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Teaching Our Kids Respect in a Social Environment

Parenting Tip # 368

Teaching Our Kids Respect in a Social Environment

Okay, I don’t know why I named this parenting tip number 368 because it’s actually one of the most meaningful parenting tips in all my years of raising kids. It’s about teaching our children respect.

Let me ask you a question. Are you ever in a social situation where there are adults and children present such as a BBQ, neighborhood party or church gathering and you find yourself talking to a group of adults and a child bursts into the conversation and starts pulling on her mother? This child begins to moan with great dramatics such as only a small girl can, saying over and over, “Moooooooooom.  Moooooooom.  Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaoooooooooom.”

She moans again and again and pulls harder and harder on her mother’s arm. All the while, mom is completely ignoring the rising sound of this child’s whining. Standing in this group of adults, you become increasingly distracted and uncomfortable. And finally out of frustration the mom abruptly looks down and impatiently barks at the child, “WHAT?”

Mom daughter handsYep, you have either watched this scenario play out or you have been this mother. I know I was for a while. So early in my parenting I decided I didn’t want to be this kind of mother and I didn’t want my daughter to behave so rudely in front of other adults. I wanted her to respect me and the other adults to whom I was speaking. So, I started a simple communication procedure.

I explained to my daughter that when she sees me talking to another adult that she is not to burst into the conversation because that is rude and disrespectful.

I said to Caitie, “Sweetie, when you see me talking with another mom and you need something from me or need to ask me a question, I don’t want you to interrupt me. What I want you to do is quietly take my hand. When you take my hand I will know that is the signal that you need something. I will immediately cover your hand with my other hand and that way you will know that I realize you are waiting to talk to me. And I promise you that I will give you my full attention just as soon as I can leave the conversation. Can you do that for me?”

“Yes, mom.”

And Wow, did this small change in my parenting result in great rewards. I discovered a miracle with this small but effective request. But the key to the success of this parenting tip is this: Always, ALWAYS remove yourself from the adult conversation as quickly as possible. Then bend down to your child’s level and give him or her your full attention. Then promptly help them with their request. When you do this, the will always respect you and not interrupt.

Your child will be a marvel at parties and BBQ’s and moms will think you are the most amazing mother. But the best part of this kind of exchange is twofold. First, your child learns to respect you as an adult and respect other adults. And secondly, your child learns that he or she is very important to you.

They learn their high value because you acknowledge their need and presence by covering their hand. They know that just as soon as possible, you will give them your full attention and help. This speaks volumes to this little person about how they are loved by you. This small gesture of quiet communication is teaching your child love, respect and honor.

Who knew?

My daughter is now a young adult and we were recently at a neighborhood get together. She came up to me while I was speaking with a friend and took my hand. I immediately looked at her and smiled. She smiled broadly right back at me in a teasing and gentle way knowing that even at 18 she was signaling that she still needed her mom and was showing me love and respect.

We gazed with knowing eyes at each other sharing our little secret of love and communication as I gently covered her hand with mine.

From a humble parent to another, train up a child in the way he should go, and when she is old she will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 Amen. Have an amazing day with your children. They are the best gift God will ever give you. Hugs, Lynn