How to give your child respect and maintain your authority

You will always hear me talk about how children are smarter than society often gives them credit for. 

We can see evidence for this when we have our business fairs, when students set their own goals and achieve them, or their ability to learn and work with the Socratic method. 

With this in mind, I believe we should all be able to agree that their lack of life experience does not constitute treatment that is anything less than respect. 

It’s common to disregard the input or feelings of a child on the basis of them being a child. But is that fair? To expect a level of respect from your child but lacking the willingness to have the same for them? Talk about double-standards. 

This lack of awareness of the double standard stems from a parent’s fear of losing respect from their child. They don’t want their children to believe that their parental authority could be wrong.

So how do we give respect to our child while still maintaining your authority?

Apologize when you’re in the wrong

Humble yourself and admit it when you realize you handled a situation with your child in the wrong way. If you lead the example, show your child that it’s okay to admit when you’re wrong, growing up they will always know that it’s okay to admit when you’ve messed up or that there’s no shame in realizing and fixing your mistake. 

Appreciate that they are a child

Many get themselves into the mentality of expecting their child to grow up faster. If a person forces this on their child, whether consciously or unconsciously, your child will ultimately wonder why they aren’t enough. Appreciate where they’re currently at, enjoy their childhood with them. You won’t get this time back. 

You’re not their friend

Your child will have many friends throughout their childhood, but they only have two parents. You are their protector, their provider, their supporter, but you’re not their buddy. This line needs to be drawn in order to maintain a healthy level of respect. 

How to give your child respect and maintain your authority

When your child screws up, when they do something wrong such as lie, steal, disrespect you or someone else, approach the situation with both kindness and firmness. It has to be a balance of the two, not one or the other. Kindness without the firmness in your approach will only cultivate the mentality that the repercussions of their actions are not severe enough to give negative actions a second forethought. And firmness without kindness will only serve the mentality that they can never come to you when they mess up. 

In conclusion, you have to set the example. Both in your interactions with your child and the way you choose to carry yourself. Your child absorbs more information that they are exposed to than you realize. Be the example of what you strive to see in them.