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Establishing respect with your child

Establishing respect with your child

You can’t teach a child to be respectful without modeling it yourself. Your children follow your actions more than your words, so if you act disrespectfully toward your child, your child will not only act disrespectfully toward you, but also lose trust in your words because your words contradict your actions.

Ways to show respect

Here is how you can model respect in your home:

  • Listen – Really listen! Don’t just wait for your turn to speak. Check out our previous post on how to be a better listener.
  • Keep you promises – It shows you are a person people can trust.
  • Use your manners – Simply because it is polite.
  • Be fair – We all make mistakes – be fair and understanding when someone else does.
  • Be on time – Making people wait around for you is very rude.
  • Go out of your way – Show people they are valuable by doing more than the bare minimum for them.

Ways to encourage respectful behavior

By using the tips about how to act respectfully, you have made a great start at establishing respect in your home. Here are a few ways to encourage your children to adopt those same behaviors:

  • Most important: Never use violence – Violence is never the answer. If your child is disrespectful, yelling and violent actions are only going to make things worse and cause your child to fear you. Fear is not respect. Fear causes you to lose your child’s respect and respect is not an easy thing to regain.
  • Acknowledge it – Sometimes kids just experiment with actions and are not sure what ones are right and what ones are wrong. Acknowledge it when your child is respectful or (respectfully) tell your child when he or she is being disrespectful.
  • Expect it – While in the beginning you need to acknowledge respectful behavior, too much praise is bad for a child. Once your child understands respect, only praise big accomplishments; you want your child to understand respectful behavior is something they need to do and thus not something they should expect to be praised for.
  • Reinforce it – If your child has been going through a disrespectful phase, remind them of times they were respectful in the past. It is encouraging to hear yourself used in a positive example.
  • Reward it –If your child has been very respectful for a long period of time, reward him or her. Not with toys or money, but with more freedom and responsibility. Explain that their respectful behavior has proven to you that they are mature enough to handle it.

Children close their ears to advice, but open their eyes to example. Model and practice respect everyday and you will be surprised at how quickly your children catch on.

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