I was quite shocked the other day to learn that some parents allow their kids to jump on hotel beds but don’t allow it at home. It seemed a good example of teaching kids a lack of respect for the property of others. Hotel owners, although invisible to the kids, are the ones who pay to replace sagging beds and worn out bed linens. Their property must be treated with consideration.
I’ve been appalled to see parents turn a blind eye to their child climbing over the backs of furniture when guests in someone’s home and could barely restrain myself from saying something.
In my own home, I’ve had children racing around chasing each other through the house, putting my antique lamps at risk. I didn’t hold back from telling them in a reasonable tone to stop, go outside to run or down to the basement. Their parents gave me the evil eye, and as a new step-parent, I had evidently crossed a line. I felt the line certainly needed to be crossed.
Children must be trained to respect the property of others. Not just the property, but the people themselves. And not just people but animals, plants, and all the living things inhabiting our beautiful planet.
When a child shows you a frog she’s caught, it’s important to teach her to handle it with respect and “take it back to its mommy” and release it when she’s finished looking at it. She must be taught to be gentle and to appreciate the tiny creature in her hands. Taking it further, she can learn to appreciate the differences in people as well as animals and to respect those differences.
Whether someone is a different color, or uses crutches or needs a wheelchair, kids must be taught basic manners of not staring and pointing and to understand what might be the reason for such differences. Treating someone kindly who is different from your child starts with you, the parent.
You are the role model for your kids. Your reactions, your comments, and yes, your manners, are all observed carefully and mimicked by them. The way you treat your kids is the core of teaching them respect. If you spank them, you teach them to hit others. If you yell at them a lot, they’ll do the same within the family and outside of it. There are much better ways to inspire good behavior. Treat them as you’d like to be treated and learn alternatives to physical punishment.
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