Teach Your Child How to Respect Others

Respectful Behavior

Most experts agree, teaching children how to respect others begins at home. While it is normal for them to learn to push their boundaries when it comes to respect, it is our duty as parents to keep those respectful boundaries in place. Even though it can seem tough and angering when a child is being disrespectful, remember that it is all a natural part of the process of growing up for them and a natural part of being a parent for you. It can be rough. You can do it!

Exhibit Respectful Behavior

As parents, we need to practice what we preach and lead by example. Remember that respect and fear are not synonymous, and striking fear into your child’s heart often leads to disrespectful behavior moments later. Instead, begin demonstrating respectful behavior by actively listening to your child. Maintain eye contact and be clear you are interested in what they are saying. If you do not want them to interrupt you, you have to avoid interrupting them. Leading by example can be tough, but you can do it!

Use and Expect Polite Responses

Good manners are an important part of respectful behavior. By the time your children are in grade school they should be saying, “Please” and, “Thank you,” regularly.  Be sure you are also using these words with your children and others so that these phrases become a normal part of family and public life.

Respectful Behavior Should Be Praised

Positive reinforcement works very well with children of all ages. Once your children are grade school age, the praise should become fairly specific. Praise politeness after it happens by saying, “Thank you for saying please when you asked for juice.” This way their efforts are validated.

Expect Conflicts

Conflicts will happen. It is a natural part of child rearing. When our children have different opinions than we do, they tend to resist what we ask of them. In order to smooth over conflicts, we must teach our children how to communicate their thoughts and feelings to us in a respectful way. Instead of shouting and insulting, teach your child to request politely.

Overacting Isn’t Recommended

When you overreact to your child calling you a name or saying, “No,” you are inadvertently reinforcing the behavior because they end up getting attention. Instead, calmly and firmly explain that your family doesn’t use name calling and if they want something they must ask nicely.

Set Boundaries

Be calm and firm when establishing your boundaries, especially in the face of your child’s meltdowns. If they freak out after you say, “No,” expect them to calm themselves down, it is an important skill to learn. If you’re in public and they are not collecting themselves, either come back later, communicate that you’ll be a short distance away and ready for them when they are calm, or lead them out to the car to collect themselves.

Patience, calm, and perseverance are invaluable traits when teaching children respect.

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