Sunday, June 1, 2014

OUR DAUGHTERS, Part Four: Respect Yourself!

Respect yourself, respect yourself
If you don't respect yourself
Ain't nobody gonna give a good cahoot,
na, na, na, na, respect yourself 
(Lyrics from song: Respect Yourself, by Staple Singers)

'm now of a certain age in which I often muse about the way "things used to be."  If that make me an Old Foggy, Old School, or just plain OLD, so be it!  But it's just disturbing the lack of respect shown, not just by young people but by those who should know better, i.e.,adult professionals, politicians, journalists and the like! No wonder our daughters are finding it harder and harder to find value in this soon to be lost art of civility.

This subject of respect comes up in every child rearing conversation I've had with mothers, especially those with daughters. Complaints about eye rolling, smart mouthing, and insisting on having the last word in a confrontation!  But let's get honest here. These attitudes didn't appear over night. There's been a steady growth of disrespect occurring throughout their formative years and what was once considered to be cute or precocious has become your worse nightmare!

This brings me to my first observation: Start respect training early! From the womb is not too soon!  Seriously, things like saying please, thank you, and excuse me are harder to teach a teen than a child.  (Prov. 22:6)  Be consistent. This is not a once in awhile manners exercise.  Remind your child at every occasion to be polite and respectful.  If they are strong willed and insist upon their own way, another verse in Proverbs should apply (Prov. 22:15) Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

Second observation:  Many disrespectful children have a disrespectful parent or someone they are close to that is also disrespectful.  It's important as a parent that you practice respect yourself!  If your daughter sees and hears you being disrespectful to your husband or others, a pattern has been set for future relationships.  Yours included!  Mothers remember, keep children out of adult business, be mindful when and where you discuss adult issues. 

Third Observation:To assure that your daughter grows up with a healthy respect for herself and others the entire family must practice it.  Respect starts from the top down--Respect and honor for God (Exodus 20:7) begets respect and honor for parents and other authorities (Exodus 20:12; Ephes. 6:1-3) which begets honor and respect for the child (Ephes. 6:4).  You can speak firmly and authoritatively to your daughter and still be respectful!  This is what I call the Queen Bee principle. Whether you have one daughter or five in your household, there's only one Queen--that's you!  She is easy to spot because she has all the power!  Teach this to your daughter and never let her get it twisted! She becomes a Queen only when she gets her own household!

Finally, like the Staples Singer's song, Respect Yourself, says: If you don't respect yourself, no one else will. Help your daughter set boundaries of respect now! No one is allowed to physically or mentally abuse her.  No one is allowed to cheapen her worth by even teasingly calling her "Bitch", "Ho" or any demeaning name.  Her time and possessions are valuable so be careful not to let others misuse them. Show respect to everyone, young and old, rich or poor, even if you dislike or disagree with them.  It's how you behave your way to success! (Ephes. 4:1-3).

Next Week: Last in series: OUR DAUGHTERS, Part Five: Unconditional Love   

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