How To Teach Your Children Respect

Smiling female teacher looking at schoolchildren touching globe in classroom

Respect is a very important trait to have in life. It makes you a good person, and helps you get ahead. You’ll always find you can get more and achieve more when you have respect for people (and you’ll get respect in return, which is always a good thing). 

So as parents, it’s important to teach our children to have respect and be respectful. This is something we actively have to do so that it simply becomes part of who they are. It might sound hard, but there are a number of ways to do it – read on to find out what some of them are. 

Show Respect 

Children learn best by copying their parents and other adults they trust. You can explain things to them and tell them what they should or should not do, but if you don’t follow your own rules, it’s unlikely that your child will either – after all, why should they? 

Make sure that you are respectful at all times. Don’t swear or get impatient when driving, respect other drivers. Always say thank you. Smile at people. You can even show respect by rewarding hard work – in that vein, look at these great Christmas gift ideas for your kids teachers. Bear in mind that if you find it hard to be respectful, your children will be feeling the same way, so always take a moment to think before you act. 

Praise Them 

It’s easy for parents to become so focused on the things our children are doing wrong – or what we think is wrong – that we don’t take the time to praise them when they do something right. This won’t help them to understand respect, but what it might do is cause them to feel resentful, and as though nothing they do is good enough for their parents. 

When this feeling occurs, it will be hard to go back and undo the problem (although not impossible, of course). By offering praise when they do something right, you are personally showing them respect, but you are also enforcing their good behavior, so it’s certainly something to try to remember to do as it will help hugely. 

Include Them In Conversations 

One very simple thing you can do to help your child learn respect is to include them in conversations. Acting as though a child is invisible just because they are young is not very polite, and it’s a habit they can easily pick up and replicate, ignoring peers and even other adults – and this shows a lack of respect. 

Instead of ignoring the child or assuming they can’t contribute, make sure you include them. Invite them to get involved in the discussion you’re having by asking questions or having them explain something they did. This will help form a good bond, and it will also show and teach respect. 

Never Demand An Apology 

We have all been in the situation where we forced an apology out of a child. We tell them to say sorry for this or that. It is good to know when to apologize, but what about respect? 

It would actually be a lot more respectful to ask the child why they did what they did and to try to understand their feelings more. This shows them respect, which we’ve said many times is so important, and it teaches them that they have a voice and their feelings count.