My children don’t like me very much. I know that but it’s alright. They’ll come round when they’re past 18″. These were the words of a mother of three boys who had a firm grip on her children. She said this to another set of parents who were asking for help with parenting their two tween children. ‘We have tried being their buddies but it seems to backfire nine out of ten times’. They were genuinely not sure what to do and asked for the opinion of this firm mother with flushed and embarrassed faces. They said they noticed her children seemed to respect her.
Who do we respect?
Respect connotes admiration or regard for someone because of certain qualities and characteristics they possess.
So you could say you respect someone because he or she is honest, strong, has certain standards, exemplary behaviour and is compassionate. The list is endless.
The job of and responsibility of parenting is yours and not your child. Therefore you cannot parent side by side your child.
Many times parents feel a pang of guilty when they feel their child does not like them and try to do more things to increase their ‘likeability’. In the process they they tone down on being a parent and gradually lose hold over their position, providing room for the child to have some kind of power over them. At this point instructions may not hold much water with that child.
It is important to help a child know the significance of being led by you- the parent early enough. Dr James Dobson says this should be done by ‘balancing unconditional love and consistent firmness in the home’ as your child grows.
Research and current reading suggest that teaching a child to respect you and others is very much linked to how children learn languages. Just like there is a window within which a child can learn many languages with ease and not mix up accents because of something called ‘phoneme contraction’ in their larynx. This only happens during the early years. After the child is grown past this age, it becomes difficult to learn a language. Just ask an adult.
The connection between this and respect is that instilling this value must be done early enough before that window closes and adolescent years begin and there is no foundation of respect and honour for parents and others. The teenage years can be challenging for any parent but teaching your child this value early enough will make the journey of parenting an adolescent/teenager a little bit easier.
So don’t be afraid to be the parent.
Please share your thoughts in the comment box.
Many Blessings always,