Is it getting harder to raise respectful well-mannered children? Or are we just getting lazy? Is it a result of social evolution? More rights; a greater voice; more responsibilities; better understanding of the effects of various ‘parenting styles’ on young minds; more children in daycare; more independence; less social interaction - more texting, more Facebook, more Twitter? Whatever the reason…it’s a pet hate of mine.
What happened to “welcome to Hungry Jacks, please place your order when you’re ready”?…when did it become “Place you order….Drive to the next window” ?
When did it become ok for kids to sit and adults to stand?
What changed and made it ‘normal’ for the elderly man down the road to be abused by a gang of youths? What happened to kids running scared when they heard “get off my lawn or I’ll tell your father”? When did they become so ‘empowered’ that they instead choose to respond with a threat to “beat his head in” for simply defending his own property?
I don’t want to look back in fifteen years and be responsible for having raised one of these kids. But I’m scared about all the pressures I will be up against in trying to ensure it doesn’t happen. Are his friends’ parents going to band together with my husband and me on the no mobile phone rule for pre-teens or the decision as to what age it is appropriate to catch a train into town, or go to the movies with friends? Will we be supported by the majority in our rules surrounding internet usage and access to their own spending money? Will our expectations of their contributions to our household be rebuked by some new statute regarding the freedom of rights for young people?
I want to raise my children to have a voice and to believe in themselves and chase their dreams - but not at the expense of respecting others and supporting their peers. It’s a fine line between ‘dog-eat-dog’, and making some sacrifices in order to achieve your goals. It’s a fine line between having a voice, and being disrespectful to the beliefs and feelings of others. I want to raise children who show consideration for others’ opinions, but who have enough strength in their own convictions to stay true to themselves. Children who will show respect even in the face of rudeness. Boys who will say “good morning, Sir” to the old man down the street, and who will walk on the footpath instead of across his lawn.
So here’s what I’m going to try and do. I’m going to encourage my kids to get out and get talking and not to build their entire social relationships from behind their computer screen or mobile phone. I’m going to get them involved in charities and try to expose them to lives that differ to theirs. I will insist on good manners, on “may I please?” on “thank you”…on the often forgotten ‘you’re welcome”. I will try (as hard as it may be) to get to know my children’s friends’ parents and to work together to be united in our expectations and boundaries. I will insist that they treat their grandparents and their aunties and uncles with respect at all times, for this will provide the foundation for all their future relationships. And lastly, I will try my best to recognise when I am falling short and when I need help. Setting clear boundaries is something my free-spirited nature struggles with…I will work on this.
What are some other things we can do to help raise respectful children? Comment below.