I. Respect Must Be Taught and Required At Home
I like Chuck Colsonís job-description for parents: Parents take small, self-centered monsters, who spend much of their time screaming defiantly and hurling peas on the carpet, and teach them to share, to wait their turn, to respect othersí property. These lessons translate into respect for others, self-restraint, obedience to law - in short, into the virtues of individual character that are vital to a societyís survival.

A book entitled Take Back Your Kids by William Doherty should be a must reading for parents. His list of guidelines to establishing a relationship of respect between parents and children is worthy of your time investment. This is a good start on principles to help teach and require respect at home. He says:

All parents long for a relationship in which their children respect them. Yet many parents who want to raise their children to be respectful and nonaggressive actually encourage disrespect and aggressiveness by their lack of vigorous response to their childís behavior.

Their little monster (as Chuck Colson puts it) acts disrespectful and aggressive, and the parents donít do anything about it! What he is saying, folks is that if you intend to have respect in your home (and for your kids to act respectful elsewhere) you had better stop paying attention to your own selfish stuff, and stay on your toes. You let a child disrespect another child or adult and you legitimize disrespect and will raise one obnoxious brat!

Notice Dohertyís list:
* Respect your child. Begin by treating your children with respect because they learn more by your actions toward them than by your verbal statements of values or expectations. Let them express their own opinions and tastes. Apologize to your child if your behavior is out of control.
* Expect respect. Parental respect partly must be earned, but mostly it is a right that comes with your humanity and is ordered in the Ten Commandments. Begin thinking of respect as a value in your family, because without it little else will go well.
* Tune your ears to the frequency of respect and disrespect. Too many parents fail to recognize the sound of the disrespect in exchanges with their children because they focus too much on the content of what is said. Itís best to tune out the content at these times and listen for the childís tone of voice.
* Nip disrespectful behavior in the bud. Train your reflexes to act quickly, responding immediately, if possible. Say to your child, That was disrespectful. Donít walk away and fume about being talked to that way.
* Cultivate a special tone of voice that communicates, You are in dangerous territory; you would be wise to back off immediately.
* Explain your new policy on respect to your children at a quiet time. Many children are unaware that they are being disrespectful and/or have been allowed to get away with it for years. Children are happier when theyíre consistently respectful