10 Tips on Teaching Respect to Children: You can't get it if you don't give it!

Quick Tips on Teaching respect to children

By: Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

I remember reading an issue of Family Fun Magazine in which behavior specialist Jan Faull asks, “How will the child learn respect if you don’t teach it, expect it and model it yourself?”

Good point. I recently was coaching a parent who told me in exasperation, “I am teaching respect but I can’t get any respect!” She was desperately seeking parenting advice. Upon digging deeper, she told me that she found herself screaming at her children when they did not do as she asked. After much discussion and parenting coaching technique, the mother came to realize that by screaming, she was teaching the very thing she hated; disrespect.

Children will 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! “Young ones will eventually express themselves as you do, but realize it takes years of effective teaching to refine those skills” Family Fun Magazine writer, Faull, wrote. This is accurate when on both the positive side and the negative side. When you speak with respect to your children, they learn respect. When you speak with disrespect, they learn that just as well.

10 Parenting Tips for Teaching Respect and Curbing Disrespect:

(1) Model it: If you want them to do it, you have to do it too.

(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, 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 weekend filled with respect-


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 the featured expert in articles for Parents and Prevention Magazines, the Washington Post, and other regional and national publications. Dr. Robyn, as she is affectionately called by those with whom she works, was also recently a featured parenting expert on the nation radio show with Dr. Drew Pinsky. For more information or to contact Dr. Robyn, visit her Powerful Parenting Blog or her website .

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