Gaining a Child’s Respect

dsc00336A few years back I asked Mom what she remembers of the hard parts of raising my 3 brothers and me. She didn’t hesitate and said, “Y’all are wonderful. I couldn’t be prouder. I only have good memories of each one of you.”

It wasn’t the answer I expected. Her memories of me are better than my memories of me. When I expressed surprise, her response gave clarity, “Besides, you were children.”

Besides, you were children. Without a doubt, my brothers and I wore Mom out some days. She remembers VICTORIES, not the draining skirmishes.

dsc00337Our first experience with disrespect from a child throws us off. It’s like a switch got flipped:  I don’t know what’s happened. . .  He used to just do what I said. . .  I know she hears me when I call her. . .  Now he uses this tone with me. . .

When we’re in the thick of it—teaching our child to listen, follow rules, obey a direction—it is discouraging and disappointing to receive disrespect. It hurts. However, I don’t think hurt registers first in our heart. We feel frustration; we didn’t get what we want. Or, if we’re really honest, we didn’t get what we think we deserve–respect.

Our child needs us to help him learn what respect is—what it looks like, how it feels to receive it, and what it says to the person he respects. Our home is the primary training ground.

Respect is built. We have to gain our child’s respect. Today, I’ve released the 11th video in “The Will” series. It’s less than 10 minutes, so listen or watch and pass it along to your friends!

Here’s Video #11 Six Practical Ways to Gain a Child’s Respect.

Here’s Audio #11.

Hidden In Plain View


“I’ve already done one lap.”

I had just joined Ellison in the Bed, Bath and Beyond store. NOT his kind of store, but he had a gift receipt and wanted to use it before he moved to Mississippi. I was excited that he let me tag along.

“I’ve already done one lap.”

He did not mean, ‘I’ve done a lap, I’m warmed up, let’s do some shopping!’ He meant “I’ve given this place a lap of my time; I’ve checked it out. Let’s do this – select and go.”

I laughed, enjoying my son.

I HEARD him. I appreciated what he meant.
He’s moved now, but his words echo and my heart smiles. I only wish I knew years ago what I know now…


We place our children in a setting. They express themselves through words, attitude or conduct. And so often, we react. Why?

Because they’re not being who want them to be right now.

Attempting to climb from the shopping buggy or wrestle free of our hand (toddler version)
“How much longer???” – sounding like a plea for mercy. (young child version)
“I’m staying in the car.” (adolescent peaceful demonstration approach)
“How about if you use the gift receipt and give me the money?” (the teenage twist)
….. “I’ve already done one lap.”

Sometimes my expectations were age appropriate. And when necessary, correction fair.
But sometimes I was wrong.

I think that had I listened, I would have learned _ more.
I know I would have enjoyed many moments _ more.
Appreciated each child’s effort to express … and then moved forward from there.

Look at their face, tune in to their tone, consider their age and stage of life.
Momentarily stand in both worlds – theirs and ours – for perspective to move forward.
Seek God’s perspective. It’s always available.

Learn to decipher what they’re not saying with words, but showing.
Learn what God is showing us – about our self, our child, HIM, and our 3-way relationship.
Learn to love our child deeply where he is. For this is how God loves us.

…because some of the greatest treasures are hidden in plain view.