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Building a Foundation of Respect

Many parents get caught up in day to day routines and the never-ending task of teaching their children and lose some important opportunities to model and teach respect.

In their efforts to raise wonderful, well-behaved children many parents focus too much on the correction of problems and inadvertently treat their children in ways that they would never treat a friend. Raising respectful children often means taking a step back and evaluating the underlying message that is coming through your words and actions.


Frustrations and Snide Comments

Raising children is difficult. There are long hours, endless tasks, and very few breaks. This means that everyone in the family gets to see each other at their worst, and we fail to see how this affects our daily interactions.

Picture this…

You’ve just been invited over to a friend’s house for dinner. Your friend is excited to see you and welcomes you inside. You begin to greet her, but your host interrupts you by yelling, “Your shoes are all muddy, and you’re ruining the carpet! What are you thinking?!” You are embarrassed, and a bit hurt, so you quickly remove your shoes and mumble an apology. Now that your shoes are off, it is clear that you have a hole in your mismatched socks. Your host announces, for everyone to hear, “You look like a slob… don’t you think you could have dressed nicer for dinner?” The majority of the dinner conversation is about a different guest who had come over for dinner previously and had wonderful manners and was dressed nicely from head to toe. To top it all off, when you finish your meal and stand up, the host comments, “It sure would be nice if somebody helped clean up.”

I am fairly positive that you would not be going back to that friend’s home for dinner! This careless and impolite method of correcting behavior does not show respect and kindness. These knee-jerk corrections are derogatory, cause embarrassment, and make you feel downright angry; yet, how often do we catch ourselves saying these kind of things to our children?


How to Build a Foundation of Love, Trust and Respect

Building a foundation of respect takes time and effort. Start by simply taking a closer look at your daily interactions with your children. Are you being short, insensitive, or downright mean? Are you remembering to look at the situation from your child’s perspective? Are you remembering not to take your child’s behavior personally? Are you doing more teaching and less correcting?

The secret message that you want to be sending to your child behind every word is, “I love you. I believe in you. I respect you.”

This message is so important in building confidence in children that they will carry it with them well into adulthood.


The Takeaway

Here are four actionable steps that you can take to help build a foundation of respect in your home:

1. Watch your words, and be polite when teaching.

2. See the situation from your child’s viewpoint. Present your lessons in a manner that invites learning.

3. Praise your children daily. Look for reasons, both big and small, to give your children positive feedback, to offset the large amount of teaching you must do.

4. Tell them you love them. Tell them you believe in them. Tell them you respect them. Use both your actions and your words to get this message across loud and clear.


Tips from The No-Cry Discipline Solution


Elizabeth Pantley's picture
No-Cry Solution Series Author

Elizabeth Pantley is a parent educator, mother of four, and the author of the now-classic baby sleep book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, as well as six other books in the series, including The No-Cry Separation Anxiety SolutionThe No-Cry Potty Training SolutionThe No-Cry Discipline Solution, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution, plus other successful parenting books. She is known worldwide as the practical, reasonable voice of respectful parenting.