Parents who are kind, open, honest, consistent, and generous model these positive behaviors for their children to learn. Using polite language to make requests or to give directions is also a good way to model respectful behavior. This positive modeling has profound impact on their childen's personalities.
Children who demonstrate respect for themselves and others show an image to the world that is likely to reflect back a positive image in return. This has a positive impact on children's personalities. Thus, when they start out in their lives with more positive reflections from society they are likely to get along better in their lives.
Too, when parents favorite cuss words and negative, hostile attitudes towards others appear in children’s words and gestures, they should serve as a reminder for parents to watch out because their children are learning behaviors and attitudes that may cause them difficulties in the future. One patient remembered during therapy how as a young boy while driving with his family in their new SUV, his father reached up and quickly locked the doors at the sight of a black, homeless-looking man walking on the city street. Although that was not his reason for seeking therapy, he wondered why he himself, does the same thing.
Being a positive role model for good behavior is far more powerful than specific training or disciplinary measures in raising children. When parents practice what they preach and show kindness, respect and generosity toward themselves and others, they ultimately teach their children that this is acceptable behavior. It is clear, how we are as individuals shine a light on our families, our communities and our nation. Parents’ model is unending.
But parenting is not an easy task. As parents, we must give directions and correct our children. We are all likely to parent our children in much the same way our parents parented us. And no parent is perfect. There are times when parents lose it, get out of control and are angry because life is hard on us all. We have all suffered anger, rejection, hostility, and drama in our lives. If we have retained those painful feelings, thoughts, and attitudes as our guide book for parenting, we may take the worst of what our parents had to offer and pass that on to future generations.
Modeling behaviors of respect for children means behaving in ways you expect your children to behave. When children hear parents use polite language, see them show respect for those who are different or in need, and are themselves addressed using kind words, they are more likely to exhibit those behaviors. As parents, our actions speak louder than our words.
What’s A Parent To Do?
1. According to the Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers and the Families and Advocates Partnership for Education, “Adults, however, have the ability to change behavior by reteaching themselves and then modeling different behaviors.”
2. Select words that respect your child's feelings and bolster his or her self-esteem. When you do that, you are modeling respect.
3. Listen, set rules, and be consistent. When you must correct an action or deny a request, you must listen to your child and if the action or request is out of bounds of your family’s rules or routines, you may respectfully deny the request and remain firm with your decision. If you have common-sense rules set up ahead of time, you can respond pro-actively.
4.Offer warmth, affection, love, and sensitive guidance. All are necessary for children's well-being. And necessary for raising kinder, happier people.
Dr. Rachell Anderson is a native of Tunica, a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professor Emeritus and author. She taught at the University of Illinois and ran a Private Clinical Practice in Springfield, Illinois for many years. She now lives and writes in Tunica, Mississippi. Check out her website at WWW.drrachellanderson.com for more articles and books.