Effects of Bad ParentingOne of the effects of the bad parenting is that it allows, and at times encourages, disrespectful behavior in children. If this was only limited to these specific social situations it might be considered a trivial thing by all, instead of just the parents who allow or encourage it. Nothing in this world stops at a singular situation. Every action or inaction we choose affects the whole. In my opinion the one thing that is lacking in the world of parenting is the choice to teach one's children respect for the property and feelings of others.
Teaching Respect is Pretty Simple Really
For example if you instruct your child to say “Thank You” or “Have a Nice Day” because it means others will view them in a better light then that action becomes about them gaining respect and not giving respect.
Instead we should teach our children to say “Thank You” to show gratitude for something that another did for them because it will make that person feel good for having done that thing. Most children are intelligent and can understand this concept of gratitude. Even some parents of children with developmental disorders, such as Autism, are able to teach their children this concept of gratitude for the actions of others.
Teaching your children to say “Have a Nice Day” and meaning it from the core of their being should be a simple task as well. Instructing them that if they wish to “Have a Nice Day” they should have that wish for everyone else. Kids are not stupid and they can understand such abstract thinking.
Learning to respect the property of others should never be about avoiding getting into trouble for damaging or stealing the property of another. It should be about respecting the property of another because it is the right thing to do and because there is a sincere desire to respect the feelings of others.
Teaching this concept to children is be the simple but often mishandled. Most children have at least one toy they truly love. Simply talking to your child about how they would feel if someone damaged or stole their beloved toy can put a feeling within that child that will stick with them into adulthood. You can get a child to feel at a core level how others feel when their personal property is violated on an abstract conceptual far easier than you can an adult. Children have the gift of imagination. When you tell a child about a situation most of them automatically take themselves that situation in their mind. Getting children to feel what another would feel is easy.
You just have to take that action of directing them to that place of understanding, instead of bribing them with ice cream to not touch the property of another. I use this example because everyone who works in retail has surely heard a parent say "If you are good here, I will buy you an ice cream".
Be Fair to the Child TooSome situations are just not appropriate for children. In these situations the parent must teach respect for others by not bringing their children into that situation until they are of an age when it is appropriate for them. One example of this are those parents who take babies to view films in movie theater that are intended for adults. I do not know of one person who enjoys hearing a baby cry during a dramatic film. If viewing the film is that important to you then you should get a babysitter.
The same goes for adult restaurants that are careless enough to allow couples, or individuals, to bring a young child to a place that is not appropriate for them. Your disregard for the feelings of others has a profound effect on your child regardless of age. When your child is old enough to go to such places with you it is possible to use the idea that respecting the feelings of others at the establishment, or event, as a part of a “grown-up” experience that you are sharing with them. Instruct them in how to behave properly in these situations and make them aware that concern for the experiences the other patrons are having is a part of being a “grown-up”.
The Right Age?Teaching respect for others is something a parent must begin at an early age. Waiting until a child is a teenager is not a good idea. One may think that a teenager will understand the abstract concept of respect for others more than a 3 year old. That sadly is not the case. Not teaching respect to younger children makes for difficult teen years.
Teenagers are going through changes and trying to discover who they are. That is not an easy place to be in mentally. Adding to that teenage angst the idea of respecting the feelings of others when you have not in the past will go over like a lead balloon. However, if you have put down the ground work for respect of others at an early age those difficult teen years will have happy moments when you see glimpses of hope in your child.
Both my son and step-daughter have done some things as teenagers that have left all concerned frustrated, however, when I see how difficult some other teens make the lives of those around them, I am grateful for how they are turning out. In both of them I see that they do understand, at their core being, that others have a right to have a bit of happiness in their lives. Despite the mistakes that I personally have made as a parent with both of them, and there have been many, I do feel that the one thing that I did right was to at least attempt to have them understand that respect for the feelings of others is a good thing.
I am grateful to my parents for trying to instill that sense in me, however, I have come to realize that the process of learning to respect others is a life long journey. I wish the same for all parents who have read this article.