Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Love is a Given, Respect is Earned

That's a quote from Earl Woods (Tiger Woods' Dad).  I don't remember when I heard it first, but  it was before I had kids.  Still it stuck with me.  Once I had kids I realized how true it is.  Of course we love our kids.  And they love their parents. But respect is different.

When Earl was talking about it, he meant parents love their kids unconditionally but the respect has to be earned (not sure if he would respect the dog Tiger became after he died, but that's another topic).  Still lately I've been thinking more about kids respecting their parents (specifically me) and parents respecting their kids.  Yes, my kids love me, we start almost everyday with hugs and snuggles in my bed and heartfelt hugs throughout the day and before tucking them in at night.  But respect, well, some days I don't feel I have earned it, mostly because I haven't showed it to them. 

When I have to ask my kids repeatedly to do something that they know I expect of them.  When they disregard our longstanding rules, I feel like they are not respecting me.  I hate to be a nag, and I encourage my children's independence, but after a while certain rules/chores should be a given.  And yes them obeying rules is a sign of respect to me. 

What I've realized lately though is that when they don't respect me, part of it is, I am not respecting them and their feelings as much as I should.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not planning on giving them run of the house, but I do need to find an appropriate middle ground.  Taking the time to listen to them, and really engage them. I have to admit this is hardest with Little Hugger as she's at that longwinded age of story telling and I often end up finding my mind wandering and not really listening until I realize she's done and asked me a question about what she just said.  She is also the one that tests me the most and I understand enough to know those things are related.  I need to work harder to really listen, and earn her respect again. 

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