How Respect is Earned

Today, I want to talk about how I typically gain the respect of the kids.  My feeling is if I can gain the respect of a child, the sky is the limit.  If I can’t earn their respect, he/she could have all the talent in the world but I wouldn’t be the one who can tap into it.  Respect is that important.

I have gained respect in various ways and it really depends on the child as to the best way to do it. True respect takes time to earn and it can be easily diminished or lost.  Because I am talking about an abstract topic, I realize it will be interpreted in different ways.  If you would like some clarification or if you would like me to be more specific on a point, leave a comment below or email me at claytonpaulthomas@yahoo.com.

1.  Sometimes with a child, I’ll use a tough- but fair approach.  Although it doesn’t always work, I’d say it works more consistently than most other methods I have tried.  Kids like to be challenged.  It’s mentally stimulating.  When I don’t challenge a child athletically or academically for example, it’s harder to be looked to as the authority figure who should be respected.

2.  Another approach I’ve used is the use of initial fear.  The only times I have used this is when a child has a reputation for not respecting authority or if a child is having a discipline issue.  This could include raising my voice or threatening a consequence if what I want isn’t accomplished.  A large drawback to this approach is if it’s used too often, kids can literally become immune to it over time.  Although there is certainly a line between fear and respect, a healthy dose of fear can be a good thing.

3.  I have also used a buddy approach to obtain respect.  By this I mean I have to walk and talk literally on a child’s level then have the ability to rise above it when it comes time to make a decision.  A parent who uses this approach would listen to a child, carefully consider what is being presented, then make co- decisions.  Parents who are good at this are respected as close confidants.

Parents who make mistakes with this approach do so usually by staying on the buddy level way too long before making a decision.  Just because I am proposing going to a child’s level, there still should be a decision made by an authority figure before respect is achieved.  Sometimes parents want to be their child’s “friend.”  In my opinion, it’s creates an odd situation for any parent to be a child’s “friend” then turn into a respected authority figure when the situation is called upon.

Whether it was at St. Joseph Children’s Home- as a teacher- or with my kids, when I earned children’s respect, I had a lot of fun developing them into fine young people to work and have fun with.  I hope you’ll find the same to be true in your home as well.

I’ll have another post ready for you Friday.  Until then, have a great week with everyone you love!  Also, if you liked this post, feel free to pass it along to some other parents or teachers.

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