11 Best Ways to Teach Children Respect

Teach Children Respect: Respect is one of the most important, fundamental skills a child can ever learn.

A sense of respect is vital to succeeding in school, holding down a job, and having adult relationships.

The number one place that children learn respect is in the home.

Teach Children Respect
Teach Children Respect: https://childdevelopmentinfo.com

So it’s a parent’s responsibility to teach these skills early and consistently.

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Teach Children Respect

1. Lead by example.

When it comes to teaching children respect, it all boils down to this. Children are very impressionable. In addition, they naturally look up to their caretakers and try to imitate these people. Live a kind, caring, respectful life and your children will learn that this is the way adults are expected to behave. On the other hand, act disrespectfully to your children or other people in your life and they may soon pick up your bad habits.

  • See our main article on how to be respectful for lots of tips on this topic.

2. Make respect a requirement for getting the things the children like.

In the “real world,” when people aren’t respectful, they don’t get what they want. Their date throws a drink in their face, they get asked to leave, and in extreme cases, they get tossed in jail. When they are respectful, though, they can get what they want. Teach this lesson to children by only giving them what they want when they are respectful. They’ll quickly learn that it’s almost always smarter to be kind than to throw a fit.

  • For example, if your children love their video games, let them play them only if they’ve been respectful to you in the past day. If they’ve been rude, insulting, or disobedient, take them away and do not give them back until they can go an entire day without any bad behaviour.

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Teach Children Respect

3. Try your best to control your own negative emotions.

Children don’t have the argumentative skills that adults do. Losing your temper can be a scary, confusing experience for them. Worse, it can teach them that it’s OK to yell, mock, or threaten other people when they become frustrated. Always remember that you’re setting an example for your children. Show them that difficult situations are best conquered with a cool head.

  • If you must, give yourself chances to “let off steam” when your kids aren’t around. Have someone else watch the kids while you pummel a punching bag, for instance.

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4. Encourage activities that require sharing and cooperation.

One of the reasons respect is so important is that it’s needed to form helpful friendships and relationships with others. Teach your children that respect allows them to build bridges by giving them fun opportunities to work with teammates and partners toward a mutual goal. If they get rude or possessive, warn them. If they keep it up, end the activity.

  • One great example is to play a board game (ideally with teams). For the game to “work,” the children will have to respect the other players and exercise patience.

Teach Children Respect

5. Show that it’s OK to make mistakes.

No one’s perfect. Being respectful shouldn’t mean “never screwing up.” Children — especially young ones — will make lots of mistakes. If your child messes up in front of you and truly didn’t know any better, don’t get upset or punish the child. Use it as a teaching experience so that your child can eventually learn not to make this same mistake again.

  • You’ll also want to acknowledge your own mistakes. If you do something like swearing in front of your children or yelling when you’re angry, apologize. Your apology teaches children to self-correct should they make a similar mistake.

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6. Be patient.

Patience is a sign of respect. It may take some children longer to learn how to behave respectfully around others. Becoming impatient with children only teaches them to become impatient people, so instead take time to explain the problem to your children — even if they’ve made the same mistake a million times before.

Teach Children Respect

7. Be strict but fair.

Sooner or later, all children will find themselves in a world where they need to obey the rules or suffer harsh consequences. By making your children obey the rules at home, you’re actually doing them a favour in the long run. Don’t ever punish your children unless they’re disrespectful, but when they are, don’t hesitate to show them that they’ve done something wrong.

  • Your rules should be reasonable, simple, and consistent. Be clear with your children about the rules in your house early on. Don’t get upset if your children break a rule that they weren’t even aware of.

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8. Meet disrespect with respect.

When your child is disrespectful to you, you have two choices: you can lash out in the same way, or you can fight to stay calm. The former option teaches your child that it is acceptable to be rude when someone starts frustrating you. The latter, which is the better choice, teaches that it’s important to stay respectful even in the face of people who won’t do the same for you. If you can manage to stay respectful, your children will thank you when they eventually have to deal with an annoying boss or an unpleasant teacher.

Teach Children Respect

9. Be consistent.

This is vital. Consistent enforcement of your rules shows your children that it’s not possible to weasel out of their responsibilities. On the other hand, if you fail to teach your children respect when you’re tired or when it’s inconvenient, they’ll quickly learn that they can get away with bad behaviour sometimes. Children are smarter than they’re often given credit for. If there’s a way for them to get out of learning a valuable lesson, they’ll often find it.

  • It’s also important to make sure your partner is on the same page as you here. Having one caretaker who is “hard” and another who is “soft” will just teach your children to go to the soft one when they’ve misbehaved.

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10. Make your punishments fit the crime.

Whenever you can, have the punishment for disrespect be the natural consequences of your child’s actions. In other words, if their disrespect causes something bad to happen to them, let this happen (as long as it is not a serious, physical danger, obviously). The earlier children learn that being disrespectful only creates problems for themselves, the better.

  • For example, if your child is repeatedly rude to her friend when they are playing together, a good natural consequence might be to send the friend home, have your child hand-write an apology letter, and hand-deliver it.

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11. Tips

  • Author Debbie Preece, From Combat Zone to Love at Home, teaches the Happy Face Token System in which the child earns “happy face” tokens each time the child uses respect in the family. By earning one token at a time, the child then sees through repetition what respectful behaviour is. The child can then cash in the tokens for something on a reward list.

  • Model respect to children — especially respect for people who can’t retaliate. Children are perceptive. If they see their parent respecting the grocery store clerk, the bus driver, the elderly woman at the mall, or the waitress in training, they will be more likely to reflect that kind of behaviour.

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