How do you teach respect? Will your child’s strong will conquer you before you conquer it?
As a parent, you have probably thought about these questions and experienced the confusion of trying to figure out the best way to raise your children
According to psychologist and author Dr. Kevin Leman, we have arrived at a place in our society where the family focuses solely on the child. He says American parents have become permissive and democratic, and children have become sassy and entitled.
Today, many popular dramas portray children in adult roles with little respect for parents. The shows depict parents as ignorant, out of touch with the culture and not smart enough to raise a child. Innocent as it may appear, this role reversal seems to encourage teens to be disrespectful to their parents, discounting their authority and their understanding about life issues.
If a child wants to do something and their parents say no, they sneak and do it anyway. Instead of earning money to buy new shoes, many teens believe parents should foot the bill. In fact, many young people think the idea of doing chores around the house without getting paid is unfair and beyond the call of duty.
Leman believes that allowing young people to operate in this manner is counterproductive.
“There are certain realities by which children are going to have to live their adult lives,” says Leman. “The sooner we start teaching what I refer to as the rules of the game, the better.” These are:
You’re never going to be the center of everyone’s attention all the time. This means that children should not be the center of attention in their families. Parents should be the center of attention.
Everyone must obey a higher authority no matter how old they are. Therefore, parents should expect children to obey, not hope that they will obey.
Everyone needs to be a contributing member of society. Too many children constantly take from their families without ever giving back. Leman suggests parents ask themselves if their children ever perform routine chores around the home for which they do not get paid. The only acceptable answer is yes.
Everyone is responsible for his or her own behavior. A child who does something wrong ought to feel bad about it and be held accountable for his behavior. Too often parents feel bad when a child does something wrong. Why should a child accept responsibility for his behavior if someone else takes responsibility for him?
You can’t always get what you want and what you do get, you get by working and waiting. Children should receive the things they need and a conservative amount of the things they want. More children need to hear the word "no!"
You experience happiness, which is the elixir of success, in direct proportion to how sensitive to and considerate you are of others. Self-centeredness and unhappiness go hand in hand.
Finally, Leman admits that teaching your children these rules won’t create “perfect kids.” We all make mistakes and sometimes children have to learn these lessons the hard way, but by making them aware of the real world, children will have a better chance at becoming happy, well-adjusted young adults.