We often forget that our children aren’t born with a certain understanding of respect. All of us naturally use our words to manipulate situations to get what we want, but it’s our role as parents to teach our children how to respect others, as well as us, when dealing with wanting something. Here are some practical tips to teach your child about respect.
Teaching Your Child Respect
Training children to respect others and themselves
Heidi is a mom of three, and loves homeschooling, writing, reading & nature.
Stop Disrespect As Soon As You See It
The world as we know it has really changed. Often I’ll look at cartoons and programs on TV and I’m shocked at the attitudes and sass my kids are watching, and I change channels. It’s easy to see why our kids learn to be disrespectful in today’s culture – they see it almost everywhere they go. Even adult comedy and sitcoms are full of disrespect in families. The dad is always the goof. The kids are pretentious, disrespectful brats and the mother is disrespectful to everyone, all coated in slap-dash humor.
Our kids are influenced so easily when they are young, and it’s our role as parent to nip disrespect as soon as we see it start, which isn’t all that easy if we don’t know what to do about it! Teach your child to recognize when they are being disrespectful, and talk to them respectfully while teaching them. “We don’t disrespect each other in our home,” is a good start. Teaching kids to apologize about their disrespect is vital too. It’s inappropriate and wrong, and needs to be seen as that. Offer an alternative to that – teach your child the correct words and tone to use in that situation.
Set Boundaries When Things Have Calmed Down
After a heated incident, let your child calm down, and then speak to them privately about the incident. Explain again how they were being disrespectful, and offer alternative wording and attitudes that they can use in future. When kids are calm, they can learn on hindsight and process more easily than when we are trying to teach in the heat of the moment, when they may still be trying to validate their reaction.
Don’t Take Their Disrespect Personally
A lot of the time, we don’t know what to do with a raging, disrespectful child in our space, losing it, and we may feel scared and out of control. What do we say? What do we do? Do we overreact and control hectically, or do we let it go and let the child cool down? It’s tricky to know what to do, but once you start, it will get easier to manage. Don’t take it personally. Remember that each household goes through this at one time or another, and you are not alone.
Keep Your Authority As Parent Clear
Keep in mind that you are a parent first, and friend after. While you can be sweet and soft and talk like friends in other situations, when it comes to dealing with disrespect, you need to be the authority and take charge of the situation in a way that is loving but firm, while teaching what is right.
Be An Example Of Good Respect
Understand that when your child has a disrespectful meltdown, it’s their chaos not yours. Breathe deeply, and guide them calmly and gently through their emotion until they have calmed down and can talk about it. Be an example of keeping it together, of breathing and relaxing, and talk to your child in a respectful, calm tone of voice. They will learn from how you handle stress.
Respect is so important in a home, and sometimes young kids won’t know how to deal with certain frustrating situations and will be disrespectful. Keep calm and be a good example as you guide them through their emotion and teach them how to handle themselves, in action and words, so that they can learn how to handle themselves in future, and know what the boundaries for their family are. How do you teach respect in your home; we’d love to hear your ideas!