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Common Courtesy

“What?!” “Huh?” “Yeah!”? Or, how about: “Excuse me, please.” “Yes, Mom.” “Yes, Ma’am.” “Yes, Dad.” “Yes, Sir.”? The attitude behind the words reflects the heart and the relationship between the individuals. When working or interacting with a child suffering from RAD, it is vital that respect be taken up a notch (or two or three!!). How important is it that we have that increased respect in our homes? Respect is the foundation for trust. Trust is the foundation for love. Respect is a great place to start any kind of a relationship!

The respect and honor between a couple demonstrates to their children what a relationship should look like. That same honor and respect from a parent to a child demonstrates value and raises the child’s self-image. When we expect a child to say, “Yes Mom” or “Yes Dad”, that is the parent’s title of honor. Saying “Yes” is a positive. Positives help activate the logic part of the brain, helping it to develop. Using the parent’s title makes the child theirs, implying acceptance and belonging, which is vital to attaching! When we call our child, our “son” or “daughter”, it accentuates that essential belonging and acceptance.

In our home we set the standard very high, all the way back to old fashioned respect i.e., “May I please be excused from the table?”, etc. I believe that when the pendulum has swung all the way over to 100% disrespect, we need to take it all the way over to 200% respect, then it will settle at 100%.

The respect from parent to child, teacher to student, or, therapist to young client, plants the seeds of growth for self-respect. With a healthy self-respect, a child can be deterred from drug or alcohol abuse, indiscriminate sexual activity, cutting, and other serious behaviors. Investing in our children and in our relationships by taking common courtesy up a notch is a wise choice. Would your spouse or co-workers notice if you took consideration and respect up a notch? You bet they would! Would your children notice it and feel the difference? Yes, Ma’am/Sir – they will. Try it! You’ll like it!

Nancy Thomas

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