Written By Ken Alexander
We live in perilous times where the majority of the recent generation of children are getting to adulthood without ever learning true respect. Our society is now loaded with self-seeking disrespectful young people who hardly respect themselves, let alone others. Where does such lack of self-esteem and respect come from? Poor parenting and a serious cultural breakdown of sexual morality.
Just look around you and you will see disrespect all over the Internet, in our schools, homes, jobs and even while driving. Many nowadays completely disrespect their own bodies painting them up, piercing them, implanting metal into them, and giving themselves away sexually on cheap dates. The lack of self-respect leads to people doing despicable things to themselves and other others. Once God is no longer respected, there is little that man cannot disrespect of creation and the creature and take pleasure in doing so.
God has promised us these days in His Word. Micah paints for us the picture of what a godless society looks like as the same ugly things arose in Israel when they forsook God’s precepts and ways:
“For the son dishonors the father, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:6).
I was messaged by a woman today asking how she might handle her daughter who would not speak with her and allow her to see her grandchild. Three years it has been since the child was born, yet not once has grandma been allowed near her. The only communication they seem to have together is when the daughter needs money. Because Mom told her daughter she was marrying the wrong man, the reward for her wisdom was to be excommunicated. The daughter is now pushing all family away. Generational curses may be in play and perhaps demonic activity, but I cannot help but wonder what good parenting might have done to prevent such cruelty to Mom.
It is a parents’ responsibility to raise up well-behaved and respectful offspring. If parents do not do their job properly, everyone loses out, especially the children. This important ministry was hard enough to do in past generations when other children were generally trained in respect, but now in this new modern generation, it is far more difficult as we seem to see so many grossly disrespectful brats. It is hard for us to imagine how a parent can teach this important precept of respect when Mom is not home full time to do so, and children are shipped off into the world like packages to be dropped off and picked back up again from the world at the end of the day.
#1: Training your child in respect begins with showing respect to your children.
Yes, most of training of a child comes from their parents modeling for them correct behavior. Children see everything and quickly begin to mimic and copy Mom and Dad. Again a vital reason for parents to choose having Mom stay home to raise the children; for how else can a child be given the display of the daily modeling of good behaviors?
“Always treat your children with respect. Never ridicule, mock, or laugh at your child’s ideas, creations, or ambitions. The trust you desire to have when they are older must be established and maintained when they are young.” — Michael Pearl
#2: Teach your children to respect you as parents.
Gentle parenting has often led to children completely disrespecting Mom. Yes, being overly harsh and demanding can also cause a child to rebel. But as a parent, your job is to insist your child respect and obey you. It shocks and saddens us to watch a Mom yell to her child, “Red light, red light” as the child does something wrong, hitting their sister, or running towards the street. The child keeps running through the red lights, yet Mom is sure they will grow out of their disobedience as they get older. Yet even if it were possible to “grow out of disobedience,” Mom has set the stage for regular disrespect because their child was never taught to listen to her or respect her.
How many homes are filled with teens backtalking to their parents and doing the opposite of what they are told. Moms and Dads, if you cannot get a two year old to obey you, forget about getting them to obey you when they are teens and you can no longer pick them up and make them obey.
#3: Teach your children to acknowledge and accept a command.
As we raised our children, we did not simply tell them to do something. We often had them look us in the eye and say, “Okay, Daddy.” Training obedience and respect demands that you get your child’s attention away from their play things and onto you, and to accept the request or command you have just given to them. “Slow obedience is disobedience” and often a purposeful lack of respect.
#4: Train your child to speak respectfully to you.
“No!” We heard that word exclaimed as a response to a request one time, maybe twice from our children. Pick up your toys and go get ready for bed. “No!” Yes, we spanked for defiance and willful disobedience. After hearing all the invalid reasons why parents should not spank by our woke friends on the internet, we would change nothing about the way we disciplined our children. Not only did we have some of the kindest, respectful, and obedient children, each one has turned out to be successful in their own ways in this difficult world. We received many compliments from their teachers at AWANA, Sunday School and throughout High School, and beyond, about how respectful our children were in their classes. This achievement begins at a very early age by training them to respect your wishes and commands. It is a part of training children in godliness.
And when they get to their teen years, teach them that “Oh, Mom!” is not a respectful response. Instead, they must ask Mom if they can discuss the matter, for which Mom generally says “yes” precisely because they were respectful, and we are teaching them to be adults. But moaning, groaning, and the rolling of eyes should be met with a swift and decisive response. “If you are going to roll your eyes, the answer is definitely ‘No’ and you need to talk to Dad about your disrespect tonight.”
“Honor (respect) your father and mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). “You shall honor the father and mother, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19).
#5: Train your child to respond with respect.
They should learn at a very young age to say “please” and “thank you.” They must ask if they can be excused from the table. We had our associate pastor and his wife over for lunch Sunday, and it was a delight see the training in respect that the children already achieved at ages four and six, and see the training continue throughout the meal. “Say thank you to Mr. Alexander.” “Say please may I be excused?”
We are not ones who taught our children to say, “Yes Ma’am” or “No Sir,” but we did teach them to say, “No Mom” or “Yes Dad” in a respectful way when speaking to us. In doing so, we were training them to respect our position and our loving connection together.
#6: Parents must show respect to each other.
Remember modeling and that your children are watching you? How do we expect our children to learn respect when Dad and Mom are being disrespectful towards each other? Snide and cutting remarks, yelling, cold shoulders, and unkind words exchanged between parents tells a child all they need to know. Mom and Dad want me to be respectful, yet they are not respectful themselves.
“Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).
It really does not get any clearer than this passage when it comes to how we are to treat each other in our homes. But far too often sin has infiltrated our Christian homes with a stressed out Dad who is far too often angry, upset or short with Mom. Or Mom has caught the virus of feminism to the point where she believes the only way to gain the respect she wants and deserves from her husband is to regularly put him down in front of the family, and sometimes friends. Often behind our “teasing” with our spouse is a dig of disrespect where everyone gets the point except for the one who just gave the disrespectful remark. In her mind she is just keeping the playing field level, when in reality she is not willing to respect the role and authority God has given to guide her home and marriage.
Our children are in trouble because too many of our marriages are in trouble. Make it a point to never show disrespect towards each other in front of the children. “Speak the truth in love” is what we are commanded of God to do, and if our truth is going to be disrespectful or is a correction, it is not loving to say it in front of others.
Dads need to treat Mom with respect and not say “Ewe!” when she cooks or bakes something that did not turn out well. When she makes mistakes or spends too much, taking her to task in front of the children will destroy much of any teaching done to children on this important matter of respect because we are not practicing what we teach.
But Moms, you do not realize that in many ways you hold the key to whether your children will grow up to respect themselves and others because your example holds even greater weight than Dad’s. When Dad does say “Ewe” or takes you to task in front of the kids, is your response loving and respectful? Do you talk to your children about how much you admire Dad and how hard he works? How you reverence your man will have the greatest impact on how your children will learn love and respect.
Each time when he walks into the room do you look up from your book, or phone, and give him a big smile? When a child complains about Dad, do you defend him and build him up in their eyes? Do you return an unkind remark or cold shoulder with a kind word or a hug? It should no longer come as a surprise that we are to be missionaries in our own homes and that begins by choosing to do all things Christian, including enduring some suffering for a short time so that God may be glorified.
So much of what my wife regularly teaches to those who will listen goes back to not simply trying to rescue women and marriages, but also the children who are being lost from the Church. The greatest sign of disrespect to God and children is when a marriage ends in divorce. Vows of lifetime of love are piled on a scrap heap left for angry children to try and overcome the rest of their lives. And why? It most often comes down to hardness of heart and pride. The world tells us to defend ourselves and make sure we are treated as equals, yet Jesus tells us to humble ourselves as lowly servants, laying aside what is perhaps owed to us by others for the glory of God. Just like Jesus.
Let’s learn to be like Jesus and teach our children the same. He gave up everything for us so that we might live and be children in the family of God. Let’s not only act like God has made us to be, but let’s train our children to be who God wants them to be: loving, humble, respectful and righteous children of God.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.