Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How can I get my child to respect me and what I say?


Do you believe that children today have respect?  If you are like most adults today your answer would be NO.  Respect shows itself in many ways.  Eye contact, gentle physical touch, and responsiveness to requests are a few of them.  Sometimes it is easier to define a word by what it is not.  I know someone is disrespecting me when they interrupt me, don’t fully listen to my thoughts and ignore or laugh at my needs. 

Knowing these as the characteristics of respect, would you say that in general children are shown respect by adults?  I know my answer to that question is NO as well. 

I say week after week in this blog that children learn habits and skills by witnessing someone that models the behavior for them.  The same is true of respect.  If you want your child to understand and begin to show it others, including yourself, they must be consistently exposed to it. 

Showing your children respect does not mean that you let them do anything they want.  It doesn’t mean that you treat them exactly like you treat your friends.  But it does mean that when disciplining and dealing with the many mistakes and misunderstandings your children make in any given day, you talk to them in a way that shows you love and care.  You listen to their thoughts.  No matter how ridiculous those thoughts might seem to you, to your children they are important.  You tenderly look them in the eye when you are upset.  No matter how frustrated you are, you use gentle physical contact with them.  You do not interrupt your child unless he or she could be physically harmed.  You never intentionally ignore or callously laugh at a need they are expressing to you. 

In short, talk to and treat your children the way you hope someone with more experience and knowledge would treat you. If you consistently show your child this kind of respect they will begin to model that same respect back to you and to others at any age.

15 comments:

maria beukes said...

I have four children ages 8,5,3 and 8 months my oldest son whos 8 is pretty respectful but my daughter 5 and son 3 i feel like they couldnt give a rats about what there behaviour is doing to me i have broken down twice into tears my daughter constantly ignores my requests and her attitude towards me often leaves me speechless shes aggressive towards her siblings when she doesnt get her way im lost with her it doesnt seem to matter to her how this is affecting us .HELP!!!!

Marcia Hall said...

Maria, I understand your pain. I have had my fair share of breakdowns with my 3 almost 4 year old. I would love to talk with you further. I offer a free 30 minute consultation. Please check out my website at strongrootsfamilycoaching.com.
You are not alone and there are things you can do to help yourself and your children. Call me.

Anonymous said...

I fell u on that my kids are great kids around other people but when it comes to me they just don't care

Anonymous said...

I have two kids, 10 & 8, and they are also very well behaved around others but show me no respect when at home with only me. Their father and I got divorced just over a year ago, and I feel as if they are just taking me for a ride because I am not as strict as he is. I honestly am at my whit's end.. Just cannot deal with the attitude they seem to have with me. I can see that they are basically treating me the way their dad does, although it seems to be getting a bit better with him, I try so hard to be kind and nice to them and they just don't listen or care... What can I do to change this??

Marcia Hall said...

So sorry to hear about the issues with your kids. Divorce is an incredibly complicated and frustrating process to go through for you and your children. I would not guarantee that they do not push buttons for your ex-husband, they very likely might but in different ways. Understand that your kids are confused and trying to navigate this uncertain experience just as much as you are.
Your first step needs to be to set up some lovingly but strong rules about how people in the house can be talked to. Let them know that you will do your best to speak to them in respectful ways and in return you expect the same from them.
You then need to follow through on your part of the bargain and work to ALWAYS speak lovingly to them. When (because you will) you break this, apologies to them for it. When (because they will) they speak disrespectfully to you be sure to let them know that you understand they are frustrated but that you will not let them talk to you like that.
Be sure that you are praising your children when they do speak kindly to you. There may be many moments in a day that your children use kind words but they are quickly overlooked. It is the frustrating moments that we tend to remember.
Lastly, be sure that you are striving to connect one-on-one with them during this difficult time for all of you. Too often parents attention get diverted elsewhere especially during a divorce. Try very hard that everyday you are with them to make sure you spend at least 15 min with each of them individually doing something they like. Might be talking or maybe it is playing their favorite video game. They need that individual time with you more now than ever before.
Good luck and hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have two 14 yo daughters, I have not seen them in 17 months, and I have just recently been able to start sending them letters and emails, first I got an email in reply that was just addressed as "Hi" and not signed, and now I have had 3 emails addressed to me using my first name, I my first two responses I asked them politely not to call me by my first name but in the 3 rd email today they are persisting with this, it hurts me that they are calling me by my first name, and I'm just not sure what to do about it, can you help or suggest what I should do?

Marcia Hall said...

Because I am unaware of the history you have with your daughters, it is difficult to give much advise. I would only say that children may take a while to trust. Give it time and consistency. Let your girls call you by your first name if that is what makes them comfortable and remover that with consistent care and communication this might change. If it does not try to be happy that they are at least working to communicate with you. The more upset younger with teens about details like this the more they are going to try and do things to drive you nuts. They are teens after all and pushing limits are what they do best. Good luck and if you want to take advantage of my free 30 min phone consultation. marcia@strongrootsfamilycoaching.com

Crys said...

I have 2 boys 9 and 7. For the most part they are really good kids they just don't listen. They have to be told numerous times not to do something or to do something. Their father and I are divorced and have been for 5 years. They are usually with him because I am in the military. Luckily we have a good relationship and talk about different issues we have with them. We both have this problem with them not listening and its not just with us but with others as well. My 9 y/o is starting to get to the point of having an attitude and playing the victim when he doesn't get his way with something. I think some of it may be wanting attention and maybe not having me around enough. How or what can we do to let him know we care but yet mean business without him being manipulative and taking discipline as us not loving him?

Marcia Hall said...

Crys
Thanks for your comment. I would recommend you read my post "Why do I have to ask my child 3x to stop doing something" http://yourparentingquestions.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-do-i-have-to-ask-my-child-3-times.html
and "Why do I always yell at my child?" http://yourparentingquestions.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-do-i-always-end-up-yelling-at-my.html
They both address issues I think you may be facing.
Divorce is difficult for children even when the parents are getting along. It involves change and that is never easy for a child. In addition the the advice in the posts listed above, I would recommend that both you and your ex focus on some individual time with both your children. The attitude your child has may come from some insecurity he has about his life right now. You would be amazed at how engaging in the activities your child wants to do can help him feel more secure. Which WILL lead to fewer moments of where he refuses to listen.
I hope it gets better soon.

Anonymous said...

I have 4 boys that dnt respect me and when i correct them my husband yells at me so.then they laugh and keep being mean to me please help

Anonymous said...

I have a 4 and almost 2 year old. my 4 year old is a bully to her younger sister and has started leaving scratches and bite marks on her back. I've told my oldest daughter that its not ok and i i ask her how she would like it if it was done to her. She even tells me she hates me and don't love me. my youngest daughter is picking up her habits. they both act like spoiled kids but they're far from spoiled. I've tried everything from time out to corners, spanking, and even taking things away. it seems the more i show them respect and discipline the worse things get. im thinking about putting my 4 year old in counseling because i just don't know what im doing wrong for her to act so rudely and mean. she has even started hitting me and her grandmother. idk if she needs medication or what.

Marcia Hall said...

One of the most strange phenomenons that happens with children when they begin getting what they really need and crave, is that they tend to test you a little more. So if you begin showing your child just a little more respect she may begin to act out more just to find out if you are really going to continue to show her respect.

The ONLY way to help your child be kind to her younger sibling is to consistently and lovingingly show her what it means to care for someone smaller. You have to model the behaviors first. It will take time for her to begin to exhibit these behaviors but it with patience it will happen.

When your child tells you that she does not love you or her siblings this is again another way of testing your love for her. Be careful to not over-react to this type of comment, it will only work to show her that when she is really upset, she can tell you that and get a reaction. Let her know that it is fine if she does not feel love for you at that moment, but that you will always love her, even when you are angry with her.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice. I'll keep trying and talk to her more. i think she's jealous because she's the oldest and is testing things more.

Anonymous said...

I need help. I have three children, one from a previous marriage and two with my husband. My oldest is now 12 and for the past 4 years my husband has knowingly been against her in every way from picking on her, ignoring her a lot, yelling at her, calling her names, being angry constantly and harsh with discipline. I didn't know how to be a mom anymore, there was so much control that I just stepped back and allowed him to because I was also trying to honor him in some way as a wife. I would cry out to God to help. It went on for a long time. I asked him to step back because I just had enough as she confessed to me and a counselor that she had suicidal thoughts. He stepped back. I found resources that stated the role of the step parent so that I could explain to him that what was happening was very harmful for her. Now it's been about 2 months that things have changed and he "says" he is toward her and I see that in many ways he just leaves her alone and doesn't pick on her very much at all. However, she went from obeying his every command with resentment to now she just goes against him from the minute she wakes up. Now that he has let go of control, when he asks her to do something she just says "No, what are you going to do about it.." and for example this morning she was almost late for the bus and he called her into the house to tell her that she needs to be on time and she said, "No, I have to go, bye" and slammed the door, saying bye to no one...It breaks my heart, I feel helpless. I asked her if she now has hard feeling against him and she says no and she has forgiven him, but she certainty doesn't show it, she is defiant with me too, jut doesn't care what she looses anymore. My husband (her step-dad) now wants to step back in and start disciplining her again because he says he is for her now and he will do it in love, but I just don't trust it, I feel like I need a lot of help and healing, any advice please would sure be helpful!!

Marcia Hall said...

Dear Anonymous, It sounds like you, your husband and your daughter are really struggling with some things. There are a lot of follow up questions I would ask you regarding your message. I offer a free 30 minute phone consolidation. If you would like to take advantage of that and see how I can help your family, please check out my website at strongrootsfamilycoaching.com.