We show respect when we listen to our children as thoughtfully as we listen to our boss or friend. We show respect when we take the time to teach our child grown-up skills, such as cooking, cleaning and car repairs – and when you expect him to join in on the family work as well as the family fun.
You also show respect when you knock on your child’s door before you enter and when you ignore any notes that are left around her room. This tells her that she has rights, too, and you know it.
You give your child respect when you offer him choices whenever you can, when you let him waste his time sometimes because it’s his time, not yours; and when you accept his choice in music as you hope he will accept yours.
I think the greatest respect we can give our children is one of the hardest – that is letting go! Being less protective because we know our children have to eventually make their own choices and their own mistakes. It also means being less willing to do for our children what they can do for themselves.
This is how they learn to take care of themselves. If we clean up after our children, we’re telling them that we don’t think they can take care of themselves. If we tell them how to spend their money we’re sending the same message. A child who is respected is a child who is free to grow.