How can I get respect? Well, children learn from you. You must teach respect to get respect. If you’re yelling, screaming, cursing, or grabbing your children, they will model this behavior too. When you speak with respect to your children they will learn respect. When you speak with disrespect, they will learn this as well. Children will also see how you treat other people. Remember children are always watching and listening!
The following are a few tips to help teach your children respect:
1. Demonstrate respectful behavior- “We don’t generally give our children the kind of respect that we demand from them,” says Jerry Wyckoff, a psychologist and the coauthor of Twenty Teachable Virtues. “We get confused because often, our upbringing makes us equate respect with fear: ‘I really respected my father because I knew he’d hit me if … ‘ That’s not respect — that’s fear.” Instead listen to you child by paying attention to what they are saying. You can also hold family meetings where they can voice their concerns about family matters.
2. Teach Please and Thank you! By gradeschool, children should be responding politely by saying “Please” and “Thank you!”Make sure you model this and are saying please and thank you to your child when asking them to do something, rather than lecturing. Again, modeling good behavior gets good behavior in return.
3. Avoid Overreacting if your child calls you a name or is acting up. Instead of freaking out by yelling at them, get eye level with them and explain your expectations in a calm and firm manner. You may say something like, “We don’t name call to get someones attention. If you want my help please ask nicely. For example, “Please mom would you help me?!” When they call you a name or act up they are simply trying to get a rise out of you.
4. Point out respect and disrespect when you see it. Your child won’t always do what is right, but by showing them love and acceptance, they may respond better to punishment when it’s given.
5. Teach honesty. It is hard to respect a liar. When you get too much change back at a store, let your child know you are returning the extra and why you are doing it. While it is true that “more lessons are caught than taught” don’t assume your children will learn without occasional deliberate teaching opportunities.
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6. Praise respectful behavior! State specifically why you are praising their behavior. For example, “I loved the way you said please and thank you when you asked for a snack!” By validating their behavior it gives your child confidence in knowing that respectful behavior gets your attention and is worthwhile!
We hope some of these tips help build stronger and healthier family relationships. For more information on teaching respectful behavior please visit us on our FACEBOOK page!
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