How to Teach Your Child to Respect Mom
One of the best things a father can do for his children is to respect their mother. If you are married, keep your marriage strong and vital. If you're not married, it is still important to respect and support the mother of your children. A father and mother who respect each other, and let their children know it, provide a secure environment for them. When children see their parents respecting each other, they are more likely to feel that they are also accepted and respected. (Taken from 10 Ways to Be a Better Dad.)
Here's a couple age-specific suggestions for how you can respect your child's mother - but of course there are plenty of other ways you can do that!
For Dads of infants and toddlers
- Encourage Mom to take care of herself so she can take care of your baby - both during and after pregnancy. Pick up some extra responsibilities around the house so she can get lots of rest. Encourage her to consider breastfeeding your newborn - breastfeeding provides important nutrients for the baby and brings health benefits to Mom, too.
- Learn how to help with practical care of the baby so that Mom isn't carrying all of the responsibility. NFI's When Duct Tape Won't WorkTM is a great interactive resource and our Doctor DadTM workshop provides hands-on training on how to care for a child. Check out some of our online resources for new dads here. Mom will really appreciate the time you take to learn these things!
For Dads of school-aged children
- Be united in parenting decisions: Your kids should know that Mom and Dad are a team - and that going to one behind the other's back is not going to get them what they want if the other parent already said no. Whether or not you live with Mom, the two of you should have regular conversations to make decisions together about schedules, discipline, and family rules.
- Speak positively about Mom in front of your kids: Make sure your kids hear you saying positive things about their mother - make comments about what she's good at, what you appreciate about her, or how pretty she is. This will build their respect for Mom and set a good example for them of saying nice things about others. Even if you and Mom are no longer together, it's important for your kids to hear you recognize the positive contributions she makes to the family.
For Dads of teenagers
- Model good conflict resolution: Never raise your voice at your children's mother, especially not in their presence. When you have disagreements (every couple does!), communicate calmly and let your kids (when appropriate) see you and Mom work through a disagreement and come to a mutual understanding. Ask questions to help you see where she's coming from and work to find common ground. This is an important skill for your kids to gain and the best way to learn is to see it modeled.
- Demonstrate how a man should treat a woman: How you treat Mom sets an example to your son for how he should treat women and sets the standard for your daughter of how she should expect the men in her life to treat her. Be courteous to your child's mother, let her share her point of view, and do special things to let her know you appreciate her. If you're married, show a little affection to your wife and say "I love you" in front of the kids so they can see that their parents love each other.