A Matter of Respect

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I’m never one who wants to beat a dead horse, but I must continue on my child rearing observations and tidbits.  The other morning I was at a friend’s house and there was crazy screaming and yelling coming from somewhere outside. After determining it was coming from her next-door neighbor I, like Mrs. Cravats, went out into the yard, pruning shearers in hand, and pretended I was clipping, trying to hear if it was some sort of domestic violence situation that I would I need to call the police about. It turned out to be a teenage daughter yelling and screaming at her mother, crying and slamming doors. The mother sounded fairly calm and it started to sound like this was a common occurrence.  Since my girlfriend was out of town I couldn’t get any background on the situation. 

As I was headed to my car her other neighbor (who I know fairly well) told me that it was what it was and that it goes on all the time and they are totally out of control. She said, “You know how teenage girls are. Is your daughter like that”?  “ABSOLUTLY NOT,” I said.  First I told her I was lucky that my daughter was born sweet and never had an issue with us. BUT it never would have been that way because I would never have let it escalate to that. I really believe, and I have seen it so many times, that if you don’t get control early, it will only get worse.

Remember my respect issues?  I am so serious, if you let your kids sass you and yell at you and treat you with no respect it will only get uglier and uglier. I never allowed my kids to say, “I hate you” or be out and out nasty to each other. I tried to foster a harmonious life and home. My friend’s neighbor proceeded to tell me that her kids fight like cats and dogs and she doesn’t know what to do. I’m no Brazelton, but I could tell her what I did. I put them in time out in separate rooms and told them when they could be nice to each other and part of the family they could come out (any yelling they could stay longer). It could be an hour…whatever it took for them to want to come back. I told them a family is like a wagon…if one wheel is flat and broken the whole cart can’t move forward. We would have to work together.

I know it’s difficult but kids don’t like the scary free fall of no limits or boundaries. They will respect you more when you stand up and don’t tolerate all the BS behavior. With that being said, it is a two way street. I have always tried to not to be judgmental with them, listen to what they have to say and respect the way they are feeling. In turn it has made them comfortable coming to talk to me about anything. I have earned their love and respect. If children feel like they cannot confide in their parents, for fear of getting yelled at or punished, it will only strain the relationship and result in more discord in the family. The really cool thing is as they get older, there can be more of a friendship relationship (which is what has happened with my kids). Of course there are still some parenting moments, mostly with advice and just being there for them, but we can really enjoy time together. We like each other and are all very close. The work you put in pays off multiple times over!  Do it now and you will reap the rewards later!