There is a fine line between respect and fear. It's hard sometimes to know the difference. Raising my children I often wondered if I was instilling respect or fear. I know now it was a little of both. They feared suffering consequences of their rule breaking actions, but they respected me for my consistency. Hindsight is very helpful.
Parental respect is vital to raising people who function in adulthood with the skills to negotiate and compromise with others. No one gets to be right every time and no one has to give in every time. What everyone does get and does deserve, is to be heard. Having respect for others allows for give and take of ideas and consequently, can lead to a middle of the road plan of action. I fear this mutual respect aspect is sorely missing from a great deal of today's society. I fear we are raising an entire generation of people who have no respect and little fear.
Parents who are befriending their children are unable to teach respect and don't instill fear because friends don't punish, they just talk. Talking is certainly important so that a child hears clearly what they did wrong, but equally important is a real and painful consequence. Losing a privilege that is unimportant to the child, relatively speaking, isn't effective. The punishment has to be such that fear of having that repeated might cause the child to not repeat this action. A little fear and then respect for parental authority.
It's our job to set a moral example for our kids, our grandkids and even the other kids in our lives. We need to remember that they are watching more than listening. Kids really do learn more of how grown-ups act, or should act, by watching the adults in their lives and how they live day to day. They will copy and admire everything you do. Even the bad or not so good things.
We had adult rules and kid rules in our house. My kids knew some things were okay for adults and that when they were adults themselves, they could make a choice as to copy our behavior or not. Adults were always portrayed as being wiser, more responsible and independent. The kids were taught that one day, they would also be adults and would be all of those things and their role for childhood through their teenage years was to become wiser, more responsible and independent. We taught by giving them chances to hone those skills. Sometimes they failed and they learned consequences were to follow. Most often they succeeded and gained a bit more freedom for having proven they were ready. They also knew the law allowed adults to live by different rules like drinking alcohol and smoking or voting and driving. Those were decisions they would make when age allowed and not before.
Yes, they both drank before they turned 21. I didn't condone nor did I severely punish. I allowed the hangovers to do the punishments. They learned.
Respect was hard earned in my world and more is freely given as I age. While someone used to have to earn my respect, now they have it until they blow it. I like it this way and hope one day my children will adapt this philosophy, as well. To date, that isn't happening. They are very stingy with their respect.
I do hope that more of today's parents learn to teach their children respect for elders and authority. It is becoming very rare to see young ones who have any idea what respect means or how to show it. Parents are being disrespected and kids are learning wrong is what you got caught doing, not what you did.
Makes me a little sad.