This is a message to parents about controlling their TV and computer. Yes, your cable or satellite services comes with parental controls, as do your computer’s ISP, anti-virus software, and anything else you have loaded onto it. With these, you can restrict and monitor the activity of others on these devices, specifically your children. This way, you can protect them from online predators, pornography, violence, swear words, religions or other ideologies that are not your own, discussion about drugs, or the ability to communicate with others using a technology not available when you were their age.

But did you know there are better tools to accomplish all of these goals? That’s right! Maybe you’ve heard of them.

First and foremost is respect. You probably know it as something you expect from your children without question. But did you know that you can also give respect to them? Give it a try. Yes, I know, you’re the parent and giving your children respect may seem backwards and inappropriate and perhaps even makes you feel demeaned, but it is an excellent tool. It even invites your children to respect you without needing to extort them into it or punish them for not doing it. And this is genuine respect, not the fake respect you get from extortion and punishment. Genuine respect may not give you the immediate feeling of having someone smaller and perceived inferior to you fear you, but you’ll find in time this works wonders not only in your children’s growth process but also what your long-term relationship with them will be.

What does that have to do with anything? It lays the groundwork, for next comes trust.