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Does Summer have you pulling your hair out with the kids being disrespectful? Are they still showing unwanted behaviors that they learned in school? Here we will work to correct that with the Show Respect Boot Camp!
What is Respect?
As Aretha Franklin would say, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.” Respect is a way of treating or thinking about a person. If you respect someone, you show them by listening, obeying, politeness, etc. All generations believe that the next generation doesn't show as much respect as their generation did. However, there is a big difference between an authoritarian parenting style and a gentle approach to gaining respect.
Authoritarian vs. Authoritative (Gentle Parenting)
Authoritarian parenting is where the parents assert their authority over their children. Children are not allowed to have an option; instead, they are expected to follow and obey all rules that their parents layout, or there will be consequences for their behavior. The consequences are often more of a punishment than a correction.
Authoritative, better known as gentle parenting, has rules, and the parents enforce consequences, but they put more effort into teaching their children what their expectations are and giving their children more of an opinion on the day-to-day expectations. Authoritative parents put in a lot of work to prevent bad behaviors before they start. They will likely offer positive discipline strategies to encourage good behavior, like praise and rewards.
Where do Boot Camps Fit?
I am a die-hard advocate for Gentle Parenting! I believe that children can be communicated with and shaped into the person you want them to be. By using simple methods to help your child understand the rewards associated with good behavior and the consequences of bad behavior, you are essentially setting them up to want to behave in a good way.
However, we all know that kids will not consistently respond to one parenting style all the time. They will push their boundaries. Due to that, I started doing boot camps to get my kids' behavior back where I wanted it. These are fast-tracked and hyper-focused days where you focus solely on correcting the issue. They are more authoritarian in nature, but only in short bursts to get the attention you need to get the correction you desire.
What is Disrespect?
Disrespect is awful. A child, teen, adult, or elder not showing respect to another person is one of the foulest character traits you can deliver. Being respectful and kind is not hard, but it is a learned behavior skewed in the last few years.
I teach my children the Golden Rule: “Treat Others How You Want Them to Treat You.” When they fire back with, “well, they did it first,” I stop my kids in their tracks and remind them that we do not act like everyone else. We are to be the bigger person and to treat people with kindness and respect. If someone doesn't stop disrespecting them, they are encouraged to separate themselves from the situation.
Examples of Disrespect
If your child goes to a sports practice and runs around wildly, not listening to their coach, that is disrespect. A child responding to their parent's request with “no,” or “I don't want to” is a sign of disrespect. Not caring about another person's feelings is a sign of disrespect.
Disrespect is an act against another person to make them feel insufficient, inadequate, or belittled. If you allow your children to be disrespectful at a young age, they are also destined to be disrespectful later in life.
Prep Work for the Show Respect Boot Camp
Take it from Barnie Fife, “You've gotta nip it in the bud…” When teaching your children the importance of respect, it is best to start early and intentionally. Before this boot camp, you need to arm yourself with the following tools:
- Know what behaviors you define as disrespectful and that your children need to correct.
- Decide on your consequence!
- How will you grab your child's attention to show them you will not tolerate disrespect?
- This could be taking away a favorite item, sending them for a reset, or having them complete chores.
- We used a series of consequences when we did this boot camp. One consequence will probably not be enough to transform your child into a respectful child fully. Have a few in your pocket to be prepared!
- While the steps to this boot camp are similar to our 3-Day Boot Camp for Correcting Bad Behavior, there are differences:
- The Correcting Bad Behavior Boot Camp is much more intense. This boot camp is ideal for correcting more of an attitude/behavior issue rather than just showing you and others respect.
- The Show Respect Boot Camp is intended to be completed in a day or two. It is relaxed but exact.
The Show Respect Boot Camp
1- Start First Thing
To gain your child's attention, you want to ensure that you start this boot camp first in the morning. As soon as your child shows disrespect, be prepared with the consequence. Please don't give any warnings, and don't ask them to correct their behavior. Let them know that you are not putting up with the disrespect anymore and implement your consequence.
2- Be Calm but Confident
You do not want to lose your cool with your child. Remember, this is a boot camp. We are using a short amount of time to get quick results. If you fly off the handle with your kids, you are not helping the situation. Take a breath and communicate clearly with your child.
On the other hand, you want to sound confident. Unwavering. Your children need to know that you mean business, so they don't start to test their boundaries. Stand firm and again communicate with them.
3- Know What You are Correcting
You want to be able to correct your children as soon as they show disrespect. What does disrespect look like to you? You need to ask yourself this question to have specific parameters for what behavior you are correcting. You don't want to harp on your kids all day for every little thing. Instead, you want to be precise on the disrespect you disapprove of.
4- Additional Consequences
When we started the Show Respect Boot Camp recently, my first consequence was taking away their tablets. If they showed more disrespect, which they did, I would send them to their room for a reset. Remember, our goal is to get their attention.
If taking away a beloved item, and sending your kids for a reset, doesn't get them out of their disrespect zone, get creative. We took away toys at bedtime, took away time in the pool, and even lowered the number of stuffed animals they could have in bed.
Another option is to show your kids some tough love. If they continue to show disrespect, let them know that it hurts your feelings and makes you not want to play with them. Then put it into action. If your child tries to joke with you, don't respond. If they ask for something that isn't vital to their survival, tell them you don't want to help due to their disrespect. Kids react to emotional changes in people. Don't take it overboard, but incorporate it if your child won't respond to the other tactics.
Remember, this is a boot camp. Let's get results in as little time as possible.
5- Enforce Respect in their Room
As stated, I typically use a reset for our consequence when going through boot camps. If you also choose this method, you must require your children to be respectful when in their room. When you get your children into their room, take the time to tell them how they are expected to behave while resetting and tell them how long the reset will be. We usually start with 5 minutes and increase in 5-minute increments for each additional reset.
Each time you correct your child, you must communicate how they were disrespectful. Let them know your expectations for them to show respect. After their consequence, you need to let them know how to avoid that consequence in the future.
If you took something away from your child, do not give it back for at least 24 hours. Tell your child that you expect them to earn the item back. Always tell them what they can do to show respect:
- First Time Obedience
- Yes ma'am/No ma'am
- Being a good sibling
- Being a good student
- Listening more than talking
- Sharing more than taking
- Helping more than demanding
- Being a team player (In our house, we are Team Stringer)
- And on, and on, and on
7- As Respect Grows, Include Rewards
When your child starts to show you respect, reward them! The reward does not have to be a tangible reward. Children respond so well to being praised! Thank them for showing you respect. Let them know that you see that they have first-time obedience. If they practiced well, let them know you are proud of them. Also, don't forget to include some high fives and thumbs up!
8- Rinse and Repeat
My kids responded to this boot camp in a day. We used enough attention-grabbing consequences to get them back in shape. However, we all know that kids will start to test their boundaries. When that happens, revert to your initial corrections with consequences. Rinse and repeat. You have already reaped the benefits of this boot camp once, and you can do it again!
Things to Remember
While we all like to focus on gentle parenting, boot camps are intended to be a shock to your kids. After days of trying to get your kids to show you respect gently, it's time to be intentional and get results. If your children are used to a gentle parenting approach, a boot camp will be just enough change to get them back on track.
Boot camps do not go for days and weeks on end. They are short and intense to get fast results. It is OK to be firm and confident with your children. A boot camp will not undo all of the gentle parenting tactics you have implemented. Rather, the boot camp process will allow your children to recognize a new parenting tactic. They will notice quickly that you mean business. If they want their gentle parenting back, they will abide by the boundaries and rules you set.
The Show Respect Boot Camp is intended to shock your kids. While gentle parenting is a fantastic method of parenting, there will be times when you need to wrangle your kids back into reality. What is that reality? You are in charge and require a certain level of respect.
Think about it this way; gentle parenting is essentially giving your children respect as you parent them. If your child is not returning that respect, it's time to get serious. You will benefit, your child will benefit, and people around your family will benefit. Complete the prep work, do the boot camp, and rinse and repeat as needed.
You've got this!