Respect – Fundamentals of Disciplining

It was time for children to leave for home. A mother, who had come to pick up her daughter, came to me with her daughter and asked, “What makes you work with children, what makes you ‘tick’ with them”. I was about to say my standard answer, “Because I love them”. However suddenly the child tugged her mother’s dress and said, “Mamma lets go”. The lady turned to her child and in a curt voice reprimanded her, “can’t you see I am talking to Uncle, how many times have I told you not to interrupt when I am talking to elders. Bad manners”

It was at that very moment that I realised that it was not ‘love’ that made us work with children, but it wasRESPECT . If I was in the mother’s place I would have responded with, “Yes, dear, you must be hungry, I will hurry up with uncle” or something similar.

I would have respected the child needs. Just as I would like others to respect my needs.

Do you mind if a child disturbs you when you are doing something, but at the same time you find it is perfectly okay that you barge in when the child is doing something?
Do you often think that is important that we control children, yet it is not acceptable when children try to control a situation?

Somewhere we are operating from a pedestal. Somewhere we thing that we up here and children are down there. That is why we think that need to be controlled, told, scolded, and punished. Somewhere we think we are superior, we know more and hence the need to ‘drive them’.

But what would happen if we consider them as equals. What will happen if we treated them with respect, worked with them as if they are AS EQUAL AS us. What will we get if we were to give RESPECT.

Somewhere the moment I respect the child, the child feels respected. A child who feels respected, is much more open to listen, to understand, to follow (the right things), to cooperate and to make things better.

Imagine how would we be in a place where we are not respected, as compared to a place where we are? When do we feel respected? When our thoughts, feelings and actions all are respected? When our own individuality and identify is respected? Respect isn’t about intelligence or capability or wisdom. Respect is all about considering that we are all at par. None is smaller or bigger.

Check this out:

  1. How many times do I seek children’s opinion?
  2. How many times do I respect children’s choices?
  3. How many times do I ask for children’s permission?
  4. How many times do I see children’s point of view?
  5. How many times do I understand children’s needs?

If we are operating from a relationship of “equal” we in a one approach not only give the child respect and dignity, we also empower the child with responsibility, capability and resourcefulness. Obviously the child will think, feel and act better. And we will be better off too!

If you lead through fear you will have little respect;
but if you lead through respect, you will have little to fear.