Monday, 14 January 2013

A little r-e-s-p-e-c-t

"They have no respect for me."  Have you said that?  I received a great book a couple of years ago called "Have a New Kid by Friday".  It was when I was at a loss with how to handle Munch's stubbornness.  I called Focus on the Family for some counsel. (You can do that, you know, they are fabulous).  The counsellor sent me 2 books for free, this one and The Strong-willed Child (also very good).  I remember looking up the word "respect" in the back of the book thinking, " Yes, finally, the answer to why my child shows such little respect towards me and the adults in his life" ah....huh?
I read:
"This is a fundamental issue for all families..." -yep, that's right.
"...After all, if a young man doesn't learn to respect his mother, who is he going to bring home someday?..." - For sure! Teach it, Dr. Leman! 
"...A parent's outlook on life is transmitted to the child..." - Wait, what does this have to do with me? 
"...Respect is a two-way street. If your child isn't respecting you, take a look at yourself first to see if you're the problem..." -Me? The problem?
"...Most of the time, respect issues stem from the Attitudes, Behavior, and Character of both parents..."
-Just who do you think you are Dr. Leman?  
"...Please hear me out, for your family's sake. You are the key to your child's behaviour. In order to move your child to respecting you, you have to be willing to make changes in the respect area yourself.  Are you, through your words and Behavior, respecting your child? If not, why should they have respect for you?" - Gulp. 

I could just copy the whole chapter for you, it's so rich but maybe you should just go get the book.  Can I just say, how shocked and convicted I was?  I don't think I am a mean mom but I know I could work on the area of showing respect to my children.  My tone with them can often be annoyed or sarcastic.  They can tell when I am not really listening but say that I am with my "oh, uh huuuh."   I am sure they have heard me complaining about the incompetent server at the coffee shop or bravely lipping off the driver who cut me off in the safety of my sealed vehicle?  I started paying attention to how I was respecting those around me and was flabbergasted! "They did learn that from me!!"   I have used a tone with my kids that my parents would have sent me to my room for. Who did I think I was thinking I could get away talking like that to a child? And why was I surprised that I had sarcastic little punks? You know the, "I'm comiiiing!!!" Whe-where did you learn to talk like that young man? 
Now that Munch is 4, he calls me on my tone. The other day, he asked me for help and because I was doing something on my own, hardly important, I huffed and said, "Fine, what do you want?"  "Mommy, I am sorry if I am frustrating you." The Holy Spirit gently corrected me and I just had to apologize.  "No buddy, I am sorry.  It is okay and expected for you to ask your mommy for help.  Me being frustrated is my problem, not yours. You don't have to say sorry for asking for help."  He was so gracious in that moment. He forgave me and we moved on.    I am learning and growing. 
Tomorrow, I will chat a bit about respect in my marriage as I had another huge "ah hah!" with that one too.  
Here are some of the great resources mentioned in this post.
Have a New Kid by Friday -Dr. Kevin Leman
The Strong-willed Child- Dr. James Dobson  Focus Helps offers counselling in an area of your life and can refer you to a trustworthy counsellor in your area for further help.

Also, for some practical ways to teach your children values, check out :

All the best, Angela

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