what is it?

Respect is one of those words that people use frequently but often can?t define precisely. To respect someone means to value and honor them, both their words and actions, even if we do not approve of everything they do. It’s accepting the other person and not judging or trying to change them. 

Treating someone with respect means acting in away that shows you care about their feelings and well-being. One can also have respect for positions or for rules or for possessions or objects, but perhaps the most important component is self-respect. Respect is a very important component of both personal identity and interpersonal relationships. As all people are equal, to feel respected is considered a basic human right. 

why do we need it?

Respect is one of the most important virtues a child can learn. Teaching your child how to respect others helps ensure they develop positive relationships with their family, friends and teachers throughout their life. If you can teach your children to respect you, themselves, and others when they are young, they’re likely to carry that value with them as they enter the real world and use it to become successful, happy, and contributing adults. 

Respect is important because, without it, children can’t value themselves or others. Children who have self-respect treat themselves well. They’re less likely to do harmful things, they make good choices, and they tend to act in ways that are in their own best interests 

what are the goals?

When teaching children about respect, we want them to be able to: 

how do we teach it?

books we read

how to boost it at home

words we use

Respect your child.

Even the smallest human beings deserve to have their tastes and preferences considered and their personal space honored. Whenever possible, don’t make your child do something he doesn’t want (unless it’s a safety issue). Suggest, encourage, advise, but don’t force. Let your child find her own way of doing things, and let her do it. When we accept children’s differences, they feel listened to and respected. They learn in how it feels to have their needs, preferences, and opinions listened to and respected. 

Set limits and stick to them.

Setting boundaries teaches kids that the world doesn’t revolve around them; they also have to consider others with their actions. When teaching respect, it is important to set limits on what is right and wrong for children. When they behave disrespectfully, calmly point out the behavior, and tell your child the behavior you expect. Establish fair and reasonable consequences for being disrespectful. 

Stay calm and don't shout.

If you want to teach respect, setting a good example is critical. While parenting can test our nerves, shouting at anyone is disrespectful, even children. Try to handle frustrations calmly—and if you feel the urge to shout at your children, take a breath and a break. 

Don't use negative labels or insults.

When your child misbehaves (and they will, that’s how they learn), focus on the behavior, not the child. Don’t use negative labels or insults about others when angry, either, such as being cut off in traffic. 

Don't let your child disrespect you.

Don’t let your children or anyone else speak or act disrespectfully to you. If they disrespect you or don’t take you seriously, don’t allow it. When it happens, address it calmly, but consistently. Say “What you said hurt me,” or “I won’t allow you to speak to me like that;” these phrases will help for this behavior not to repeat again. 

Praise your children when they are respectful.

It’s important for children to learn the actions that are right and respectful. Let them know that what they have done is right because then they are more likely to repeat it. 

Apologize when you're wrong.

When you’re wrong, you don’t keep your promise, or you’re too hard on your child, it’s important to apologize to them. You will teach them that taking responsibility for our mistakes is an important part of respect. 

Respect yourself.

If others see that you respect yourself, they will also consider and appreciate you and your needs. Consider yourself a priority. 

Demand good manners.

Even toddlers can learn to say “please” and “thank you,” while preschoolers should be expected to look people in the eye when they greet them and to say “hello” and “goodbye.” Be prepared to give plenty of gentle reminders. If you’re taking your kids someplace that requires a specific kind of behavior, make sure they understand what’s expected of them. Tell them what behavior you expect of them, and the consequences for not being able to, and then follow through on it. Whenever your child uses good manners, make sure you praise him. 

Teach listening skills.

One of the most fundamental ways of showing respect is by giving someone your time and attention. You can practice important conversation skills and prosocial behavior—such as not interrupting, or waiting for a turn to talk—by role-playing. Let your child be the “interrupter,” and then turn the tables and ask her how it feels. 

Teach them to respect stuff.

When we teach kids to treat belongings with respect, we’re helping them develop a sense of gratitude and consideration. Help kids understand what gives something its worth, like the effort that went into growing your garden. 

Children don’t need a ton of stuff, and the more toys they get, the less they’ll appreciate each item. Offer them fewer toys, and try to choose ones that they can use in a variety of creative ways. 

Before you hand over a prized object, spell out the rules: “If you would like to use Mommy’s music box, you must be willing to stay seated, make sure you don’t shake it, and let Mommy turn the key.” 

my character

character education | january


building character to last a lifetime!