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Respect yourself and you will teach your child to respect himself and others


All we want is others to treat us with respect. When we feel like someone is not respecting us, we often react with anger. It happens that we say – or even shout – “please respect”, “I deserve respect”, “mother deserves respect”. We know instinctively that respect means our dignity. Will others, including our children, respect us when we disrespect them? What does it mean to respect yourself? If I respect myself, will my child learn to respect yourself and others? These are important questions that I will try to answer in this article.

When we feel good in the presence of someone, that is, we are treated with kindness, when we can freely express our needs, talk about our views, when the other side listens to what we say without judging, disregarding or irony, we feel respected. It is said that respect is the most important moral value. Respecting yourself and others is taking care of your own limits and not violating other people’s borders.

I’m ok and you are ok

This means that you are good enough the way you are, and you don’t have to change to deserve acceptance and love. Parents who love their children unconditionally show what it means to respect other people. A child who is respected and recognized by his parents will respect and recognize the value of other people. Talking to children about the importance of respect in our lives will do little if the child has no relationship experience with parents that is respected and accepted unconditionally.

Unconditional love and acceptance – what does it mean?

  • Respecting the feelings and experiences of the child. Giving him space and accompanying him when it gets tough. Take what your child is going through seriously.
  • Talking to your child respectfully – without ridiculing, criticizing, judging or deprecating their value.
  • Being interested and curious about his views and opinions. Especially when they are different from ours. Asking for clarification and clarification when we do not understand them.
  • Respecting the child’s boundaries and its integrity – thoughts, desires, dreams, beliefs, needs and feelings.
  • Assuming your child is always well-meaning. Just as we ourselves recognize that our behavior is also the result of good intentions.
  • Caring for the child’s needs.
  • Say NO to your child respectfully – without criticizing, insulting, humiliating.
  • Showing admiration and recognition.
  • Appreciate what your child is doing and thank them for it.

Taking care of your needs – an expression of respect for yourself

The little man requires his parents to provide for all his needs. Often during this period, parental needs – as  said  – “we have to hang up” to take care of the child’s needs. However, around the age of 1-2 years, the balance in meeting the needs of the child and the parent should be slowly restored. The parents are responsible for this. This means that their needs are also important, and meeting them has nothing to do with the so-called selfishness. It’s not about saying and thinking “I am now, because I have taken care of you enough”, but “I am also important and my needs are as important as yours”.

Only when the parent takes care of their well-being is able to build satisfying relationships with their children and enjoy their company. Children will learn that parents are normal people who also have their own needs and have the right to satisfy them. Just as parents respect the needs of the child, the child respects the needs of the parent and, consequently, learns to respect the needs of other people around. There is no doubt that parents will only be able to accompany their children with respect and support them in developing and meeting their needs, when their personal needs are taken into account and met.

How to say no without hurting others

Respecting a child does not mean that we have to agree to everything a child wants from us.” The parent has the right to disagree. The only question is how he will communicate it to the child. Is it disrespectful, in an angry tone full of anger, crossing the emotional and often physical boundaries of a child? Do you respectfully, for example

  • I see that you care a lot about it, but I don’t want to agree to it.
  • Hear that it is important to you, I do not allow you to go with your friends to the seaside for a weekend.
  • We do not allow you to watch TV series until late at night.
  • I’d rather not / prefer not to.

These are personal messages that don’t hurt the other person. It is also worth giving arguments “why NOT”. The closer the relationship, the more these arguments are important and show respect for the other person. When we say “NO” to a child, we become an example for him – how to take care of ourselves, how to protect our borders. Even if saying “NO” doesn’t get the kids to do what we ask, it’s still worth it. It is a very important tool for a child. We teach them how to respect themselves and others to communicate their own limits and how to protect them. When we say “NO”, we also take care of ourselves. We do not feel then that we are being used, which protects us against the so-called. Parent burnout.

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Communication-based on respect

The way of communication with the child, in which we evaluate, compare to others, criticize, point out mistakes, ridicule – will not serve to teach the child to respect, neither for the parent nor for himself.

A respectful language is awareness of yourself and that:

  • I see and hear
  • What I feel,
  • What I need
  • Which he wants.

But also listening to the child, that is:

What it sees and hears

What I feel

Which he wants.

In a respectful language, the intention with which we enter is very important. It is worth showing the willingness to communicate and establish relationships. It’s also helpful to stop and think about what your child is trying to tell me. When a child speaks, the parent takes on the role of an interesting listener – without judgment or criticism, but with an awareness of their feelings and needs, and awareness of the child’s feelings and needs. Only such interaction is an expression of respect and enables understanding.

Remember that:

  • Children whom we treat with respect and treat others with respect,
  • Children cared for by their parents learn how to take care of themselves,
  • Parents who take care of themselves show their children how to care for others,
  • Children, whose integrity and boundaries are violated, will themselves violate the integrity and boundaries of others, including parents.

From birth, a child should be treated with respect and care. Remember that if we do not show respect to a child, it will not build respect for ourselves and for others. Because self-respect is fundamental to showing respect for others. Respect cannot be forced. It will not help to command, to demand self-respect just because I am a mother or I am a dad. A child is like a suitcase – what you put in it now, you will take it out in the future. Therefore, if we put goodness, kindness, unconditional acceptance and love in respect for the child, then in the future we will get the same. A frequently heard objection from a parent is “my child does not respect me.” Then it is worth turning it around and asking yourself “what are you doing to make your child feel respected?”


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