Kids today have a new sense of entitlement, and teaching them respect is a parenting challenge…and opportunity. I found an expert on the subject, and wanted to thank the author for sharing her golden nuggets of wisdom at The Lounge. Authored by Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman, here are 10 ways to teach kids about respect.
Lisa couldn’t help it. She had just “lost it” with her children…again. She would often find herself screaming at her them when they yelled, misbehaved, or fought with each other.
In my parenting coaching program, she said in exasperation, “I am trying to teach respect but I can’t get any respect!” But after much discussion, and several months of creating her family vision, Lisa came to realize that by screaming, she was teaching the very thing she hated; disrespect.
Your children take their cues from you.
Simply put, if children are around respectful adults, they’re more likely to show respect, however, when they’re around disrespectful adults, they’re more likely to show disrespectful behavior. Yelling, cursing, grabbing, shouting over, and sarcasm are transferable! Children will express themselves as you do. That means that when you speak with respect to your children, they learn respect. When you speak with disrespect, they learn that just as well.
Here are 10 quick tips to always keep in mind when you are teaching your children respect:
1. Model it: If you want them to do it, you have to do it too. When you act respectfully, they will too. Unfortunately, when you behave disrespectfully, they’ll pick up on that as well!
2. Expect it: When your expectations are reasonably high, children rise to the occasion.
3. Teach it: Give children the tools they need to show you respect. Your Powerful Words Family School, centers that deliver a comprehensive character education program to children and families, can assist you with the lessons.
4. Praise it: When you see or hear your children using respectful language and making respectful choices, recognize it and praise them for making positive, respectful decisions.
5. Discuss it: Pick out times when you see other children using respectful or disrespectful language or behavior and discuss with it your children.
6. Correct it: Be strong, firm and direct when teaching respect. At the same time, be sure you are being respectful yourself while correcting the behavior.
7. Acknowledge it: Don’t just let things slide! Be sure to notice when respectful behavior is being exhibited and make sure to call them on disrespectful behavior!
8. Understand it: Your children are growing and learning. Sometimes word choice and behavioral decisions are made because they do not have the correct words or behavior to relay “I’m tired,” “I’m frustrated,” or “I’m angry.”
9. Reinforce it: Remind children of their good decisions so that they remember how it felt, the praise they received, and the overall experience of being respectful.
10. Reward it: Respectful behavior should be something that children want to do without overindulgent rewards. However, it is good to associate respectful behavior with intangible rewards such as praise, recognition, extra responsibility, and privileges.
Teaching respect takes patience, time, and a willingness to do as you preach. Time isn’t everything though, is it? It takes years to rear a respectful child and only moments to fill one with anger and disrespect. Which one do you choose?
Have a wonderful week filled with respect – Dr. Robyn
Child and teen development expert, Dr. Robyn Silverman, provides candid, easy-to-follow tips that make her a favorite among parents and educators. Known as “The Character Queen,” she’s the creator of the Powerful Words Character Toolkit, a character education system that’s being used by over 500 of the top after school activity programs worldwide. She’s been featured in Parents and Prevention Magazines, The Washington Post, and on the national radio show with Dr. Drew Pinsky.