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 http://www.micheleborba.com/Pages/BMI05.htm. 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!