I interviewed Larry Bird, the great basketball player and coach, who sums up the skillsets of success in one word: respect. Respect for time; respect for others; respect for talent; respect for self; respect for property, respect is both given and earned, but the funny thing about it, is when you demand it without at the same time exhibiting those traits, when you fail to garner the respect of others you lose it. So, respect is kind of funny; you either earn it or you don't, and you earn it by practicing it in all you do. You can no more say to someone, "respect me" or "love me" both will not be true love or respect. Both virtues are given freely, but respect is only given to one who deserves it.
Ways to teach your child respect.
- Help them be on time. You must also model respect for others and their time by being on time yourself.
- Help them to use manners. "Please" and "Thank You" at a minimum, but also asking to be excused from the table or excusing oneself from the table. See my post on make it a game for how to teach table manners.
- Teach them to address their elders with Ma'am and Sir, unless they are on a first name basis with someone.
- Teach them to respect property, and to treat their toys, clothes and other belongings with respect. You worked hard to earn the money to pay for those things, they need to know that these are gifts, brought about by hard work. It is for this reason, that I think children should have chores and household responsibilities. An allowance tied to the performance can teach them how hard they have to work to earn a dollar and how far it will go in the real world. They will not learn this unless you teach them early. I started earning things when I was 5, and it taught me a lot.
- Teach them to respect your spouse. My father would not tolerate any sass back, but my mother was a little more of a pushover. My father would not tolerate ever any sassy language or backtalk to my mother, ever. She was sacred in our household. This rule saved them lots of fights because we knew that we could not play them against each other, they were a unified front. I see so many friends who let their children talk back to their spouse, or even to them. Talking back is disrespectful. Allowing your child to do so, teaches them that it is ok to be disrespectful
Remember, the older your child gets, the less influence you have. So, you want to start modeling this behavior and making games to teach these behaviors from a very young age.
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