How often have you been approached in conversation by a friend or family member with their arms in the air and frustrated that their kids just don’t respect them? In my experience this is usually coming from someone wearing a messy bun, three-day fresh yoga pants and lunch’s chip crumbs. I try to explain the problem as gently as I can and the fix starts with the adult in the situation. As always kids are held accountable for their words and actions, but when it comes to commanding respect and authority it holds that the person demanding that respect will hold up their part. Have you ever been pulled over by a police man in yoga pants? Have you ever seen a lawyer, doctor or manager with food stains and messy hair? If you have, then you know exactly what I’m talking about because I’ll wager that your opinion of the fellow was not high either.
Our kids don’t live in a vacuum. Every day they encounter numerous people and have a flood of information from the television and internet. Some of these people we tell them are in charge, such as police men, doctors, teachers and the principle. We expect these people to command authority through their actions and demeanor. The secret here is that in order to demand respect from others you must first respect yourself!
Dr. David J. Schwartz lays out this situation neatly in his book The Magic of Thinking Big. This book is designed to help people re-imagine their boundaries so that they can accomplish more in their personal and professional lives. One of my favorite principles in this book is the idea that you will earn plus or minus ten percent of what you believe your worth. This is more than just money, when it comes to your kids and marriage the way you see yourself will influence the way you carry yourself, the way you dress, and the way you talk. This in turn will affect how others perceive you and value what you have to say.
Appearance is pretty straight forward. The days of unconditional love from your kid are short and about the time they go to school and begin to see a world outside of your own is when it begins to diminish. This isn’t a bad thing, we want them to have high and realistic expectations of the world and the people they allow to influence their decision making. Even a stay at home parent should get out of bed, make the bed, and dress for the day. Every day!
By dressing for the day and running an organized home you show your kids that you are serious about your work. In turn you will be amazed at how much more productive you are because you will feel better prepared for what the day throws at you. As your kids transition to teenage years and they think heavily on what they are going to do with their own lives this becomes crucial. At that point, they have a personal image of what their adult selves look like and you don’t want that to be at odds with the family portrait. If it is you will find them begin to pull away and distance themselves from you. If their personal image is not one that you like or they need to be more ambitious, then this is your time as parent and mentor to shape and mold that image into something they can set as a goal.
If you’re the boss then talk like a boss. Remember parents, we don’t negotiate with terrorists! If your kids are throwing temper tantrums and one of the parents has already made an executive decision then stick to it. There is nothing worse than divided parents when it comes to discipline. That being said don’t be close minded. Like any good boss you also have to be open and willing to reevaluate your decision in light of new facts or if it is not achieving your desired response.
Buy half as many
Dr. David Schwartz also said, “Spend twice as much and buy half as many.” I love this quote because it can be applied to the whole situation. When it comes to your appearance save your money to shop at the higher end stores. You will be able to shop there only half as often but you will be able to purchase higher quality goods that will look better and last twice as long. This quote is also about how you speak to your kids. Don’t be a nag that is after them 24/7 about every single detail in their lives. If chores are due on Friday then remind them once or twice and drop it. If they don’t get done they pay the consequence in your discipline system. If you save your words for the truly important things then they will be twice the quality and carry twice the weight! Furthermore, they will actually hear them instead of tuning out the back-ground noise.
Please share this post and your own thoughts and experiences below! Stay dapper my friends!