Respect – How it Will Shape Who Your Child Becomes as an Adult

Respect – How it Will Shape Who Your Child Becomes as an Adult

By Gonan Premfors

If you ever find yourself wondering why your child exhibits sneaky, shy, or sometimes disrespectful behavior, you don’t have to look far (for at least part of the answer.)

A few days ago I walked out of our Hollywood apartment building. Just outside I came across a dad trying to get his kids, who were between five and seven years old, into the car. He was barking orders; come here, do this, do that, get in the car and the tone of voice was pretty harsh. The kids were sweet and desperately trying to please their dad.

This is a scene that I see repeated everywhere from airports to grocery stores. More subtly, it also happens in our homes when we turn off the television in the middle of an episode or when we tell our kids to get to the table for dinner – like now!

Think about it for a second, if this was you and you are in the middle of an episode someone else did that to you how would you feel? Then imagine that you are being shouted-into-a-car by a frustrated dad. Personally, I wouldn’t feel so great in either scenario.

We also tend to treat our children differently compared to other people. If one of our kids spill a drink on our pristine sofa we yell at them. If a guest spills a glass of red wine on the same sofa we tell them not to worry because the sofa was due for cleaning anyway.

Instead, picture someone checking in with you and letting you know that dinner will be served in ten minutes, giving you a choice whether you want to stop watching in that moment, watch another ten minutes or ignore it all together (and face potential calamity). And what if the dad had a calm and pleasant conversation with you about getting into the car long before you get to the car and avoid all the stress and anxiety all together?

There is only a slight difference in approach, but one has a very disrespectful and controlling impact and the other has a respectful and collaborative feel. Which approach do you default to? Your chosen approach, the respectful versus the disrespectful, will help shape your children’s behavior and how they will respect themselves in their teens and as adults.

Self-respect is a hugely important aspect of a person’s happiness and fulfillment. People with low levels of self-respect and self-trust may struggle in life and relationships.

These small differences in our approach to our kids will make a huge difference when they become teenagers and later adults. If we did not give them respect when they are little, suddenly we cannot expect them to have self-respect when they’re older.

How can we look our kid in the eye and ask them to make safe and responsible decisions that reflect self-respect, if we stole that ability from them as a child?

If we don’t respect our children, there is also a big risk that they grow up to become doormats in their personal and professional relationships out of the habit of being stepped on. As professional coach, I have witnessed that in countless clients.

Respect starts with the self, YOU, and that ability to respect yourself is first learned in the presence of our parents. As parents, we must respect our child as a person and that will result in a ripple of respect throughout the many relationships in their life: strangers, friends, family, and most importantly self. And this is how we will create a better world.

Gonan Premfors

Gonan is the originator of the philosophies behind Gozamm, the home of the Parentology, Trust and Open Heart workshops. An industry thought-leader and a perennial innovator, Gonan is setting trends in the realms of families and business worldwide. Her eclectic background; being born in Turkey, married to a Swede, having lived in the Middle East for 25 years and now living in California, she truly brings a new dynamic perspective to an important field. -- view all articles