Love Needs Respect

When a child is convinced that he is greatly loved and respected by his parents, he is inclined to accept his own worth as a person.

However, I've observed that many children know they are loved by their parents, but they have reason to believe that they are not respected by them. I'm Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

These seemingly contradictory attitudes are not so uncommon in human relationships. A wife can love her alcoholic husband, for example, and yet disrespect him for what he's become. Thus a child can conclude in his own mind, “Sure, they love me because I'm their child -I can see that I'm important to them -but they are not proud of me as a person. I'm a disappointment to them. I've let them down.”

You see, it's very easy to convey love and disrespect at the same time. You are tense and nervous when a child starts to speak. You interrupt and answer questions for him. You lecture her before she goes off to spend a weekend at someone else's house. Her hair is a mess and you reveal your frustration in getting it right. See, these are signals that you don't trust that boy or girl with your image. The love is a private thing between you¾whereas confidence and admiration are other oriented, with far reaching social implications.

So loving your child is only half the task of building self-esteem. The element of respect must be added if you are to counterbalance the insults that society will throw at him or her. This is Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

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