Teens and Respect

Thank you all so much for the discussion that we had on last week’s topic.

This week I wanted to focus on respect.  Sunday I picked up the latest issue of Home Life magazine at church (shameless self promotion, I am quoted on page 54).  I also picked up the February issue and it had a very convicting article about the spiritual impact of your child’s disrespect. This article stepped all over my mama toes so I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss the meat of it today.

Here is the line that really stuck with me:

If you aren’t teaching your children to respect you, how can you expect them to respect other authority figures, and most importantly, a holy God?

I have to admit that my children were much more respectful of me (in tone, words and actions) when they were smaller.  I take responsibility for the decline in their respect because I am not nearly as consistent with discipline as I was when they were little.

To be honest, it was easier to discipline them when they were five and six years old.  A time out or sending them to bed early nipped behavior in the bud.  My boys were crushed if I was upset or disappointed in them.

That is simply no longer the case!  Grounding from privileges takes a lot of work to enforce and I often find myself giving in.  And, sometimes it really seems ineffective.  However, this article reminded me of parenting principles I had lost sight of including the fact that delayed obedience is disobedience.

Have any of you ever put off listening to God when He lays something on your heart?  I am guilty of that, for sure.  How will our kids ever understand the importance of following through with what God has in store for them if I don’t expect obedience from them the first time I make a request?

The article had the following tips for children that are resisting respect that I found helpful:

  • Ban the use of a favorite technology until you see noticeable improvement in your child’s behavior (at this rate Jared will not get his cell phone back until he’s 30)
  • Ask your child to rephrase statements to communicate respect (this would probably work better than getting angry and yelling back, huh?)
  • Require your child to apologize to others if she (or he) publically displays disrespectful behavior to you. (This one really struck me as something that would be effective.  Kids this age hate being embarrassed yet we allow them to embarrass us with their behavior)
  • Draw up a contract that specifically details your expectations and the consequences.  Have your child sign it (we did this after reading this article!)
  • Consider seeing a qualified counselor to get to the root of the problem if your child demonstrates excessive aggression.

Aren’t these great tips?  I really needed to read this article because sometimes everyday my kids tell me I am so much stricter than their friend’s parents (and I start having mama guilt).  This article served to remind me that I am not responsible for parenting their friends.  I will give account to God one day for parenting Jason, Jared and Matt.  Period.  And, I am doing them no favors by not expecting the respect I deserve.

Especially when the result of not teaching them the value of respecting authority could have eternal consequences.

What do you think?  I would love to hear in the comments or feel free to write a post about this or any other topic applicable to Teens/Tweens and add it to the linky below.

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  1. my 13 year old is playing with his boundries of respect these days. its tough because im tired of yelling and correcting and i dont want him to hate me, but its too important to let slide..

  2. tmstier says:

    hello! i realize that's a lotta links i just left, but i write a lot about my daughter and wasn't sure what to share & wanted to share something, so tried to pick ones i thought might be most relevant to parenting dilemmas/thoughts.

    thank you for sharing this post. i struggle with this issue and think it's a really important one!

  3. This is such an amazing post- great timing for me! Thankfully, we don't have to take away any technology, yet, but I am realizing that I”m in the easy stages (2 and 4). Sadly, the easy stages are still tough and I hope I'm able to stay one step ahead every day- especially in the teen years.
    I loved that line about delayed obedience- I'm so GUILTY of that.
    And I think public apologies and contracts are WONDERFUL ideas.
    But don't let the mommy guilt get to you. My devotion this morning (from Lysa TerKeurst's The Bathtub is Overflowing, but I Feel Drained) talked about mommy guilt and dropping it. I think a combo of these 2 ideas is exactly what I needed to start and end my day!

  4. Thanks for the informational post! Yes, disciplining has gotten much harder with their age. I will say I have tried almost everything here except for the contract. Might be trying that one out next time!

  5. jennSam says:

    Thank you for the great post. I agree, kids today are a lot less respectful. I think follow-through is also so important but seems so difficult with the chaotic lifestyles many families have. My husband and I were having some trouble with our daughter, who is 14, and everything we tried just was not working. I wish I would have seen this post before then. We did luck out though with a wonderful website called Parenting Powers – http://www.parentingpowers.com/member. Susan Epstein is a Licensed Social Worker and Parent Coach and has some great information to go along with the your helpful tips and information. She has some articles about taking back your parenting powers, dealing with out of control teens and how to stop nagging and get the respect you deserve. I have tried some of her ideas and they have been working so far, but definitely will be adding some of the ideas you have here. Thanks again for the great information!

  6. Oh wow… another topic that I can relate to. I think that kids show lack of respect in ways that I never considered when I was a kid. I work daily to get them to show me and my husband respect. It really is such a struggle sometimes. We did have a contract.. I take away cell phones… It is just hard. Best of luck to you.

    Thanks for linking up on Saturday!


  1. […] Respect.  More specifically – teaching your tween or teen to respect you.  Like Melissa, I too was a teen mom.  We eloped when I was 18 and had our first child just before my 20th […]

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