• Bill Walker

Create a Happy Family: Show R-E-S-P-E-C-T to One Another

Everyone is deserving of being treated with respect. Is it part of your family?

Lack of RESPECT is a serious problem in many families today. As we become less respectful of one another as a society it spills over into our home life.

Lack of respect conveys that another person is not worthy of being treated with dignity, because they lack value.

Respect is so important that it has been called the holy grail of a happy family and the tie that binds a family together.

The opposite of respect is disrespect. It is an ugly, rude and loveless expression of everything that respect is not.

Here are some common expressions of disrespect:

*Not treating others in a manner you would expect to be treated. *Not considering the feelings of other family members

*Being rude & discourteous.

*Intentionally shaming or embarrassing a family member

*Treating a family member person as if they are less than other members of the family


The 3 Major Areas of Family Respect

Spouse to Spouse Respect

Proper teaching and modeling for the rest of the family ALWAYS begins with the adults in the family.

Children learn how to treat others by the example you model for them as an adult. When spouses are disrespectful to one another the kids will imitate their example.

Lack of respect between a husband and wife is a symptom, not a cause. Resentment, anger and hurt are common emotions that keep us from feeling respectful of our spouses.

We tend to express strong emotions like hurt and anger towards our spouse THROUGH disrespectful behavior. Slamming doors, snide comments, or tuning out are all examples of this.

You will need to have a face-to-face talk with your spouse if you are feeling a lack of respect for him/her. Once the reasons for your negative emotions (anger, etc.) are addressed it should be easier to feel respect once again.

Parent to Child Respect

This can be an area of potential high emotional damage and must be stopped. Parents who treat their children with disrespect can cause long-term emotional damage, resulting in the creation of a dysfunctional adult. This dysfunctional adult then treats THEIR own children with disrespect, and so the cycle repeats itself for generations to come.

From my years as a counselor I KNOW there are adults reading this who feel caugfht in this terrible cycle as parents. You were treated with great disrespect by your parents and you are aware that you often do the same now to your own children. And you hate being this way.

History is not destiny! You CAN change. Just because your parents disrespected you does NOT mean you are helpless to break the cycle.

What Can You Do?

+Use The Golden Rule Principle+

You know – ‘treat others in the same way as you would like them to treat you’.

Treat your kids the way you wished your parents would have treated you.

Here is your chance to get some cosmic justice. You cannot go back and change how your parents treated you, but you can treat your kids the way your parents SHOULD have treated you. In doing this you break the old, destructive cycle and create a new, emotionally healthy way of relating with your own kids.

Always treat your children with respect! I have addressed this in a previous article here.

Child to Parent Respect

Helping children learn to be respectful of parents is a matter of teaching and reinforcing. Much of a young child’s behavior is called imitative behavior. They simply imitate what they see and hear. Parents, make suer they see and hear emotionally healthy talk and behavior from you – both to your spouse as wellas to them, your kids.

As your kids get older their behavior becomes more adult-based in its motivation. Your kids may talk to you disrespectfully because they are experiencing negative emotions like anger, sadness and frustration. This still does not give them the right to treat you wrong.

How Do I Deal with My Disrespectful Child?

*Correct them through verbal instruction.

Make comments to them like:

"In this family we do not call one another names or hit one another. What you just did was disrespectful and is not allowed in our family."

*Follow through with consequences

The punishment should fit the crime. For example, don’t use extreme punishment in response to a single sarcastic comment. I don’t recommend spanking because of the incredible hypocrisy involved. You hit (spank) your child because they hit their sister? This sends a confusing mixed message – so it’s o.k. for grownups to hit but not o.k. for kids to hit?

Grounding, timeout, removing privileges (iphone, computer, TV, etc.) are likely more appropriate responses.

*Set a consistent example yourself.

When you treat another person with disrespect always apologize. If you treat your spouse with disrespect apologize in front of your kids, especially if they witnessed it. Also apologize to your kids for setting a poor example.

Christianly Speaking

The Bible (New Testament) always teaches us to show respect for others.

"Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself." (Matthew 22:39, ERV)

"But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly." (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

"For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her" (Ephesians 5:25, NLT)

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

The Bottom Line

Do You Want a Family That Is Emotionally Healthy and Happy?

Then treat each other with respect and dignity - Always!

Before You Go

Know anyone that could benefit from this article?

Please share and respond so others might be helped!

Thank you,

--bill walker