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Summary: Lack of respect for God is epidemic. How can we change that? Part One of a three-part series focusing on teaching respect for God, others, self and leaders.

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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 child’s behavior.

Their little monster (as Chuck Colson puts it) acts disrespectful and aggressive, and the parents don’t 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 Doherty’s 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. It’s best to tune out the content at these times and listen for the child’s 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. Don’t 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 they’re consistently respectful to the most important adults in their lives.

* Use time outs for noncooperation when your child will not cease the disrespectful behavior. Do not allow a nasty conversation to proceed for long: it’s not good for you, your child, or the relationship. Declare yourself on the disrespectful behavior and abort the conversation rather than letting it escalate. Have a follow-up conversation later, when the storm has passed, listening to your child’s feelings - but insisting on respectful expression of anger in the future.

* Be firm but keep your cool. Confident parenting is most always calm, clear, focused, and assertive in times of conflict.

* Combine zero tolerance with a long-term view. A long-standing problem will not vanish overnight. Give your children time to change to a new, consistent way to behave.

* If the problem is chronic and the preceding strategies don’t seem to work, consider seeking family therapy to focus on your parenting skills. Don’t let the pattern go on for years.

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