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September 27, 2016

How Can I Teach My Kids to Be Respectful?

Last Saturday night, we had a fantastic Power of Pause event. Parents from near and far joined us at the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, and we laughed with each other, and learned from one another.

So many of you sent in questions beforehand, and I’d like to answer a few this week in the Daily Pause. Here’s one: “How can I teach my kids to be more respectful? I’ve got three kids 10 and under, and the way the oldest talks to me is so crude and rude, and he’s influencing the two younger kids now to do the same.”

“Being disrespectful” is a big one on many parents’ minds. Especially when their kids talk to them in ways they wouldn’t have dreamed of speaking to their own parents. Here’s the problem: you can’t teach someone to respect you by telling them to respect you. You can only earn it by how you respond.

It’s paradoxical: our kids respect us when we don’t need them to respect us. It can start with something like this, said to your oldest, one-on-one:

“You can talk rudely to me if you want; I cannot control what comes out of your mouth. You, though, cannot control what I do in response; that’s up to me. So, you now have a choice: continue talking that way to me, or not—that’s up to you. If you do, I want you to know two things: 1) I will not get upset, because you’re not that powerful; and 2) You will not get to watch a screen of any kind for the next 24 hours.”

Peace begins with pause,

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