Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Since my children made their grand entrance into this world, I’ve tried, determined myself really, to make sure they are respectful. It is a trait that few toddlers, children and teens possess these days. When Migc and Kristen were small, they responded with “yes Ma’am” and “yes Sir” and addressed adults with Ms. and Mr. I remember they called Justin “Mr. Justin” for the longest time, even after we moved here.

Now, as they’ve gotten older, I don’t really make them do that any more. I’m not sure why, but it kind of faded when they stopped calling Justin “Mr. Justin'”. I also don’t see that teaching them those small things really equated training them on how to respect people.

As a side note, I think the whole “you have to earn respect” is hogwash. As adults, we (at least we should) respect people that have never earned it.

Respect is a fragile word these days, I think. I think that most people would say that their children are respectful, but I also think that if they really looked at it, really looked, they would find that their children are not quite respectful. I’m not talking about the kids that are in-your-face disrespectful, like the kid at school that openly cussed at me, then said, “I didn’t stttttudder.” That’s blatant. That child has been taught to be disrespectful. He’s had it modeled to him time and time again and sees no value in respecting anyone. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the kid that once in a while rolls his eyes when you are instructing him, or that gets an attitude when told to do something that he doesn’t want to do, or that doesn’t value anyone else’s opinion. I’m having this problem with Migc. Yes, he’s a good kid. To some people, he’s an amazing kid. To others, he has some stuff to work on. To me, he needs good quality training with an occasional dose of reality. He thinks only of himself. He gives very little to others, but expects to receive all of the time. You will often hear Migc saying things like, “I wish we could go to the Alley”, “I wish I had a skateboard ramp” or “I wish we could eat at McDonalds”. The kid has almost everything a 9-year-old could want. He is lacking in nothing! He also gets to do fun things regularly and eats out regularly too. It’s never enough for him though. He wants more and if he doesn’t get it, he pouts. If he is told that he can’t go do something because his room is a mess, he gets this terrible look on his face and will give attitude. Today at school, he was bored with the lesson so he played with his eraser, then when told he was getting lower marks, he repeated things his teacher was saying when he was supposed to be being quiet. Disrespect.

I can talk about it all day long. I can punish him. He came home crying today because of his bad marks at school and knew he would get in trouble. It’s not enough to change his behavior though. The punishment, the talking to him, they don’t seem to drive home the idea of respect to him, at least not enough for it to make an impact. So, I started looking up lessons that I could teach him. I found this In addition to the list of things he didn’t get to enjoy tonight and the list of extra chores he had to do, he gets to do the 35 lessons over the next 35 days. He seems somewhat excited about it right now. I have no problem with idea of him not being completely bummed about it. I just know that 35 days, day-after-day, of drilling respect into his little brain has to have an effect on him. Surely, he will get it and it will be a life lesson!


joanneabigail said...

Mandy, good luck. I hope you see a big improvement as you guide Migc along. I was telling a friend the other day, "When we were kids we KNEW to do this and that..." and she immediately stopped me and said, "No, we were TAUGHT to do this and that..." Might sound obvious, but it was really a wake-up call to me. Our parents taught us respect. It was something we learned - sometimes the hard way, but it really is important and moreso for some kids than others to make a lesson out basic values and principles we something just expect them to acquire. Anyway, sounds like you're doing a great job. All the best!

joanneabigail said...

something = sometimes

Mandy said...

I agree. Some kids do come by learning things like respect as just a process of life. Kristen has been that way...I think. Migc needs a little more structured training, I think. He is doing better already. I'm expecting though that throughout the next 25plus days, he will get even better. :)

Annette said...

That is what the whole respect homework was about this weekend:) I think that is great. You are a very good parent, I am proud of what you have done with your children (grandchildren) I enjoyed them very much this weekend, hope to do it again soon. Probably have to be after this semester I am already needing tudors and doing double homework duty. Very hard semester, but I don't see that changing until its over. Have a wonderful day!