Raising Respectful Kids -The Biggest Challenge

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their
parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

Sounds like you could have said it to a friend? Think again… this was said by Socrates 399 BC ! Clearly there is always a gap…in what we expect of our kids and what they take for granted .But  Respect is probably the hardest nut to crack.Every parent wants respectful children. In fact teaching respect in today’s rude and busy world is possibly the biggest parenting challenges, I feel.

This morning’s scene : My 8-year old has flatly refused to obey her dad…”Why should I …..?”  Inthe middle of trying to coax my four-year old to eat his “yucky” breakfast and the ominous ticking off the clock, indicating school bus arrival … I only manage to holler “ At your age , I used to take pride in polishing my dad’s shoes…. and you!”.An eerie flashback came back to me….I distinctly remember my mom saying “we never even looked at our parents in the eye …let alone raise our voices”

Then  how do we define Respect? The concept and our  versus their expectations do change with time ….It is simple enough to say  “it is the way you would like to be treated”…”Give respect, get respect”  That works for broad things like manners –EASY TO SEE, EASY TO COPY …Thank you ,please , sorry etc….but how will that teach and justify to a kid “respect for  parents””respect for elders” “respect for effort and hardwork” ”respect for diginity”.

The tough ones are respect for parents and elders in today’s generation. Will reading a story of Shravan kumar carrying his blind parents in baskets mean anything? My son nicely said if you and daddy  go blind, then I can take you in the car now na? 🙂

After a couple of attempts of developing a framework for my kids ..Of roles and rules -why we needed to follow them, of  speaking politely and manners , basic kindness towards elders ,people who needed your help etc… and understanding that you are blessed in being able to help, not  discriminating against  friends who  thought differently (..he is not my friend anymore…. rings a bell?), respecting other people’s stuff  (here it was some unbridled curiousity that i was trying to check…).. all the way to protecting the environment.

Finally we summed it up in  our fun poem way

R– Remember Roles and Rules .. Elders/ teachers/elders/law and their  rules

E– Empathy –Show concern for other’s feelings and gratitude for what you get

S-Self Respect – Be proud of yourself and expect to treated in a respectful manner

P –Politeness and Manners show you treat others with respect

E– Embrace differences –Differences can co exist if you accept it is ok.

C– Create a comfortable feeling around you.

T–Think and listen before you  talk or touch (property/environment…)

Now its easier to say “Are forgetting your “R” or “P”?”…:)

Do share any smart and wise idea here in the comments… as our efforts as parents today will go a long way in  creating a future generation that we are proud of.

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