What Does Respect Mean To You?

My daughter recently visited her teacher’s home, where the Mother-in-law (MIL) and Father-in-law (FIL) also reside.  Out of all the little girls there (teenagers), it seems the teacher’s in-laws were thrilled with my teenager.  My daughter, when she got in the car, said, “Mom, I just loved my teacher’s MIL and FIL and they just loved me!” (Well, that didn’t surprise me;  everyone who meets my daughters fall in love with them instantly).  My child went on to tell me that as she sat, having a conversation with the MIL, the MIL said to her teacher, “Well, it’s clear that she’s a Southern girl and she’s being raised properly.”  The Teacher asked her MIL how could she tell?  The MIL said:  “Did you hear her say  ‘YES MA’AM’ and ‘NO, MA’AM?”  Since there were approximately 10-12 girls there in the house, as well, I asked my daughter, “Well, what did the MIL have to say about the others?” She responded:  “Nothing, Mom.  I don’t think the other girls even stopped to speak to them.” To this, I say, “No wonder the woman was in love with my child.”

When my oldest was in high school, a school Janitor once said to me:  “You know, she’s not like these other kids.  She picks up after herself, throws her own trash away, doesn’t wait for us to do it for her, and she’s respectful.  She takes time out to stop and chat with us (the Janitors), and she always ends her sentences with SIR and MA’AM.”  (#ProudMommyOnBoardHere, can you tell?)

Now, to some, this may mean nothing at all, but to me, it means the world.  Parents today don’t realize how important it is to teach their children to be respectful:  respectful to their elders, respectful to their peers, and yes, even respectful at home with their parents, because if they are doing it at home, then it’s easy to do away from home.

1Mom yelling at daughter

A little 8 yr old was having a conversation with me the other day and I asked her a question.  She responded “YEA.”  The next question I asked was met with a “WHAT?”  So, I said to her, “You know, Mrs. J. prefers ‘Yes, Ma’am’ instead of ‘Yea,’ and ‘Yes?’ instead of ‘What?’ when I ask a question.”  She said, “Oh, I never say those things to my mom,” and so I gently reminded her that I was not her mom.

When I meet kids, young adults, or even adults well into their 30s (heck, they’re all kids to me), and they respond to me respectfully, especially with “Yes, Ma’am” and “No, Ma’am,” I always say:  “Tell your mom she did a great job with you!”; and I’m truly excited to be in that “child’s” presence.  Truly! (I must mention that it could be a dad who raised this respectfully beautiful child, I’m just always drawn to say Mom…sorry, Great Dads!).

What are we teaching our kids?  What does respect mean today?  I’m from the old school where it meant everything, and my daughters are being, and in regards to my oldest, were raised in that same fashion and environment.  I recently heard it said that the tips in my parenting guide, “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS,”

TGMG on BN counter med

may have worked a long time ago, but wouldn’t work today.  Well, I beg to differ.  I have an adult daughter and I’m still raising a teenager today, with those same rules/tips.

Here are 8 tips I’d like to share that will help those of you who are new to the OLD-SCHOOL way of parenting, to get the best out of your kids.:

  1. Teach your kids that when they walk into a room with people, that it is their responsibility to greet first;
  2. Teach your kids that they should always be respectful in their speech and manner towards all adults;
  3. Teach your kids that if an adult is not respecting them, that they should bring that to your attention and let you handle it.  Let them know that they are never to try and go toe-to-toe with an adult;  they won’t win;
  4. Just as you teach your kids how to use the proper fork at the dinner table, teach them how to use their manners (Please, Thank You, Excuse Me, You’re Welcome, etc.)
  5. Teach your kids to cover their mouths when yawning (I had to throw this in as I hate to see someone yawning without covering their mouths as this is so offensive…this is for adults and children);
  6. Teach your kids that they should always be respectful to their peers;
  7. Teach your kids to be respectful towards you because what they do at home, is what they will do out on the street, in public;
  8. Teach your kids to always, always be honest (but first, you need to model that honesty for them).

I hope that I have left some things with you today that will greatly benefit you and your child and the world who will be exposed to them.  I have a favorite quote of mine which I like to use regarding manners, it is…

“Manners have opened many doors.  Lack thereof, ensures the deadbolt is secure.”

Now, you will never hear me boasting and bragging about “things.”  The size of my house, the kinds of cars that are parked in my driveway, or if there are labels on my clothing and shoes, are of no importance to me at all.  But, what you will hear me go on and on about, would be those things of substance in my life…my daughters.  Parents who do tend to boast and brag on the material level, I always cut them off before they get too deep into it, and I say, “So, tell me, what are your kids doing?” Because, I’m that mom.  If you want to impress me, go on and on and on about your kids!

I’m wrapping up now, but Id like to leave one more quote of mine, along the lines of what I just said above:

“I don’t have to convince you of my parenting skills.  The behavior of my daughters speaks for me.”

Thank you so much for dropping in today, but please, tell us what your take is on R.E.S.P.E.C.T????  Remember, we’re all on the same journey, more or less, in this parenting arena, so let’s do what we can with what we have and let’s support one another along the way.

What do (or did) you teach your kids about Respect???

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8 thoughts on “What Does Respect Mean To You?

  1. I think respect can also be applied to good listening, which adds substance to great communication skills. When person A speaks to person B, person B should remain silent until person A has finished speaking.

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  2. I can only comment from the child’s end of the spectrum (as I haven’t any of my own – doggies don’t count, right? 😉 ). But being taught to respect our elders worked out OK for me and my sisters and their kids – the good old days were, for the most part, just that because we took the time to show respect and old-fashioned values for others.

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  3. Respect will never go out of style. My girlfriend opened up a charm school in the 80s because she saw what was going on. It was needed then and its needed now because kids today don’t know how to present themselves. They will be the last to get a job because of it. My friend is now speaking before audiences and commanding a huge fee. That’s how bad its needed. Nonnie your topic will never go out of style. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  4. As a Dad, I thank you for your tips and insights about parenting. As a grandparent and as an adult meeting youngsters outside of my home, I need to be mindful of my role as a responsible adult – to teach and to model! Excellent advice!!! Respect? It is everything… the basis for positive relationships and behaviour for kids of all ages!!

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