Teaching respect to your children has to start with how YOU respect them and others.
Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:17
As you teach your children about the importance of respecting themselves and others, there is one thing parents tend to leave out: who goes first?
The answer is simple: YOU do.
In her book, Practical Parenting to Go: How to Avoid Becoming a Toxic Parent and Being a More Helpful One, author Yuval Harpaz explains:
How often have you heard, or even said something to the effect that you’ll give another person respect when he or she shows you the same? Or maybe you’ve said someone has to earn your respect or prove himself or herself worthy of having yours. While there are definitely some situations that can merit this mindset (to an extent), someone has to go first. Nothing ever changes if someone doesn’t take the initiative.
As a parent, is it your job to take the initiative and go first in the area of respect.
You must go first and show your child how to respect you and others by treating them with respect, rather than being a demanding, yelling parent.
Think about it, Yarpaz writes. If you are hell-bent on demanding your children’s respect, what do they have to be respectful of other than the office of parent? That’s not what you want.
The old you-must-obey-because-I’m-the-parent-no-questions-asked mentality does not foster their respect for you. You want them to respect you because you are fair, kind, loving, and strong. And in order for that to happen, you have to be that way!
If you want to be treated with respect, then start respecting others first. Teacher, coaches and parents will see that children find it much easier to respect you–not just because you are the authority who should get respect–when they are being treated respectfully.