How do you gain parental respect

With children and parents at eye level! 12 tips on how children learn to respect.

We often complain that children don't show us enough respect. It would be so simple: When we communicate with children on an equal footing, they imitate us and also treat us with respect. 12 everyday examples showing how children learn to respect.

Let us imagine the following situation. A mother cooks spaghetti for her family. When the warm food is on the table, she goes into the nursery, sits on the floor, gently touches her child on the wrist and says: "May I interrupt you for a moment from your game?" the child looks up briefly and replies: "One moment please, mom." The mother waits patiently until the child has finished and looks up at her: "Now you can talk, mom." The mother replied, relieved: "The meal is ready, will you come to the table?" The family marches happily into the kitchen.

And how does it look in everyday life? Or at least with us: “The meal is ready! Everyone to Tiiisch! " calls the mother from the kitchen. And if everyone isn't there after two minutes, it tends to get louder. The spaghetti will finally get cold.

You see what I'm getting at. We adults lack a culture of respect for children. At the same time, we complain that the children don't respect us. How can we expect things from our young children that we cannot ourselves?

Mama Poule for your bulletin board; -)

Help, my child is naughty! Or why children interrupt us.

In Simone Davies ’very good book The Montessori Toddler I read about how children can learn not to interrupt others: In many children's homes the agreement is that if the teacher is busy but a child urgently needs them, they can simply put their hand on the teacher's shoulder (see 161 ). In this way, the teacher knows that the child needs them and turns to him as quickly as possible.

Davies recommends using this principle at home as well. We can also strengthen our reaction by placing our hand on the hand of the waiting child and signaling with our eyes: "I'll be with you in a moment."

I tried with us, of course. And so I failed miserably. Especially in the evening, when my husband or I are finally home and want to exchange a few words, we are constantly interrupted. Because the children also want to get rid of their issues.

I was annoyed for a long time. But then I realized: my children simply can't help themselves. Quite simply because they were never allowed to learn from us. Or not been exemplified. Because when dinner's ready, I'll call her into the kitchen. Even though she's reading a book. And if she plays with her stuffed animals, but we are about to miss the bus, I also call to them: Please get dressed, we have to go now! Although her stuffed animals are just as important to her as my husband is to me.

Do you see? I keep interrupting her. But expect that they can wait patiently for my husband and I to finish talking.

How children learn to respect

Maria Montessori did not see children as imperfect beings that we have to fill with knowledge, but as fully-fledged and independent personalities with enormous potential. Accordingly, Montessori educators show children just as much respect as adults. We can learn a lot from this: Instead of complaining that children (or later adolescents) show us too little respect, we can start to be respectful of them. Because it is logical: If we communicate with children on an equal footing from the start, they imitate us and also treat us with respect.

So I try to cultivate the "respectful" in our home. But where exactly is respect for children shown in everyday life? I've researched and collected something. Here are twelve suggestions for how children learn to respect.

How children learn to respect: 12 everyday situations

  1. Instead of shouting from the hallway, we can touch our children on the wrist and ask: "May I interrupt you for a moment, dear Simona?" And after a "yes", ask whether she would like to come out with me or whether she needs a few more minutes to finish playing.
  2. If they let us finish, we can appreciate it and say: «Thank you for waiting. That means a lot to me. Now I am completely there for you. "
  3. Instead of manipulating children with punishments or rewards, we can rely on intrinsic motivation. This is stronger than external incentives.
  4. Instead of complaining about spilled milk, we can say: «Never mind! Something like that can happen. " And hand the child a rag. Just like if it happened to a visitor.
  5. Instead of simply picking up a toddler, we can ask it beforehand: "Is it okay for you if I pick you up now?"
  6. Instead of putting a baby on the changing table, we can ask it: "We're going to change your diaper now, is that okay?" And if the answer is an unequivocal "No!" we can find a solution together.
  7. If we make a mistake and, for example, blame our children for something, we can apologize to them.
  8. If a waiter pats our children on the head, we can ask them not to. Just as he would not do it with an adult.
  9. Before we take care of neighbors' children, we can first ask them: "Will you come to the playground with us while your mom goes shopping?" And only after a "Yes!" say goodbye to the mother.
  10. Instead of trying to “shape” or “teach” them, we can trust our children that they know best themselves.
  11. When we give something to a child, we can quietly enjoy their reaction. And the "How do you say?" just leave.
  12. We can Cry baby or Trotskid, insulted liver sausage or Drama queen be deleted from our vocabulary without replacement. Instead small human or infant or small child or say their wonderful first names.

Realistic expectations and why it's okay for my kids to interrupt me

With all the example of respecting children, I cannot expect a four-year-old to learn and implement it straight away. Just like I can't expect a 6-month-old baby to please get up and walk. Even if I want my children to be respected, I can't force it. I could “train” them not to interrupt me, but they wouldn't do it out of appreciation for me. I can only exemplify respect.

And that means working on myself one more time. Respect myself and take care of my needs. Talk to our relatives and neighbors on an equal footing. Demonstrate respect for my children in our family. Or other practical things like: planning the day so that we always have a 15-minute buffer to cook or to leave the house. Of course that doesn't always work. Then I explain this to my children.

To stick with the spaghetti mentioned at the beginning: I prefer to eat it cold, but show my daughter what respect means.

This text first appeared in abridged form in the magazine we parents

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"Respecting your child means keeping a small distance and refraining from disturbing the child in their experience of encountering their life." writes Magda Gerben in the book A Good Start in Life: A Guide for the First Time with Your Baby (found at Parents from Mars). And it is precisely this respectful, small distance and what it means to follow our children and observe them - or to put it in Montessori words “Follow the child” - is the subject of the next articleDon't miss it and quickly subscribe to ours Sunday mail, the free newsletter from Subscribe here.

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Ellen Girod