Recently Terri Moser, Director of family ministry at St. Catherine of Siena, blessed us with her presence and wisdom talking about “Respect: How to Give it and how to get it”. Terri shared tips and resources on how to work with children of all ages up to age 25, and handling our own anger, all backed by brain science research.

Ultimately as parents and teachers we want to “be a coach, not executioner” of the children in our care. I asked a few parents who attended to share their highlights.

  • Tears and large body moments are some of the calming mechanics children (and adults) use to express and bring their emotions under control.

  • Anger is a physiological reaction (like pain) that is morally neutral.  It is when we use anger as an excuse to cause harm that it becomes sinful.

  • A goal of the parent is to show anger without insult and without causing harm. Teach how to express anger through problem-solving.

  • It is hopeful to know that we can be more helpful to our children and students by respecting  them and us more and more.  Being aware of the environment and timing and knowledge to recognize their and our emotions and what we say and how to say it.

  • I have always wondered what was going on when my apparently bright child would often “regress” in a matter of seconds. I would then attempt to communicate on a level that he/she couldn’t.  It gave me more empathy for others in general in realizing that we may all do this. So often, I see my kids as a little version me or a little version of my wife. They’re not! Not only is their body still growing, but their mind is as well. Until they are 25!

  • I’ve never had difficulty apologizing for my behavior, but sometimes I may do so in a less effective manner. For example, saying " I'm sorry about the way I was angry" instead of "I'm sorry I was angry." That way children know it is OK to be angry; it is just what we do with it!

  • Be a teacher of relationship repair:

    • (1) Say what you see - “you used language that is not appropriate and is disrespectful to a teacher”.

    • (2) “I expect you to”…

    • (3) What are you going to do in the future? Tell me 3 things you can do differently.

  • Don’t be afraid to sit in silence with your child especially when they are frustrated or dealing with significant emotions. They need your presence…calmly…and silently.

  • I appreciated the encouragement to simply be with upset kids - listening as they work through their own phases (anger, revenge, apathy, sadness, etc.) to eventually solve their own problem.

  • Remove the words “Why” and “Hurry up” from your vocabulary with your kids. You can use “I expect” instead. 

  • I was reminded that the best discipline is to model the behavior we want to see in our children.

What are some ways you give and get respect?

The video of the class can be found here.