone. Tweens and teens seem to hit a phase where all respect for their parents goes out the window.
August 1 is Respect for Parents Day. This is the perfect starting point to teach your children about respect and bring more of it into your home. Here are several ways you can teach your children how to respect you.
Start with your example
Take a few minutes and look at your own behavior. Are you respectful to those around you? If your children are constantly yelling and using sharp tones, is that because you do as well? If you want your children to be respectful, you must also demonstrate that type of behavior. You must give them respect and then expect it in return. Your children pick up more from you than you may realize. Watch your behavior, your words, your tone and your actions when you are in their presence.
Set realistic expectations
Don't expect your children to be perfect. They will not demonstrate respectful behavior all the time. As tweens and teens, their emotions and hormones are raging and their mood can instantly change. You may encounter some type of disrespectful behavior every day but don't let that get you down.
You must set realistic expectations for your children but still keep those expectations high. Respect is a trait that must be learned and you can't let this life lesson slide by. Discuss with your children your expectations and exactly what you expect from them. When your children know your expectations and how important they are to you, they will often strive to meet those expectations.
Praise respectful behavior
When you notice respectful behavior from your children, praise them. Let them know how much their respectful behavior means to you. And on occasion, reward them for their good behavior. However, don't make this a common occurrence. If you do, they will expect a reward after each set of praises you give them.
As mentioned before, your tweens and teens are experiencing intense hormones and emotions and you never quite know what mood to expect. When they slip up and disrespect you, don't overreact. Let them know that what they did was inappropriate and disrespectful. Use these moments as educational experiences. Tell them how you feel when they behave disrespectfully. Let them know that you are upset when they treat you poorly. When they know how you feel, they may be more likely to correct that behavior.
Set rules and enforce punishments
Sometimes handling your child's disrespectful behavior requires more work than sitting him or her down for a talk or providing a little praise. In these situations, you need to set rules and you need to enforce punishments. When your children disrespect you, don't let it slide by. Immediately provide a punishment and stick to it. You can't be a pushover or cave in. You must fully enforce the punishment or your children will learn that they can continually disrespect you without any consequence.
Respect is something every person deserves, especially parents. Don't let your children show disrespect to you, because it will trickle on and become a terrible characteristic. If you have younger children, teach them while they are young. And when disrespect starts to find its way into your house, quickly put a stop to it.
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