I have 17 and 13-year-old daughters. Currently, my mission critical is cultivating respect for authority in their hearts. Yet respect and authority are two different things entirely. Authority is defined as the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. As their dad, I have that God-given authority to do those things and I do not abdicate that role for anything. However, that does not mean they will respect my orders, decisions, and enforcements. Respect is a key element in successful living.
A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.Billy Graham weighed in on the importance of this once by saying, “A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.” Lack of respect in this world is another topic for another day, but I don’t want my children contributing to the problem. The trick to this as I see it is not to command their respect because that’s just another form of authority—but to earn it. So with that, here are some thoughts on earning the respect of your daughters.
Properly Loving her Mother
Earning respect from your daughter starts right here. Everything she’s ever going to think about you or relationships later in life is likely going to stem from how you treated her mother. Don’t let the arguments and female things between them fool you. Daughters are fiercely loyal to their mom. If you’re divorced, this all still applies as your daughter will be watching with hawk’s eyes to see how you proceed.
Gentle and Kind Nature
As dads, when we get loud with anger it weakens our daughters trust in us. It may cause them to fear us. The beautiful gift that daughters are to a man is that they have the power to bring out the gentle and kind nature that resides in us. From experience, I can assure you that yelling and harsh words at a teenager daughter never nets anything but tears.
Security and Time
Most men are naturally protective of their daughters. But providing true security goes far beyond the corny jokes about shotguns and chasing boys off. We must put in the time, both one-on-one and whole family time. In short, our presence is greatly required. This means much sacrifice on our part. If you want to know a big secret this is the category in which you either win or lose the entire thing most times. When you see that dad whose wife and family adore him and hold him dear, you’ll see a guy who gave them everything he had and took little for himself.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.” – Jim Rohn. We know as parents that applying discipline to our children is vital. When it comes to respect for authority, it’s the fairness in how that discipline is given that makes all the difference. I’ve tried from their earliest ages to set the stage so they get to the point that they basically discipline themselves without me saying a word.
Walk the Talk
If we want our daughters to respect us, we have to embody all the qualities and characteristics we are preaching. We have to set the example by practicing integrity in all we do. This does not mean we aren’t going to stumble because we surely will and do. The greatest teachable moments in life, for both parent and child, come from our reactions to adversity and mistakes. That is where great men are born or the foundations begin to crumble. Who do you want to be?
Huddle up with your daughter and ask, “What are the best ways to communicate with you?”