Weekly Parenting Tips – How to Teach Kids Respect
by Jennifer Shakeel
Respect is an amazing thing. I believe that respect is something that has to be earned, but I also believe that in order to be respected you have to show respect to others. If you take a look at our youth of today you can’t help but notice that they are the most disrespectful group of children this world has ever seen. Before you start pointing fingers or offering up excuses as to why children are this way I want you to stop and look in the mirror. What are you doing to teach your child/children respect?
I ask this because one of my favorite pastimes is people watching. I don’t mean that in some sick sort of way, I simply mean paying attention to the way people interact with one another and towards one another. This includes children and adults. I believe one problem is that parents do not respect their children and therefore children not only don’t respect their parents, they have no respect for anyone including themselves. Wait, before you get upset, I am not saying that you don’t love your children or that you are a bad parent. I simply saying that maybe parents aren’t paying attention to the way they interact with their kids and that is leading to a severe lack of respect. I am far from a perfect parent, and many times find myself guilty of this also. What is important in my opinion, is that we think more about how we interact with our children, and how our children interact with us and others.
Teaching respect is one of the most important jobs we have as parents. The best way to teach children respect is show respect, not just to other adults but to your children. Don’t confuse obedience with respect, fear also instills obedience. Know this; if a child is not respectful at home, they are not going to be respectful outside of the home. Let’s take a look at ways to help teach your child respect.
Listen to Them and They Will Listen to You
When your child is talking to you are you listening or are you busy doing five other things? I am not saying multi-tasking is bad, but listen to what your child is saying. Pay attention to what they are doing. Everything else can wait a minute or two. Make eye contact with them. Ask yourself, how many times you have had to say, “Look at me when I am talking to you,” and then think about how often you look at them when they are talking. Let them know they are important to you and worth taking a time to pay attention to, and then they will do the same to you and others.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Is it possible to respect a liar? Would you lie to someone that you respect? I don’t think so. If you do something wrong, admit it and apologize for it. While it may change the perception that our younger children have of us that we are perfect, it will show them that even mom and dad make mistakes and when they do they are able to admit it and apologize for it.
You Catch More Flies with Honey than Vinegar
If your child does something wrong, or doesn’t achieve the success you feel they should’ve don’t belittle them. Don’t embarrass or insult them. I am not saying to never tease your child, but tease during play time in a fun way, not after a defeat or disappointment. Compliment your child for what they have accomplished. Compliment them for being your child. Don’t overdo it so that it becomes false, compliments should be realistic. If you want to see a change in your child’s behavior focus on the positive things they are doing so that they will do more of those positive things.
Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You
You limit or restrict the way your children use your things, enter into your space such as your room. Do you show them that you have the same limits on yourself when it comes to their space and their things? In our house our children are to knock on a closed door before opening it and they are not to go into our bedroom unless they ask or are invited. So we do the same for them. If they are behind a closed door at home we knock before open the door and we don’t just barge in their rooms. I also don’t go through their things in their rooms when they aren’t there. I don’t need to, I trust and respect them. If you want your child to respect the boundaries you have set, then you have to respect those same boundaries when it comes to them.
Personal Value = Respect
Your child has to know that they have value as a human being, and that they should cherish who they are as people. This teaches self respect, because if they don’t respect themselves they can’t respect others. Encourage your child to take care of themselves properly, make sure they get enough rest, wear decent clean clothes, that they eat that they have pride in who they are. They will believe this is you believe it.
Build Their Independence
There are always age appropriate responsibilities a child can take on to foster independence and respect. If mom or dad trusts that they can handle a task then they must be able to.
Let Them Know You Love Them
“Oh my kids know I love them.” I am sure they do, but think about how good it feels to get a hug and a smooch for no reason at all. Don’t be afraid to show your kids how much you love them. You don’t have to smoother them with affection, but a kiss goodnight, a kiss goodbye and a hug when they come home can go a long way.
Respect is an attitude. Being respectful helps a child succeed in life. If your children don’t have respect for peers, authority, or themselves, it’s almost impossible for them to succeed. A respectful child takes care of belongings and responsibilities, and a respectful child gets along with peers. Schools teach children about respect, but it is really you that has the most influence on how respectful your children become.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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