Mutual Respect in Parenting
You’re listening to Motherhood Aligned with Katy Weade episode 25, “Mutual Respect in Parenting”
Well hello there! Welcome back to the show. It’s me, Katy, your friendly Life & Parenting Coach back with another episode for you.
Today’s topic is one that comes up often with my clients - we’re going to be talking all about respect, specifically respect in regards to parenting. I often hear from parents that they just want a little bit of respect from their kids. They want to know how to get that respect, why their kids seem to continuously disrespect them, and why what they’re doing isn’t working.
This may even be what you’re experiencing. Maybe you feel like your kids are disrespectful in the way they speak to you, or they don’t respect your rules. Whatever it is, you just want to be sure you’re raising respectful children who turn into respectful adults, right?
I get it. I have a 4 year old and an 8 year old and I know how it can be. And it’s not just that I want them to be respectful towards me, but also with their grandparents and teachers, and others in general. That’s not too much to ask, right?
So how do we do that? It’s actually quite simple. It begins with MUTUAL respect. Respect comes from you, the parent, first. You need to model respect to get respect.
And you might be like, yeah yeah yeah but Katy, I do show my kids respect and it doesn’t seem to make a difference, they just walk all over me. Or they just don’t listen to me. I hear you. You might just need to make a few tweaks so that your intentions are more well received by your kiddos.
Here’s an example I use often with the parents I work with. Think about all of the jobs you’ve ever had in your life. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had a really great boss at some point, one that you are eager to please and have no problem going above and beyond for - and then you’ve also probably had a not so great boss at some point, too.
So what was it about that really great boss that made you want to work well with them? And what was it about that terrible boss that made you roll your eyes every time they made a request of you?
This is something to really think about. I guarantee you that the quote unquote “good boss” spoke to you and motivated you in a way that was respectful. You felt empowered. You had some autonomy.
When you feel respected, you want to cooperate. You want to do well. On the other hand, maybe that quote unquote “bad boss” was always telling you what to do, or always criticizing your work, or had - what you considered to be a lot of unrealistic expectations.
This is how our kids are looking at us, too.
So the first thing I would do as a parent is look at things through your kids perspective. Maybe they’re feeling like you’re that bad boss, always telling them what to do, always criticizing them, or holding them to unrealistic expectations. And they’re resisting listening to you because of this and it’s coming off to you as being disrespectful.
Really what we want to do as parents is show our kids that we respect them and find ways to empower them to look at you and the world the way you looked at that good boss you had back in the day.
One of the 5 Pillars of Positive Discipline is building an encouraging relationship based on mutual respect for the needs of the adults & for the needs of the child. Many of us were not actually raised that way. Respect for the child doesn’t really exist in the power-over parenting patterns. The “do as I say” and “because I said so” reasoning is not based in respect.
A mistake I often see is that parents try to command respect. Commanding respect may “seem” to work when the child abides, but that’s a false sense of respect based in fear. It’s not based in connection.
So what are we to do to get respect? As I’ve said, we model it and first show our kids dignity and respect through kind and firm parenting instead of blame, shame, and pain. And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about being permissive and letting your kid do whatever they want, it’s about finding long-term solutions that help them develop their own self-discipline over time. And that includes developing respect.
So first we have to model respect and give them the same respect we expect in return, but we also have to teach it to them. Not through demanding and commanding it, but through giving them a safe space to learn about respect.
For example, the other day I was asking my son to bring his dirty clothes down to the laundry room. His response to me was “waitttt!” and I could have easily been triggered that I thought he was being disrespectful.
But rather than getting into it with him and showing him my dominance like “wait a second buddy you don’t talk to me like that and disrespect me” I took a second to pause and first look at his perspective. First of all, he was in the middle of something so I could understand that my agenda wasn’t really top of mind for him. So I changed my approach and responded calmly with “I can see you’re in the middle of something, what’s your plan for bringing your dirty clothes downstairs?” and then I made a mental note to also talk with him later about tone of voice, because really it was the “Wait!” that felt disrespectful to me and how he said it. So my work as the parent is to help him become aware of his tone and learn from it - without shaming or making a huge deal out of it because that really doesnt help anything.
And here’s the thing, we often think we need to correct them in that very moment, but we don’t. Most of the time that will just escalate the situation. Instead, I waited until there was a calm moment and brought it back up later. In a non-accusatory and non-defensive manner I just let him know that I hadn’t realized he was in the middle of something when I asked about the laundry and that his response had a tone of voice that didn’t sit well with me. I told him I don’t think he meant it but I felt like he was disrespecting me. He apologized and told me he’d be more careful with his tone of voice. So now, the next time it happens, again, I won’t get triggered and disrespect him back, I’ll just remind him of this conversation and let him try again. I’ll say something like, “oh, oh, oh…remember that conversation we had about one of voice the other day?” This is teaching him respectfully how to be respectful. Make sense?
Ok, so now that we have all of that out of the way, some more of the respectful strategies you can use include validating your child’s feelings, brainstorming together for solutions to problems, and having weekly family meetings where everyone has a voice and belongs.
And the next time you’re feeling like my kid just doesn’t respect me think of that old boss of yours who you were eager to please. How can you show up for your kids in that energy?
And if you need more help with this kind of stuff, I’m your girl. Sign up for my free introduction to positive discipline class coming up soon. Check out katyweade.com/intro for the next class date. Or schedule a consultation to inquire about working 1:1 with me.
Have a great week and I’ll talk to you soon.