Teach Your Children to Respect You - By Ineke Van Lint
The most important value you will ever teach your children is:
to respect their parents.
And since you can't pass anything on that you don’t
incorporate yourself, you'll have to start by first respecting your children. If they don’t feel treated like a human being, worthy of respect and love, deserving of your attention, then their cooperation will be in short supply.
First, you show them respect. Second, you teach them to respect you.
So how to go about this in practice?
What to do if your children complain about the food,
insult you because you’re picking them up from the gym 10 minutes too late, or if they don’t want to clean up their
Let’s have a look at these situations one by one:
1. Are the kids complaining about the food? Do you hear a “bwerk” when they see what’s
in the casserole?
Well, you are no fool, are you? You just spent one
hour in the kitchen preparing that meal. Before cooking, you spent one hour at the grocery store buying the food.
Before that, you spent many hours on the job, earning
the money to pay for that food. So you now start asking yourself, “Did I not give enough of myself for this meal?”
Yes, you did! You do not owe it to them to prepare
a warm meal every day. But you do owe it to yourself to get some respect from those for whom you make all these efforts. Enough is enough!
You did your part of the deal, now it’s up to
them. Teach your children to say “thank you” for every meal. If they have no “thank you” on offer
but only muster a “bwerk,” then you aren't making dinner for at least 2 days!
Soon they’ll be begging you for a warm dinner
and God knows they'll be very grateful when they finally get one on the 3rd day! Never continue delivering a service that isn't appreciated.
You’d be a fool to do that! How does it feel
to be toiling away behind the stove, all the while fearing your efforts and goodwill won’t be appreciated? This is no way to live! If they appreciate neither your efforts nor your cooking, then make them go without for 2 or 3 days, and see what happens.
2. Are the kids insulting you just because you’re ten minutes late when picking them up from the gym?
Then stop picking them up from the gym for a few
times! Make it clear to them that they have to appreciate your effort of taking them and picking them up. Don’t start an argument with them, for that doesn’t work.
Don’t keep explaining time and time again that
they should respect you, but rather show them by taking action. If they're unable to see the difference between the important facts (you're there to pick them up) and the unimportant facts (being
10 minutes too late), then let them feel the difference.
Next time around, simply don’t take them to
the gym, so they'll become aware of the difference and learn to appreciate what you're doing for them. Don’t settle for being treated like a slave. You are worthy of respect! Show them what it means to be a person who respects himself. Respect yourself and others will respect you.
3. Are the kids complaining that “there is nothing
to eat” in the house, while the kitchen cupboards are bulging with food?
What they mean, of course, is that THEIR favorite
food isn't available in large enough a quantity. Do your kids have this kind of complaints?
Okay, here’s what you do: stop going to the
grocery store for a while. That way the kids will have to first finish all the food in the fridge and in the cupboards (or go do some household shopping themselves, also an enlightening exercise).
This also makes for an economical cleaning up of
all those half-finished packs of crackers, biscuits, cheese and the like. Then comes the next phase where there really is
“nothing” left in the cupboards.
Now is the time to go to the grocery store and you
can bet on it that they will appreciate the new arrivals! They will feel like there’s “so much to eat,” while in fact there’s less food than
when they were complaining there was “nothing to eat.”
4. Are the kids
putting tons of ketchup on their food, continuously ignoring your warnings to be more economical and eat healthier? Stop arguing
about it, for that doesn’t work.
Instead, stop buying ketchup all the time! For example,
buy one bottle of ketchup per month and clearly tell your children that they’ll have to do with this one bottle for
the whole month. When the bottle is done, it’s done, till next month comes around. If necessary, buy a bottle for each
child and label it. That way your children will learn to regulate their “ketchup behavior.”
5. Are the kids ignoring your orders to put their
shoes in the designated place? Do they go on leaving their shoes all around the house?
Tell them this will be the last warning, and that
from now on, any shoes found scattered around will be “launched” into the back yard. And then, stick to your promise!
I had to do this once with my sun’s basketball shoes: I launched them outside. As it happened, that night it was raining
cats and dogs. The next morning he cried, “What do I do now? My shoes are all wet!” I said to him, “Sun,
this is your problem.” Believe me, I had to do this only once! Once your children know that you will do as you say,
then you won’t have to do it. They will respect your word!
6. Are your children’s rooms a mess? You want
the mess to be cleaned up?
Don’t do it yourself! Your teenagers should
clean up their own mess! So instead of arguing about it, tell them that they have to clean up their room before dinner on
That way you're giving them plenty of freedom to chose their own timing. Come Saturday evening dinnertime, go check if the room is tidy. If not, then there's no dinner
for that child.
After all, this was the deal:
room to be cleaned BEFORE dinner. They can still clean their room
right there and then and have dinner when they’re done, but as long as the room isn't clean there's no dinner. You could
also say, “You clean your room and after that you can go out with your friends.” Be consistent and do as you say.
This is where many parents stumble when dealing with
their children: they argue too much. They go on explaining the same thing dozens of times.
Do you really think the kids didn’t understand what you were saying? If you have said something 2 times, then that’s enough. After the 2nd time, you should ACT and
Don’t argue with them! Never argue with a child.
You're the parent, you're the one who decides. You can negotiate with your child, but don’t feel you need to explain yourself.
Kids have much more energy than you do and sooner
or later you'll give up (or give in) because your energy is spent while theirs isn't. They
know that and they'll win the battle!
Don’t get tempted to go into endless discussions
with your child. Learn to act after the second warning. Be consistent! That’s the only way to get respect.