Guest Post by Renee Martinez
Sometimes I grow tired of my children’s commands. “Get me some water!” (or replace “water” with whatever - food, play dates, superhero powers). It kind of makes me feel unappreciated, and quite frankly, like some kind of a minion.
How about when they tell you, "I'm bored!" after you just spent time playing with them?
I realize they’re little and don’t understand how what they say affects me (or anyone else), but still, it’s frustrating!
I could choose to ignore their tone and respond like a robot to their whims just to keep the peace, but what would that teach them and how would it make me feel?
Instead, I choose to teach them respect. To respect others feelings, to respect their bodies, their families, the earth, and their dreams. Oftentimes parents seem to let things go, “they’re little, they don’t understand.”
It’s never to early to teach respect. As a woman, I expect my boys to respect women - starting with me. I demonstrate how healthy relationships should be via my relationship with my husband and my kids. If we never teach them, how will they learn?
I don’t think it’s too much to expect respect from your kids. I want them to understand people communicate in many ways. Even little gestures have meanings, and saying things like “please” and “thank you”, and looking at the person in the eye when you’re speaking to them does make a difference. I want them to learn that you should be appreciative and to know how to express that through daily interactions. And when I say “please” and “thank you” to them, I want them to know that these are the little gestures I use to show my respect for them in return. I expect my children will rescpet their peers and not bully.
The next time your son insists, “get me an apple!” you can ask him to ask the right way. Tell him you would like him to speak nice to you like you speak to him. The correct way to ask starts with the word can and ends with the word please. I’ve been doing this with my kids since they could speak. It works. And I’m always proud of my boys when they interact with other people.
Furthermore, whenever they ask me to get something that they could easily get on their own, I nicely remind them that they are perfectly capable of getting that napkin or spoon that they so desire. So go for it and help your dear old mom out a little! They almost always agree and get it on their own.
These lessons not only teach your son respect, but they help build his confidence too as he learns what makes people respond positively. Of course, it also makes the parent feel less taken for granted, which is always a marvelous thing.