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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Developing Good Habits: Teach Your Children About Respect


I enjoyed reading the article on good habits to teach your children:  http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/968511/good-habits-to-teach-your-kids-now.

I really liked what they said about RESPECT. When I grew up, we were taught to respect our elders.  To look them in the eye, greet them politely, and shake hands.  If an adult was coming in the door, we were taught to let them go first – out of deference. When it came to school, we respected our teachers.  Adults were considered “authority”; and we were expected to respect them. We did not talk back.  Somewhere, we have lost some of these basic values with our children.  While a number of television shows encourage children to talk back, and to be rude, we need to teach our children to respect adults as an authority.  When a child learns to respect authority, it will be easier for them to respect their boss, the police officer, and others when they grow up. 

How do you teach your children to respect adults?  First, teach them to respect you, as their parent.  Do not allow your children to raise their voices when talking to you, or talk back with a smart mouth. Let them know that you will not listen to what they say until they say it in an appropriate tone, and say it respectfully. If your child is older, this may take some training, and may require punishment (such as loss of privileges).  I remember telling my children, particularly as teenagers, “I am not your peer, I am your parent; and you will talk to me respectfully”.  This is so true – while I enjoyed spending time with my children – playing with them, coaching them, helping them; I did not let them forget that I was Mom, not their friend.  (Now that my two oldest are adults, our relationship has shifted to becoming more friend/mentor/mom – and it is great!)

Second, let your children see you showing respect to other adults, especially those that are older, such as grandparents.   Let them see you speak courteously to other adults.  For example:  Let’s say you have to go to the school because your child received an unfair grade.  When talking to their teacher, even if you are upset with the teacher, talk in an even, respectful tone.  How you handle this situation teaches your child how to handle conflict respectfully.

Third, be consistent.  Children need to be trained. Telling a child once or twice to be respectful is not enough.  It will often take several times, many examples, and lots of encouragement.  This training process needs to take place over many months, and needs to be repeated throughout their childhood.  Why? Because children always try to test their boundaries – especially when they are teenagers. 

Teaching children to Respect Adults will help them learn to respect others as well.  The rewards of this life lesson will last throughout their lifetime.

Thought for the week:

“Point your kids in the right direction - when they’re old they won’t be lost.” (Proverbs 22:6 Message Bible)

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