As a parent, you want to teach your child to have respect. It might seem like something that is easier said than done. However, by following a couple of guidelines, you should be able to easily raise a respectful child.
This might be the most important aspect of teaching your child respect. Children naturally learn their interactions from us; in fact, most learning occurs by example and only a small percentage of information is actually taught. Especially when the child is young and not yet ready to think about issues of respect, you should model respect. By showing respect to your child and to others around you (including yourself), you will be teaching your child respect.
As soon as kids start to ask for things, they can start saying “please” and “thank you”. If a child can say, “I want”, they can be taught to say, “I want please”; it’s just a matter of correcting them and modeling the proper words for them to use. When the child does say please, you should reinforce that by telling them how nice it sounds and giving them what they asked for. Later you will want to teach “excuse me”, “you’re welcome”, and “I’m glad to meet you”. It is never too early to teach children manners.
Praise respect, and correct disrespect
Whenever you catch your child acting respectfully you should praise him for it. Similarly, if your child is disrespectful of anybody or anything you should correct him. Don’t let disrespectful behavior go. If they call the dog “stupid dog” you can say, “We don’t say stupid in this house. Did Rover do something to make you mad?” This corrects the child without making him feel attacked.
Talk about feeling
Respect is closely related to feelings. Often when people say or do disrespectful things, it is because they are angry, frustrated, or scared. If your child can learn to talk about their feelings, they will be less likely to lash out in disrespectful ways. The other side of this is being treated with disrespect causes hurt feelings. Your child needs to see the connection between how they treat others and how the others feel.
On a global level, a lot of problems are born out of a lack of respect for the diversity of others. It is important that your child learn that all people are equal but different and that those differences are great! Teach your child about different cultures, different types of people, and different ways of thinking.
Help your child take pride in uniqueness
One way to teach your child to respect differences in others is to teach him or her to respect the differences in themselves. Talk to your child about being unique. Point out the things that make them uniquely them. Explain that all people have unique qualities. You may even want to point out some of your own unique qualities.
Teach your child the “Golden Rule”
The golden rule is to treat others the way that you want to be treated. This rule should be a rule in your family. If your child acts either respectfully or disrespectfully, you can relate the behavior to the golden rule when you talk about it.
Some families may not believe in organized religions but if yours does, this is a great way to teach respect to your child. Religions of the East tend to focus on respect for all things while western religions focus on respect of God. Giving your children a respectful and moral framework to develop in will help them become respectful adults.