As parents it’s our job to raise our children to be productive members of society, to live their dreams, to be successful, and to make us proud. At least that is what I feel like society tells us we should do. I think society skips the part about making sure your child doesn’t turn out to be a complete jerk. Recently I’ve noticed a lot of parents being rather friendly with their children, nothing wrong with this, but there comes a point when you can’t be friendly, your kid won’t like you and that my friend is called parenting. We all have a tendency to want to be liked and who doesn’t want the person they helped give life too, to like them. But lost in that translation, of being accepted by your own flesh and blood, is something I know people in my age group grew up with and that is respect for your elders, especially the elders in your family, but most of all your parents.
Growing up in my household we were raised to respect our elders in and outside of our home. We may not always agree with them but you were still to show them respect. That was the rule. I can remember a time, I was 16, and I felt my uncle had crossed a line with my mom and was in my view rather disrespectful. I am very protective of my family, like a guard, so if you come for them I come for your neck. It’s the truth I’m working on it. I’ve always been very vocal and just as I was about to get real vocal with my uncle, I felt a tap on my shoulder. My mom reminded me in that moment that I was child, he was my elder, and despite his behavior I was not raised to be disrespectful. It hurt my soul, I knew my parents rules about respect, but did that apply to adults as well?! As I learned this lesson from my parents, I learned that my elders could be wrong and their behavior at times may not warrant the respect they were given, but I had a choice to make about my character, did I want to be known as a disrespectful young lady, just to make a point. Never in a million years would I have ever thought to curse at or in the presence of my parents or elders. I may have rolled my eyes and even smacked my lips, but trust corrective action was always taken.
Over the last few weeks I’ve observed the way some children in my life talk to adults and honestly I wanted to gather some old school grannies, bibles, and belts. I’ve seen children standing around while adults are having a conversation and when asked to leave basically tried to argue how they were mature enough for the convo. I’ve witnessed elders attempt to correct the behavior of a child only to be met with cursing and threats. WTH is going on?! I’ll tell you what I think is going on…we have become soft as parents. In both instances the parent attempted to explain their child’s behavior, to justify the disrespect. She’s stressed about school and needs an outlet, he has some issues and people should beware. Are you kidding me?! So these “excuses” warrant disrespect? When did we as parents start giving passes for disrespectful behavior? Were you raised that way? I bet not. Our children are a reflection of who we are. Are you a disrespectful person? If not, then your child should not be either. And if you are, CHANGE! I know I’ll hear people say that we always blame the parent, but in this case it’s true, including myself. We are all guilty! Our children are a reflection of us and how we are raising them. If we don’t teach them to be respectful in our home then what do we expect them to do outside of our home. We are the cause of this problem. So how do we fix it?
It’s never too late. As parents I am hoping and praying you have built a bond with your child where you all can have a genuine conversation about life. I have three children, 18, 12, and 3, the conversations about respect vary for each. I’ll be the first to admit I have caught Symone, 18, on occasion being in my eyes disrespectful. At 18 she knows it all, but as her mother it’s still my job to guide her. How do I do this? I call her out on being a jerk, explained my view, she’s explained her view, and then I’ve guided her on how she should handle the situation as an adult. TALK people TALK! For Jamiel, 12, my only son, who is on so sweet can be something to deal with as well. If I’ve caught him or been told about him being disrespectful, he has to apologize. I’m raising him to be a MAN; a man can admit his mistakes, offer and apology. I remind him of the examples of great men in his life and ask if they would approve of his behavior. I am not a man, but I am a decent human being and I can teach him that. Now for that adorable Anissa, 3, it is the responsibility of the household to teach her through our behaviors. She’s watching us and we all know it. Now if there is ever a time that someone older has been wrong with my child, I’ve always instructed them to allow me, as the adult to handle the situation. Adults can be wrong to, but it’s better to have the adults communicate the have a child, “acting” as an adult communicate.
Children deserve respect just like adults, but they also deserve to be taught how to deal with and respect adults they may disagree with. My challenge to you, watch how your child interacts with other adults and determine if they are a true reflection of you!