Respect: Key Element in Parent/Child Relationship

Author: Gool Bugwadia

Watch out!  Many-a- times, parents get so caught up in their fast paced lives that they fail to give thought to a very important query which may have not even crossed their minds: Are you and your child respectful to each other?

Here is a simple quiz which could perhaps help you parents to gauge for yourself. Take your time and ponder over each query. There is no right or wrong answer. In fact only practical guidelines are provided. This exercise is slanted with a purpose: it is specifically designed to be a wake-up call for parents, to arouse their interest and promote food for thought.

The five queries below challenge you to THINK, DISCOVER and TEACH your child to be more respectful. So parents, are you game for it?

Query # 1 Does your child obey you out of fear or respect?

As Jerry Wycfoff a psychologist and coauthor of Twenty Teachable Virtues, pointed out, “We don’t generally give our children the respect that we demand from them. We get confused because often, our upbringing makes us equate respect with fear.” Parents would do well to guard against this: Obedience to parental authority should be deemed as a mark of respect and the sheer joy of doing it right. It cannot spring from fear of punishment.

Query # 2 Do you habitually listen to what your child is saying or do you firmly expect that it is only your child who should listen to you?

Careful listening on the part of parents is one way of showing respect for your child’s thoughts and “inner” needs. It can you give clues about what’s happening in your child’s life and enable you to provide answers to your child’s growing concerns as he/she passes on from one stage of development to the other.

Query # 3 Are you using manners by way of habit?

Using good manners at home is as important as using manners outside one’s home. Manners are not means of adornments to be put into use occasionally or used simply with the intent of impressing others.  It has to be a way of life. Parents, who speak politely with their child as well as others in the family, generate polite behavior in their children. Using “thank you,” “please” and “sorry” in your home, is a positive sign of mutual courtesy and respect.

Query # 4 Do you use distasteful language?

It may happen that at times, you may be stressed out, irritated and angry while balancing work with family obligations. However, at such times, it would be certainly disrespectful on your part to give in to anger and resort to name-callings like, “You are stupid!” or “Are you so dumb that you don’t understand?” Parents, it is your ability to cope up with difficult situations and your mature example that can teach your child to be respectful and avoid use of derogatory terms.

Query # 5 Are you kind and considerate in words and behavior with your child?

Optimal parenting calls for kindness and consideration at all times. Parents, who through their words and actions, let children know that their opinion and feelings matter, automatically demonstrate respect to their child. By drawing attention to the positives instead of the negatives, you can provide your child with fine learning opportunities for growth.


Respect is a two-way street! It is the fountainhead of all successful relationships. Parents, who repeatedly praise specific respectful behaviors, can be most successful. Positive words of appreciation like, “I liked the way you graciously shared candies with your friends,” reinforce good behavior.

Parents, who consistently show respect and infuse respect in all their interactions- – - not only to their child, but to all others as well, serve as excellent role models to their children.  It is they who can successfully instill respect in their children. And it is these children who will feel loved and cherished throughout their lifetime.

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  1. Nancy Browne said on December 27th at 5:03 pm:

    Dear Miss Gool,

    I love this article. I have always believed that respect is a two way street, and even with young children. Just because they are younger, does not mean we should not respect them as children and human beings!
    Great, great article


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