Learn how to discuss the concept of respect.
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I was tempted to title this article, “Gaining the Respect you Deserve.” My reluctance involves the common psychological result of believing that we’re owed something. When I believe that my kids must respect me because I inherently deserve it as their elder and their provider, I set the stage for resentment and damaged relationships.
Something better… purer… more noble… happens when we view respect as something we want for both parties. This implies that this important commodity is something that’s learned and earned through experience.
Respect is Learned and Earned
Sooner or later most kids develop sewage detectors. This sophisticated network of neurons allows them to sniff out the slightest hint of hypocrisy. When we believe we deserve, and therefore must demand respect, we are likely to behave in ways that trigger this alarm. Demanding respect due to our perceived entitlement to it usually leads us toward failing to walk the talk.
Let’s consider how a Love and Logic parent or educator might discuss the concept of respect:
•  “I believe the best way to gain respect is to show people what it looks like.
•  Because of this, I promise to do my best to treat you like I hope to be treated.
•  I’m not perfect. There will be times when I mess up.
•  If you ever feel I’ve been disrespectful, please let me know by whispering, “I’m not sure that’s respectful.” When both of us are calm, I’ll listen to your opinion.
•  Respect doesn’t mean I will always do what makes you happy in the short term. Instead, it means I will do what will help you enjoy a responsible life.
•  Respect means seeking the good of others… even when doing so isn’t popular.
Kids tend to demonstrate the greatest respect for adults who are both loving and powerful. That’s the love and logic of Love and Logic.
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Dr. Charles Fay


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