Do children get respect…. and do they need it?
I think they do and I feel that they often get the short end of the stick in this department.
‘They’re just kids’ we say.
Yes, they are just kids. But everyone deserves respect.
Respect shows that you care for someone. It shows they are important to you. It says that you are aware of their needs.
Respecting your child shows them you have a desire to protect their feelings and that you are looking out for them.
And at what age does respect start? Well, I don’t know exactly. But, here’s a simple example of how I respected my six year old son this week and while I feel I respect him often, I’ve never thought much about his ‘feelings’ regarding something like this before.
I love taking pictures of my kids! And this past Fall I took an excellent collection of photos of the kids at Lake Metro Farmparks.
One of those photos was so cute! It was of my son being kissed on each cheek simultaneously by his two sisters! I made them pose for it and he seemed to like it. It is so colorful and adorable. I just love it.
Although he knows I love the picture, and he loves his sisters very much, he apparently does not think that it’s as cute a photo as I do. He did not seem very eager for me to put this picture up where people could see it, because recently, when I framed it and was discussing my plans to display it he seemed embarrassed and hid his face.
I thought his reaction was quite cute. When he asked if I really must put the picture up and where I planned on putting it, I was surprised. He’s never asked anything like that before.
I confirmed that yes I was putting the picture up, and in the living room. Again, he didn’t seem thrilled, and at the time, I couldn’t tell if he was being silly or serious. After all, he was smiling.
Later on, when I thought about the conversation and his reactions, I went to see him in his room and asked him honestly if it would really bother him if I put that picture up in the living room. (I knew that if he was absolutely that embarrassed by the photo I had a back up plan to put it in my bedroom on my dresser.) So, when I asked, he confirmed that indeed it embarrassed him. I pushed the envelope and asked if I could put it up in the hallway… Do you know what his response was? ‘No. You can put it up in your room, I’d feel better.’
Wow, he really was bothered. Poor kid. I suppose that he is growing up and realizing other types of feelings he has towards things.
And, I suppose just because he’s six doesn’t mean his feelings shouldn’t matter as much as anyone else’s. Even my own.
So, I told him okay. He was relieved.
Though I took heat from the rest of my family who was upset with me for following his wishes and not putting the picture up, because they loved it as well, I think that if the shoe were on the other foot, they’d want me to respect their feelings too.
As parents we can sometimes be too quick to dismiss our children’s feelings about something, especially when we don’t agree, or when it gets in the way of what we want. It can sometimes lead us to push for what we want so hard to the point of embarrassing our kids.
It’s not fair and it’s not thoughtful. It’s definitely not respectful
So the next time you feel like your child is being a wee bit too sensitive, stop and think about it seriously. Put your wants and needs aside and give them a break .. Don’t ignore their words or try forcing them into seeing it your way, so you get what you want, that’s just bullying. And Lord knows, we don’t want that…they get enough of that from their peers.
Show them they matter and that you understand them...because kids deserve to have their feelings respected.
This will teach them that they can trust you. They will appreciate you for it.