1. Build Respect by Being Respectful
Who we are and how we act always speaks louder than almost anything we say, so the best way to build respect with our kids is to be respectful in the most difficult times of our lives. So when your child shows disrespect to you by name-calling, ignoring you, or dismissing what you say, your chance to grow respect is at hand. Instead of reacting by treating your child with the same disrespect they showed you, do the opposite. Instead of ignoring them, engage them. Instead of demeaning them verbally, lift them and stay positive. Instead of getting angry and showing it, find some peace to model. Your actions will always be their best teachers and your peace of mind will be the benefits of all of your hard work. In the end, by being respectful in the difficult times, you earn a moral authority, which, over time will create more trust than anything else you could ever say.
2. Grow Respect by Growing Results
Have you ever noticed how your children seem to respect and admire so many professional athletes, musicians, actors or players in the “rich and famous”? What makes these stars so “respectable” in the minds of your children? Why would your kids seem to “respect” them more than even you, their parents? As humans we tend to give more respect to people that get results in their lives. It’s not enough to just be seen as a nice person. We must also get the results that go along with that. Perhaps one of the best ways to grow respect with your children is to show them how to excel and magnify their gifts and talents. Do your kids see that you are getting seriously great results in your life? Are you still pushing yourself to better your physical health, professional accomplishments, social and emotional growth? Do they see that you have engaging hobbies that you are excelling at? Do they see that you are passionate about certain things? You can excel at anything from a clean house to an acclaimed author, from archiving family history to coaching one of your child’s teams. Ask yourself, is there something you could be a pro in, even if there is not such thing as a pro in that area?
Are you such a great parent that other parents would pay you to either care for their kids or to coach them on how to parent? Are you a journaling expert? Quilter? Compassionate servant? Teacher? Do people go to you as a source of help on their goals? In the end, we tend to respect excellence. So the question is simply, what are you excelling at? Answer that one, grow your area of excellence, and the respect will naturally follow.
Plant the Seed of Respect in Yourself
All respect begins with the seed of you! None of us want to be a victim in our lives, yet so many of us have fallen prey to the state of being a victim of others. We are mad because we weren’t tall enough to make the teams we wanted, smart enough to get in the schools that mattered. We were frustrated by our messed-up parents and partners and our “less than perfect” bodies that we are stranded with. In the end, how can we ever expect to have respect from others when we don’t even respect ourselves? The fastest way to reverse this pattern is to take your life back, give up the victim mentality and become a “Free Agent.” You do this when you remember you have a choice to make in your life. You must acknowledge that everything you are in life is yours. It’s yours to deal with, it’s your life to live, and it’s your existence to change or improve. The minute you recognize you have this agency, you can start to direct your life and choices to goals you have set for yourself. The use of our free agency is what drives people to respect us. We respect others who are the “masters of their fate”! For example, when the actor Christopher Reeves suffered a tragic accident that left him a quadriplegic, he struggled his way back, committed to walking again someday. Before his death, he raised millions of dollars for research and became a “respected” and motivating source to others about how do deal with a tough hand. In the end, Christopher gained more respect from others after his accident than he ever had as the actor who played the part of Superman. To grow your self respect, ask yourself, ‘Are you going to be determined by the cards that you were dealt in life, or are you going to go turn your lemons into lemonade?’ In the end, the greatest source of all respect comes from improving our lives every day and becoming the best person we can become and lifting those around us to be the best they can become.
By Matt Townsend