How to Be Respectful of Your Parents
Sometimes it may seem like your parents don’t understand, and that can lead to a negative relationship with them. Despite that, it is important to remain respectful toward your parents. If you want to show your parents more respect, you can easily reevaluate your thoughts and actions towards your parents to ensure that you’re treating them with the kindness they deserve.
Changing Your Thoughts and Feelings About Your Parents
Be grateful.Gratitude is simply being thankful and appreciative for what you have.Aside from bringing you into the world, parents sacrifice time, energy, and effort in order to make sure your needs and wants are met. Showing them that you appreciate their efforts demonstrates a level of respect towards them.
- Tell them face-to-face. The easiest way to show gratitude is to thank them and tell them that you appreciate who they are and what they do.
- Do something small but meaningful. For example, clean the kitchen after dinner or take the trash out without being asked. Parents will notice and appreciate your acts of kindness.
- Compliment them on something they do well. For instance, tell your mom how great of a cook she is, or tell your dad how awesome he is at his job.
Understand differing perspectives.Respecting different opinions is a lifelong skill that is used in everything from politics to careers. Just because you choose to understand where your parents are coming from, does not mean that you lose your beliefs. Instead, looking at situations from their perspective can help both parties understand and accept a bit more about each other.
- Ask your parents questions to learn more about them. Understand that your parents are from a different generation and a lot changes with time. Engaging them in conversation will help bridge the gap in order to understand each other better.
- Keep a journal about your interactions with your parents. By re-reading a journal, you'll see things with more honesty instead of reinterpreting events in a way that benefits only you.
- Talk to an unbiased party. Talking to someone who has nothing to gain can help you see things from others' perspectives, including that of your parents. Learning to see "where they are coming from" helps in building a mutually respectful relationship.
Value their wisdom.Wisdom is known as the ability to integrate knowledge and an understanding of life in order to tackle all of the uncertainties which may come your way.Believe it or not, much of what you have experienced as a child or teen, your parents have experienced as well. For this reason, it is important to recognize that they have knowledge and judgement which should be respected.
- As an example, if you were to visit a doctor, you would want someone who had the experience and training to diagnose and treat your illness. The same is true for parents. Learning to see them as professionals at life will help you to develop a different level of respect for them.
Remember how much they love you.There is no way to put into numbers or percentages how much a parent loves a child.Not only do they give life to their children, but they raise them, provide them with guidance, help them overcome obstacles, give of themselves and love them unconditionally. As children, we often forget how much they have done in our lives. Taking a second to think of their love and support can help to build bonds of love and respect.
- Recognize that when parents seem to be getting in your way, they are, but with good reason. Parents often act as a shield to protect their kids from anything they consider to be harmful.
- Because parents love you they are concerned about your future success. When parents perceive your behavior as something that threatens to limit your potential achievement, it can often cause conflict in your relationship. Realize that it usually comes from a place of love.
Changing Your Behavior Towards Your Parents
Follow rules.As children, we often don't agree with the rules our parents have set, but we don't have the foresight to realize that the rules are in place for a reason. Rules matter because as people we are interdependent; when you disregard rules there are consequences which not only affect you, but others as well (including your parents).Following rules demonstrates to your parents that you respect their foresight and judgement.
- Be clear about expectations. Know what your parents' rules are so you can avoid any confusion and avoid accidentally breaking rules.
- Take a second to stop and think about the consequences. Think about what ripple effect your actions may have and how it will impact you and those around you. Ask yourself if it is really worth it.
Practice good manners.Manners aren't just about which fork to use at the dinner table; manners demonstrate a sensitive awareness of others' feelings. Caring enough to be polite towards your parents, who you've known your entire life, shows a level of respect and reverence.
- Say "please," and "thank you." Words are powerful and each of those words carries meaning. Aside from being polite, it shows a level of gratitude and appreciation which are both part of respecting your parents.
- Watch your language. Be careful about the topics of conversations and your word choice around your parents. Parents always think of their children as their babies (regardless of how old they are). They would prefer to see them through a clean and pure lens.
Spend time with them.At some point in your life (especially your teenage years), you would rather do anything other than spend time with your parents, and your parents know and accept this. But imagine how much love, admiration, and respect they would feel if you chose to spend some unexpected quality time with them.
- Tap into their interests. Take an interest in what your parents do in their spare time. Whether it's sports, dancing, music, or gardening, ask them questions and show them that you are taking an interest in them.
- Make them a priority by choosing to spend time with them over your friends once in a while. They'll really appreciate the gesture.
Show them affection.As we get older, we tend to forget to give hugs and kisses to those we love. By choosing to be close to your parents through physical displays of affection, it shows that you recognize, respect, and appreciate their position as parents and caregivers.
- Tell your parents you love them at random times and not just when expected or when you want something.
- Give your parents random hugs or kisses just because. If they ask what the unexpected action was for tell them something like, "just because you're you."
Improving Communication With Your Parents
Don't talk back.Backtalk is a disrespectful response to a parent in the form of yelling, cursing, eye rolling, or even sarcasm.It occurs as a way to fight back, but all it does is create conflict. Learning to manage knee-jerk reactions helps to show parents that you respect their authority.
- Recognize the problem first. If you realize the problem and want to change it, you've already taken the biggest step. It takes maturity to understand the differing perspectives and reactions between kids and parents.
- Apologize to your parents. Admit to your parents that you have disrespected them, and ask them for their assistance as you attempt to change your behavior.
- Take a mental "time-out." The next time you are tempted to say something disrespectful, take a second to regroup before speaking from emotion alone. Take into consideration what your parents are saying, and where they are coming from.
Watch your body language.The majority of our communication comes from not what we say, but how we say it. It's in the tone of your voice, your eye contact, and the way you move.Be sure that your nonverbal signals demonstrate respect and understanding.
- Avoid crossing your arms. This shows that you are defensive and not open to communicating.
- Watch your tone. Avoid being sarcastic or raising the tone of your voice. This shows that emotions are beginning to take over instead of logic. Try speaking in a calm and controlled manner instead.
- Make eye contact. This shows that you are genuine in what you are saying and that you are interested in hearing what your parents have to say as well.
Don't bring up the past.In the heat of discussions, you may veer off point and discuss any and everything that is causing you anger, pain, or stress. Try to stay focused on a single point of discussion so you can work through your problems one at a time without getting overwhelmed.
- Check for unresolved problems before beginning a conversation. If you know you're holding onto anger or pain, they can be a hindrance to effective communication. Clear up any unresolved issues (one at a time) before attempting to move forward.
- At the beginning of your conversation, make an agreement with your parents that you will only focus on one issue at a time. If either of you seems to be straying from the topic, politely remind each other to stay on topic.
Agree to disagree.Parents are not always right, but that doesn't mean you have to be disrespectful in the process of proving your point. Instead of getting into a shouting match with your parents, calmly and rationally get them to see your point of view.
- Write it out. Consider what point you're trying to get across to your parents, and write out reasons and examples that will support your argument.
- Talk to them at a later time. Reschedule your discussion for a time when emotions aren't running high. Instead, choose a time when your parents aren't busy or stressed to sit down and calmly present your argument.
- Use "I" statements to get your point across without being defensive. "I" statements consist of the behavior that is bothering you, how it makes you feel, and what needs to change.. For example, instead of saying, "you never listen to me" you could replace the statement with "I feel as if I'm not being heard, and I would like my opinion to matter more."
QuestionI make rude faces without realizing it, which annoys my parents. How can I stop?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou've already taken the first step in being aware of the problem. The next step is to make sure that you take note of your emotions as you are making these faces. Are you angry? Upset? Frustrated? Annoyed? By being more self-aware of your emotions and your body's responses, you can change both your thoughts and your physical body language to be less negative.Thanks!
QuestionMy kids bully me now that I'm older. What can I do to stop this?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMany of the steps that are mentioned in the article can be used from parents towards children. Keep open lines of communication, understand that children often have different perspectives than parents, and try to be understanding. While you have every right to demand respect from your children, try to do so in a non-threatening, non-angry manner. Be firm, but fair in your interactions with your children.Thanks!
- Parents work hard every day to make sure you have both your needs and your wants met. They deserve your respect; even if you don't always get along, show them respect and tell them that you appreciate them.
- Buy them random gifts and treats, even if it's not a special occasion. A small box of chocolates, or a bottle of wine, can show just how much you care.
- Keep in mind that parents aren't perfect. They've made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes. Learn to love them unconditionally, just as they do towards you.
- Remember that you only get one set of parents. Treat them well why they are still around to appreciate it.
- You only live once. Show your parents how much you love them before they're gone.
Sources and Citations
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