My children are at an age where they are now able to learn and understand about our wonderful country and the freedoms that we are fortunate to have. This year, because of their ages, I was really looking forward to talking with them about our democracy, our right to vote, why we vote, what the issues are and why it matters. Unfortunately this political season I have found myself turning the channel away from the election news and not letting them watch the debates. Why? Because the issues that are being discussed are not about policy or the problems that we are facing, they are about lack of respect for one another and mudslinging. Whatever your political affiliation, I think that we can all agree that respect for one another has really gotten lost. I believe that we need to take a step back and figure out how we are going to regain respect in our world. How are we going to teach our children what respect is?
Good parenting and role modeling are the key in my mind. It always comes back to this. You are the best person to show and teach your children what respect is. The media provides us with a plethora of teaching moments about various issues.
Saying please and thank you, having and showing manners and explaining to them that rudeness is never acceptable. This helps our children understand gratitude and learn about kindness. It also helps in learning how to communicate effectively. How you speak to your children is how they will speak to others.
Teach them to be good listeners. Giving someone your undivided attention shows others that what they have to say is valued which is the basis of respect. Role model the behavior for them- Do not interrupt. Do not have your phone in your hand and “sort of” listen. It lets them know that what they have to say is important and therefore they will also learn to believe in themselves.
Establish rules and boundaries and have consequences. Just as you would praise a child for positive behavior, have consequences for unacceptable behaviors that you can and will follow through with.
Having self-respect and appreciating others’ differences. Talk with your children and help them discover and recognize their strengths and unique talents. If you do not respect yourself that no one else will. Teach them that everyone has different strengths and interests. Acceptance and inclusion goes back to respect. If we were all the same our world would be an incredibly boring place!
Let’s work to develop respect and encourage tolerance and understanding of others’ differences in our children. Teach them well. #Respect #IAMICANIWILL #MyRemarkableSelf
–Mary & Claire
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