Here are four ways that parents can have respect for their children.
In God’s Image
Children are to be shown the same respect as any adult would be shown because they too are created in the image of God, as are all people (Gen 1:27). Just because they’re a child doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect their feelings and the fact that they are still an adult “under-construction.” Don’t ever think that a child is too young to be saved. God alone knows when they’re ready and it may take parents a bit longer to believe this, however Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:14).
Showing Honor to All
The Apostle Peter wrote, “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1st Pet 2:17), and when Paul says, “Honor everyone,” surely this includes children. One way to honor your children is to speak to them respectfully and honorably. We can’t belittle children just because they’re not adults yet. God never belittles the little children and He expects that we won’t either.
When parents have to discipline their child or children, I suggest they do what a friend told me he does. He waits until they are out of the public eye before he disciplines them. In other words, he does it in private and chooses to not humiliate them in front of others by disciplining them in public. To be disciplined is bad enough, but to do it in front of others makes it much more painful for the child because it causes them embarrassment. We wouldn’t do that to adults, would we?
One way that we can honor our children and show them the respect they deserve is to give them options or allow them to make choices. For example, we shouldn’t be laying out everything the child’s going to wear the next day at school if the child has absolutely no choice in the matter. By asking children, “What would you like to wear at school tomorrow,” you show them you value their opinion and what they think is important to you. Of course this doesn’t mean we’re to let them wear things that are not appropriate, but it’s an honorable thing to allow your child some input in their life.
We should treat our children (and all children) with respect and honor because they are made in the image of God. This means not humiliating them in public and giving them the freedom to make at least some choices. Like adults, children are also made in the image of God and since children are precious to Jesus Christ, He expects us to treat them in the same way we would treat adults.