By respect I mean treat your child like an individual and empathise with her. However small she may be she has a right to express her opinion and reach out to you. And it is your duty to respond with love and concern not sarcasm and derision.
I remember, one day, when my daughter Ankita was barely a year old I had come home from office feeling really tired.
“Why don’t you take her for a drive?,” said Madhavi, who was holding Ankita.
“No question at all. I am dead beat,” I replied rather tersely.
Ankita just burst out crying, giving me a look which I shall never forget. She must have understood from my tone and expression, my curt refusal. I immediately picked up my princess in my arms, gave her a tight hug and rushed to heed her command. Since then, as long as the kids were young, I was very careful about what I said and the way I said it. For I had realized children can read between the lines and beyond the words.
Respect also means not trashing your child’s little proposals, suggestions and her tiny dreams.
When I was barely seven, I had written a poem. It was a pathetic piece of verse. I very hesitatingly showed it to my father. Most dads would have probably said, ‘Why are you wasting your time in scribbling words, concentrate on maths in which you got only 89”. Instead, my father hugged me and said, “It is wonderful!”
He got the poem typed and framed and hung it in his office room. Today if I am a writer it is because of that beautiful, heartwarming and adrenalin pumping response I got from my father.
Such is the power of parent-child communication.