Yes, it’s one of the commandments. We likely heard it all the time growing up: Respect your parents.
Respect can be a fickle thing though, can’t it? Some experts say that if we respect our kids, they will respect us. I agree we should respect our kids. But as parents, we are also supposed to teach our kids to respect us.
No parent has it all together. No parent is perfect. But most parents try. Most parents put it all on the line as much as they possibly can, with all their defects, vices, and inner struggles.
And this quarantine, I learned I was not teaching this very important lesson to my own kids.
As a stay-at-home mom, I have often felt that I had to do it all. Like, if I don’t prepare every meal, snack, craft, or cater to every good need my kids had, I was being lazy. But then I noticed they had no respect for my space.
Usually, they would go to school, and that would be mom time. They are older, so technically, they should be able to make their own snacks and lunches. But when everything shut down, I suddenly had to hide even just to talk on the phone with friends, or simply be with my thoughts.
I remember growing up, I had an uncle that bossed around his mom all the time. He was in his 30’s, and the mom would just give in to every guilt trip he gave her. My mom would tell us it was because that mother had never set boundaries for that son.
It never sunk in until now.
To respect that their parents are human beings with needs, wants, and lives of their own, teaches our kids compassion for other people. It teaches them it is, in fact, not ALL about them.
And this is a valuable lesson, especially when they have to cooperate with others, and yes, listen to differing opinions.
This is also the foundational principle to any long term relationship, and the reason, in my opinion, for the cancel culture of today: lack of respect for the feelings – humanity – in the other person.
Respect doesn’t mean you agree. Respect means you are considerate and attentive to the fact that not everyone is like you, and has their own life to live.
So now, I have set boundaries. There is mommy time, and there is the “knock on door when it’s shut, only if you really have to” rule. This has really helped make a stressful situation so much better because, as a human, I feel motivated to be a good mom when I feel respected. I look forward to the things I do out of love instead of guilt from demanding littles.
How do you teach your kids to respect their parents?