Parents, it is time to step up!
Up your game! Yes, you heard me right. It is time to stop making excuses, grab the bull by its horn, and time to show your wards who is in charge and how things should be done!
Okay what am I going on about? Two things actually, R. E.S.P.E.C.T and V.A.L.U.E.S. Two very important aspects of parenting which seem to have been neglected and thrown by the wayside.
Sadly, many children currently have very little knowledge about respect and values. Honestly, I do not blame them. Yes, you read that right! Why blame the children when the adults in their lives fail to teach and model these before them? Children learn more from what they see people do than what they are instructed to do. Children are like sponges, they soak in all that they see people do and emulate. This applies to respect and values.
Let’s chunk things down. Respect – what does it mean, what’s your definition? Can you teach and model respect? Yes, you can! It is best to start with the basics, particularly when children are young. “Please, thank you, I am sorry” are just a few examples. In addition, children and young people should be taught about contentment. This will help them to appreciate and respect decisions that others make that they may perceive as harsh and unfair whereas the decisions are for their benefit.
Take for instance a child or young person that dislikes hearing the word “no”, when he/she asks to go to bed at 11 pm on a weekday and having to wake up early the next day to go to school. This same child dislikes doing his homework and refuses to do it. The parent or caregiver insisting that he/she does the homework is doing so not just because of the benefits associated with homework and learning but to teach the young person to respect the teacher’s decision to allocate homework and the importance of listening and obeying instructions.
Respect and Values – What are you doing to encourage, teach and imbibe these in your children or those in your care? Do you believe it is not your responsibility? If you do, then it is time for you to wake up and smell those fresh coffee beans.
The financial investment you make in any way, form or shape towards your children’s upbringing does not in any way equate to the impact and long term effect of having children that have values and are respectful.
You cannot delegate your parental responsibilities to a third party. It is not the sole duty of your children’s teachers’, pastors, friends, counsellors and childminders’ to teach them the importance of respect and values. Whilst these professionals, in the course of their dealings with your children, will model and instruct them on being courteous, content and thankful, it is equally your duty to do the same. Whilst working in partnership with professionals, as the parent you should take the lead! Charity, as we know, begins from home. Be the captain, the leader with vision, and steer the path for your children to follow. As you do that, it becomes easier for those who come in contact with your children to guide, work and play with them. Don’t leave these things to chance, get a grip on it, the sooner the better!
Start them young is what I always say.
Praying, meditating, sending positive thoughts and love are not the only ways to handle these issues. In doing any of these, you should combine them with practical deeds, featuring teaching and modelling why children should be respectful, what is expected of them when they are in various settings, why rules are made to be obeyed, what your family values are and the reasons for those values. Avoid making excuses for them. Your focus should be on teaching and modelling. You should also correct them when they are wrong as that is another way for them to learn.
Intentional and positive parenting involves wisdom, care, respect and understanding. These values are equally important to inculcate in young people in the course of raising, independent, socially adept, emotionally intelligent, respectful and healthy individuals.
Respect encompasses a variety of issues like the example provided earlier. It is important to build the foundation as it will help to imbibe these core principles within children’s minds. Core principles of excellence, respect, and delivering them in their day to day activities. The more they do, the easier it becomes and they can build upon them and apply the strategies in various situations and settings they will encounter as children and adults.
It will stand them in good stead when dealing with challenges or even with difficult people and situations. They will know how to react when things go wrong when they cannot get their own way ( limiting the sense of entitlement). It will also help them maintain a positive attitude and approach most times.
Finally, something to share with your young ones in the course of teaching and modelling respect is the fact that a person who is respectful is often respected and valued for such positive behaviour.