50 years ago, the education of children in homes was very rigid. It was believed that they owed their parents absolute respect and that they should obey them at all times, so their opinions, preferences and feelings were often ignored. Today, the way of understanding early childhood education has changed a lot. Now children are considered an important part of the family and, although they are also required to respect adults, their needs, motivations and wishes are prioritized.
However, in moving from deeply rigid and authoritarian parenting to a model in which children become the center of family care and attention, many parents have adopted an overly permissive parenting style. In fact, it is not surprising that one of the most frequent complaints of many parents is about the lack of trust and respect that characterizes the relationship with their children.
It is worth noting that obedience based on submission is not healthy, but neither is excessive permissiveness. Children also need some rules and limits to feel safe and make sense of their world. The good news is that there are many ways to educate children to respect and create a solid relationship based on trust, without resorting to an extremely rigid education.
7 keys to creating a relationship of trust and respect with children
There are many ways to educate a child without having to resort to threats and punishments. The key is to listen more to the little ones to understand their behavior, dedicate time to the relationship and establish few rules that children can understand. These are other keys that can help you:
1. Correct childish behavior, but assertively
There are different ways to correct children’s behavior. It is very different to say “Shut up, you are bothering me” to “Please, can you be quiet, I need to concentrate?”. Your words and behaviors can make a difference and set an example for children on how to relate respectfully. Therefore, do not be shy about correcting your children’s behavior, but do so with sensitivity and using the right words.
2. Use punishment, but make sure it’s educational
Sometimes it is necessary to punish children to correct recurrent negative behavior. However, the fear generated by punishment is not educational, it is important that your children understand the reasons, that is, that they understand what they have done wrong and why. You should also provide them with alternative behaviors so they know how to behave in a similar situation in the future. And remember, never use phrases that humiliate the little ones or that put labels on them such as: “It’s not done that way, you’re useless” or “You’re very clumsy.” Those phrases can damage your self-esteem for life.
3. Become a good role model
When children are young, they learn primarily by imitation. That means that the example of parents is essential for them to behave respectfully with others. If you make a mistake, apologize to them. If you are angry about their behavior, try to remain calm and listen to what they have to say. If they ask you why you are angry, sad or worried, be honest and explain what is happening in a simple way. If children see that you respect each other at home and are honest with each other, they will surely imitate this behavior and become people who establish relationships based on trust and mutual respect.
4. Do not repress their emotions, teach them to express them
Emotions are natural reactions that convey the deepest feelings of children, so they should never be prohibited from expressing them. Avoid saying phrases like “children don’t cry” or “you shouldn’t get angry.” Instead, children must learn that all emotional reactions, even negative ones, are totally valid. Of course, it is important that you teach them to express them in the most assertive way possible through self-control techniques, anger management and body expression exercises.
5. Embrace sincerity
To respect someone you need to trust that person. Therefore, if you want to gain the trust and respect of children, it is important that you trust each other. Do not lie to them or cheat on them because they will feel disappointed and betrayed. If kids think they can’t trust you, not only won’t they respect you, but they won’t be honest with you either. So always tell them the truth, even when it’s hard to explain. In these cases, try to find the best words so that your child can understand what is happening, but do not hide anything from him since in your attempt to protect them you could lose his trust.
6. Establish clear rules of coexistence
In any home it is important that members respect each other and have their personal space, including children. They must learn from an early age that they should not disturb others or invade their space without their consent, in the same way that other people should respect their personal space. It is worth noting that this is also valid for younger children or pets that live in the home. Establishing basic rules of coexistence not only helps to organize the day to day, but also guarantees common respect and trust between family members.
7. Ask for their opinion and respect their decisions
As children grow, it is important that you take into account their opinions. In this way, you not only show yourself more receptive to their ideas and wishes, but also let them know that their opinion matters, which will reinforce their self-esteem and self-worth in the long term while laying the foundations for creating a relationship based on trust and respect. mutual. Therefore, whenever possible, ask them what they think about the decisions that directly affect them. When you do not share their decision or it is not possible for you to take it into account, let them know that despite this they can always count on you and that you will be by their side to support them when they need it most.