How do you cultivate an atmosphere of respect in your family? How do you show respect to your children, to yourself and to your partner? One of the most powerful ways to show respect to children is to pay attention to their feelings and let them know that what they say or feel, matters.
Begin from an assumption of trust
Do you find yourself simply not believing what your children tell you sometimes? I remember my 6-year-old saying to me just after a meal that she was hungry. Hungry, just after you’ve finished eating, I found myself thinking. I decided to offer her something else to eat and she devoured it all!
If we begin from a basis of trust with our children, then we encourage them be truthful and honest. They have no need to manipulate or lie when they know that they will be believed and trusted, and their needs will be met. Knowing that they will not be punished for telling the truth and that it’s ok for them to have feelings, even if we as parents don’t always understand, allows them to be honest.
Show them it's great to nurture yourself
How do you make time to look after yourself? If you share your home with a partner, how do you make time to be together? Once again, as adults, we role model this behaviour to our children. By making time and taking care of ourselves, we are showing our children that we respect ourselves and demonstrating the importance of making time in our daily routine to nurture ourselves.
I remember my wife putting a hanging sign on her door saying 'Special time'. My little ones immediately knew that she mustn't be disturbed because they also had special time slots with us both as parents. They understood that this was mum having her 'special' time to do things that were important to her and they would come to me if they needed help with something.