We all want our children to respect us, as well as other people. Respect is something we should be able to expect from others and receive in return. Raising respectful children starts with how we act towards our children, and how we teach them to act towards others. Here a junior school in Kent outlines the things you can do as a parent to encourage your child to show respect towards others.
Lead by example
Children model parents’ behaviour, so if you want them to be respectful towards others, you need to showcase this behaviour yourself. Treat your child with respect. It can be difficult to remember this when they’re misbehaving and you’re at the end of your tether, but even when they’re acting up it’s important to continue to show respect towards your child. You can still discipline them in a respectful manner. When you take your child out somewhere, being polite to people will rub off on them and encourage them to act in the same way. Teach your child why they should show respect, especially to people like teachers, and make sure you model that behaviour as often as you can.
Respect your child’s choices
Part of respect is learning to accept people’s choices, and that includes you respecting your child’s decisions. Of course there are certain things you can’t let them do, which will vary depending on their age, but when it comes to low-stakes decisions such as what clothes to wear or which park to go to try respecting their decision and going along with it. This teaches your child that their choices are important, and in turn that it’s important to accept other people’s choices.
Respect also means giving people your full attention and listening to what they’re saying. Not listening to someone implies that you don’t value their ideas or insights, or their time. Teach your child to listen carefully when people are talking to them and acknowledge what they’re saying. Make sure you model this behaviour yourself by giving your child your full attention when they’re talking to you about school or something they’d like to do. Try not to get distracted, or your child might think that you don’t value what they have to say, and they may copy that behaviour themselves.
Raising a respectful child starts with modelling such behaviour ourselves, both respecting our child and encouraging them to offer it in return.