Have you ever seen, or read the book “Horton Hears a Who”?
Do you remember the quote, “A persons a person no matter how small”. Why is it that we often find ourselves treating our own children like less than that.
Have you ever gone up to a sleeping baby and touched them? Have you let a baby sit there and scream while you were busy doing something? Have you been to busy to answer a kindly asked question of a child? Yes i know. No one is perfect and we all get selfish sometimes. And of course it is difficult when this little person has so many needs all the time.
There are simple things we can do to show love and respect to our kids. These things are also great to check ourselves to see if we are being kind.
Imagine yourself in their position, especially when they are being grumpy. I notice that my little K gets frustrated sometimes and starts whining or crying. I have a choice. I can either just automatically assume he is just being an annoying little kid…or I can take a closer look. Most of the time he is trying to do or learn something. For example he is learning to unscrew lids from jars and things right now. So he tries to do it, but sometimes he isn’t able to for one reason or another and it frustrates him. It frustrates me too when I can’t figure out something or I think I should be able to do something and can’t.
Be true to your word. When my husband and I were first married we were visiting my family. I told my niece, little A, that I would take her for a four wheeler ride that day. I had to get some things done first but I figured I would get back to her. As the day was getting darker I started trying to hurry to get back to her. My husband noticed and thought it was interesting that I was so worried about keeping my word to a three year old. She probably wouldn’t even remember, right?
Try telling a kid you will give them candy and see if they forget. They don’t forget, and neither would you. You’re going to hear about it every 5 minutes until they get the candy.
I believe it is really important to follow through with what you say. We are teaching our kids. When someone says “in a minute”…it means that yes they actually will do what the child is asking…not now…but soon.
This is an interesting study on how often parents lie to their children.
Age Appropriate Activities. Have you ever been sitting down to a board game with your friends or family or perhaps talking on the phone, or working on the computer…or doing any other adult activity and your kids just wouldn’t leave you alone. Well lets take a minute and think about his from their perspective. They are in this house with you and you are doing something they can’t participate in… not because you don’t necessarily want them to but they don’t understand it yet. It is beyond their ability. It’s just not fun for them.
This is what happens. You sit down to the computer for five minutes peace, and hope they will entertain themselves. They don’t. A minute or two goes by and then they start bugging you. “Mom, can I have this or that” or they start bickering with siblings. You turn around and tell them to be quite…or don’t bother me I’m busy. Does it work? Not usually. The situation elevates and soon you send them to their room in a fit of frustration.
Scenario two would be to plan ahead. You know you will be doing something they aren’t interested in. You know what will happen so plan ahead. Find some creative ideas online or around the house. Get an activity ready for them or a job. Something appropriate for their age…and maybe new. Right now my little boy is 15 months old so I grab my pots and pans and a stick and let him bang on them while I’m doing whatever it is. I stop every couple of minutes to see how he is doing and interact with him a little. It is great the difference this makes. Instead of them feeling rejected and a nuisance, they get to learn and experience something new. Kids don’t want to be annoying, they just need something to do.
This site has tons of ideas of activites to do with your children.
Pay attention to the way you talk to you children. The best way to talk to your children is obviously with love and respect. President Gordon B. Hinkley quotes “I hope that the noise of our homes will drop a few decibels, that we will subdue our voices and speak to one another with greater appreciation and respect.” Yelling at our children is not respectful, neither does it gain their respect. Yes it may make them quite for a few seconds as they roll their eyes out the door. Calm, loving conversation is much better… but of course it takes self control in the moment of frustration.
Scenario 1: Mom comes in from the other room to find her daughter has spread flour and water all over the kitchen. Seeing the mess she scolds the child and sends her off while mom cleans up the mess.
Scenario 2: Mom comes in from the other room to find her daughter has spread flour and water all over the kitchen. She pauses…(counts to 10 if needed) and tries to understand why she would do this. Maybe asks a few questions. “What are you working on there?” Daughter says, “I’m making cookies…mommy”. Mom says, “Oh! That is so nice of you to help out. I’ll help you and then after you can help me clean up the mess.” Or a mom could sit down and explain that to make cookies she needs to ask for help. The child would go away feeling understood and validated. After all, they weren’t trying to make a mess but were trying to help, or be like mommy.
For more example of how to talk with your children look here.
Remember that your child is a child of God and has divine potential.
“Could anyone be more deserving of respect than a literal child of God? Each of us—husband and wife, parent and child—has that marvelous heritage and potential. Sometimes we lose sight of each other’s true worth. But as we give respect, our love deepens, potential blossoms, and eternal relationships grow stronger.”
When we remember that our children are close to our equals we will treat them very differently. Each of us were sent down to this earth to learn and grow. We have frustrations, goals, dreams, excitements…and so forth. As parents we are in a wonderful position to assist another individual in the learning and growing process, to teach them on their journey back to our Heavenly Father. If we view being a parent as an opportunity to serve in this process, I believe we will get so much joy back from being a parent. We will love and respect our children and through our example they will learn to love and respect us as well.
Read more about respect from our church leaders here.
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