In the family culture I was raised in, children were treated as property, taught to value power and control and respect was demanded. Though I’ve learned children are not in equal status in this game of life, they are equal in being worthy of honor and respect. I believe being raised in this type of a family culture limited my human rights. My self worth was damaged, my critical thinking was obstructed and I lost true respect for the adults in my family.
So when by my Uncle found himself saying to me (as an adult), “I am just as old of you today as I was the day you were born;” should have been a clear indication to him that our relationship was in trouble. It is my opinion that his statement meant that though I may have been an adult, he still considered me to be a child and I should respect him as one. He felt I should stand down to him; simply because he was older than me. I found his statement to be very disrespectful.
I was taught it was a right for an adult to disrespect a child. I’ve come to learn that giving respect to others require self control and respect is a two-way street. I believe the most powerful tool in teaching children respect, is being respectful in how you treat others; especially them. As an adult, guided by my natural instinct “to be the change I wanted to see,” it was imperative for me to show respect to not only my Son, but all other children.
Because of my belief and practice “to treat people the way I want to be treated,” I’ve always been that person who children felt comfortable being around, was worthy enough to trust and trusting enough to.
I’ve come to learn a key element to a healthy family is mutual respect; being able to treat another person in the manner that you want that person to treat you. If you want respect from a person, you must give respect to that person. I believe the respect I have for children; especially my Son was instrumental in them feeling understood, valued, powerful and loved.
A sign of breaking an unhealthy family cycle is seeing my Son exhibiting,
encouraging and reinforcing mutual respect with his children.