There are less respectful children in the world these days. Come to think of it, there are less respectful people in the world. I don’t think that is a wild coincidence. People feel entitled, and are aggressive in asking for what they want. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but children are always watching. It’s not natural to be kind anymore. So how do we teach the next generation to have respect for elders, authority, and each other?
First, let me say I am no expert. But I have been told my children have some respect-and I’ve seen glimpses of it. They certainly save the worst for me-but that’s okay, because I would rather they be respectful to people when I’m not around than only at home.
I have a small list that may help save the world from becoming completely disrespectful in the next few years.
1. Discipline. This may sound contradictory, but children thrive from having boundaries. This can encourage kids to accept criticism later in life without losing their minds. We are parents, not friends. That can come later in life. Our job now is to teach our children to be good people. Discipline (and I don’t necessarily mean punishment) is one way to do this. There has to be rules. There are rules in our life, there should be rules in their life too.
2. Talk to your kids. Children can’t expect to naturally know right from wrong. We have to talk to our children about each situation that comes up. Some situations can be confusing and although we may not always have the answers, our kids should feel comfortable asking us questions so we can sort it all out together. Children should know who they can trust, including authority figures such as teachers and police. They shouldn’t talk back to their teachers, they are trying to educate your kids. Let them.
3. Lead by example. Your kids will become who you are. This is going to happen. So at least TRY to be a respectful person in front of them. Say please and thank you. Hold the door open for people. Pick something up off the ground and recycle. Ask elderly people if they need help. It’s not crazy to think we can all be kind. It’s crazy to think we’ve all gotten so beyond kindness that we ignore things happening around us.
Let’s start a respect revolution. What if the next generation truly cared for each other? It’s a crazy concept, but imagine what a beautiful world it would be.
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