I am just old enough to remember the days when children were respectful out of fear. When Mom gave that look you'd better shape up or else... I remember when it was unthinkable to be sassy or a smart alec.
Unfortunately, times have changed and discipline styles have been relaxed in order to allow our children freedom to express themselves. Those who have adopted these more relaxed parenting styles should not be surprised that their children do not naturally display respect. In fact, some parents actually think it's cute for their toddler to answer back and behave in a saucy manner. Should those parents be surprised when their middle schoolers behave appallingly? A sassy three-year old is an embarrassing seven-year-old. Left to their own devices, our children will be as selfish and disrespectful as we will allow.
Going back to basics is still the best.
Experts said that attitudes don't happen automatically. They take root when parents teach their children fundamental politeness - and we parents practice it ourselves! The bottom line is to create an atmosphere of mutual respect. If we can establish this to our kids' earliest years, they'll be less likely to rebel when they're older -and we will be much better prepared to handle the uprisings that inevitably come along.
One way to foster respectfulness in your child is to teach her to be sensitive to other people's feelings. Teasing is not allowed in our home. We try to be careful that our words won't hurt another's feelings. The old mantra sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me is nonsense. Words are powerful. Words can inspire and encourage or shame and destroy.