How do you teach your children respect?

Stressed out mum rant time!

How do you teach your children respect? To respect themselves, their friends, their belongings, you? It feels like a never ending task of repetition which at the moment goes in one ear and out the other!

Twice now Oliver has hidden toys, gifts he has been kindly bought by family, in his pockets and taken them to school. He has dropped these things outside of school. He has taken more than this into school without my knowledge, but I’m pretty sure only twice things have been lost. The first was found the next day relatively unscathed on the path but the second? Well we found it smashed into three pieces yesterday morning. I don’t think it can be fixed, even though Oliver is sure we can glue it together, and I’m so disappointed that someone was kind enough to bring him a special treat but he cant care about it enough to look after it.

Oliver knows he shouldn’t take toys to school. It’s not something the school encourages and is definitely not something I allow. He struggles to remember to bring home his essentials (lunch bag, homework, jumper when it’s warm enough for him to take it off) that I don’t want him taking toys and things to school for them to get forgotten about when he’s playing or left behind, or potentially stolen by another child. This isn’t something I’ve known to happen, but you can never be too sure as little hands like to stash things in little pockets…! I’ve just started letting him take a book to school as they are allowed their own at silent reading time but when he’s asked about taking a particular toy or something he wants to show off I’ve only ever said yes on the condition I take it home, he can have it in the yard before school but that’s it. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to tell Oliver this, I stress I’m more than happy for him to show his friends in the mornings, so I don’t know why hiding toys and sneaking them in is still a good idea for him? He knows it will lead to trouble but he does it anyway. I don’t want to have to frisk him every morning when we leave the house, but I’m starting to think this might be the best solution.

In my anger I gave him the punishment of no iPad for a week. He looked at me blankly. He didn’t particularly care. Great eh. It’s a horrible situation, I could feel myself getting more worked up because he wasn’t bothered and I started to think I should have come up with a different punishment, but then I don’t know what that should be. I turned it over all morning after he went into school. How much to I need to restrict or confiscate before it affects him? Do I stop an activity for a week, which I would then begrudge doing as I would be wasting my money? Do I stop an activity altogether? 

I often feel at my wits end with Oliver, and I lose it and tell him off most mornings, at his laziness, his hyperactivity, that he has to be asked a million times to do things, how he dilly-dallies over everything. But it’s rare when he’s properly in trouble that either me or Dan gets an apology. If we do it’s usually because we’ve had to stare him down until he does it. It’s not often genuine and that’s where I wonder if he respects us at all? Or does it not matter to him when we’re actually upset because I nag him on so many things, are my expectations too high??

I don’t remember being 8, I was likely a little shit too, but I don’t remember ever getting told off as much as we tell Oliver off. I’m not sure if that means my parents were more laid back than us (my Dad tells us he was strict?) or I was better behaved… either way I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t argue back with them at that age like Oliver does (when I was 12 and older definitely, but I don’t think this young). It feels like his favourite word is “but”. Every time he gets asked to tidy, or sit down for tea, or go get dressed my ears ring with “but, but, but…” everything has a reason why not to do it, an excuse or an argument. He can’t just do what he’s told. It’s infuriating and exhausting and I’m hoping, this time, we can get it sorted. Have more openness and honesty, and less stressing and shouting. I mean I’m not holding my breath but I’m hoping. I think my sanity needs it.

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