Parents' Roles in Teaching Respect

  • Showing respect is a sophisticated communication skill.  It is based on a guiding belief in the importance of expressing consideration for others.  Outlined below are tips for teaching respect.  Parents need to be patient; learning respect takes time.

    • Show respect to your growing child through all of your daily ups and downs together, even when setting a limit or giving a consequence for misbehavior.
    • Begin early to teach your child about the feelings, ideas, and opinions of others; find opportunities every day to repeat these messages to your child as she grows.
    • Meet respectful behavior with praise and recognition; privately express disappointment and disapproval to your child when you observe your child exhibiting disrespectful behavior.
    • Talk with your child in advance about how to ask questions of a teacher; how to behave during church; how to act at a play, concert, or birthday party; and so forth.  Help your child plan how to show respect in these and other situations.
    • Help your child learn that everyone has different likes and dislikes.  Fun ways to help your child learn about how people are different include going to museums, listening to a variety of music styles, and tasting food from different cultures.  Teach your child to show respect for individual preferences.
    • Be a good role model by showing respect in your daily interactions with others.

    Copyright 2000 by Bobbi Conner.  Reprinted from the book Everyday Opportunities for Extraordinary Parenting with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.