It’s one of our most important jobs as parents to raise children who are polite and respectful toward others, and who treat people of all backgrounds with kindness. Teaching respect starts with our own interactions with our children, as they learn a lot from watching how their parents behave and communicate with others. If you want to raise a respectful child, read on for some tips from a private school in the South West.
Model Respectful Behavior
It’s no use reminding your children to be respectful if you don’t demonstrate this yourself. Make sure you say please and thank you to them when they do something for you, and try to give their opinions and ideas time and attention. Even when you’re arguing with your child you can model respect by listening to their side and hearing them out even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying or doing. Make sure your child also sees you displaying this kind of behavior toward others, like being polite to the checkout operator at the supermarket or reminding others to be respectful when there’s conflict.
Explain to your child that our level of respect toward others can be linked to how we feel about ourselves. People who have high self-esteem usually treat others with the same respect they have for themselves. One way to teach your child about self-respect is to encourage them to take time to look after themselves, perhaps by exercising regularly or cooking healthy, nutritious foods, or relaxing and doing things they enjoy. Explain that they should practise frequent self-care to boost their self-esteem, which will, in turn, encourage them to be more respectful to others.
Basic manners are the cornerstone of respect, so demonstrate politeness in your own conversations with people and encourage your child to do the same. If they struggle with social interactions, you could role-play different scenarios and how they might behave. When you’re out and about, prompt your child to make small talk with people in a respectful way and say please and thank you when, for example, ordering food in a restaurant or paying for shopping. Practise makes perfect, and it will help respect become a habit your child doesn’t even have to think about.
Sometimes respect can fall away when people are arguing about something; they can forget their manners due to the emotions involved and start treating the other person unkindly. Spend some time teaching your child how to behave when they experience conflict and explain that respect should always be maintained, even when there is strong disagreement. Explain that it’s possible to get their point across without yelling and that acknowledging the other person’s feelings is important, however much they disagree with them. It’s also a good idea to teach your child that they should expect respect from others and that they can walk away if they’re not receiving it.
These strategies will help your child grow up to be kind and respectful toward others, which will stand them in good stead when it comes to forging relationships and having meaningful interactions.