Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

Jennifer Petri- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Rock Springs and Green River, WY

Children need to feel respected and to learn to respect other people around them. This is a hard lesson to learn, and some children are more receptive to the message than others. All children are taught the basics of respect at school, but outside of school it’s our responsibility as parents. One thing is for sure: respect is something that can be taught only by example. Our children will not be respectful of other people and other people’s possessions if we do not lead them in the right direction with our own words and actions. 

Teaching respect begins very early in life.  Many children as young as one are old enough to begin to learn not to hit people, and how to softly handle animals.  They can also begin to understand that some things are not for them.  This is not a onetime lesson, but an ongoing way to learn how to live respectfully.  Instead of focusing on our children to teach them respect, we have to focus on our own behavior.  Here are some tips I find useful:

1. Respect your child’s boundaries.  This means that if they don’t want to be touched, keep your hands off.  If they don’t want to play, allow them to mellow out alone.

2. Respect your child’s decisions (within reason).  If your child does not like to play basketball, do not force them to play so you can live vicariously through their play.  Let them choose their own activities based on their personal preferences, once they are old enough.

3. Respect your child’s view of the world.  This means that you might have to slow down and smell the mud pies with them.  This is what childhood is all about.

Learning to be respectful is a lifelong process.  What are some ways you can think of to show your child respect, so they may pass it on?

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Comments on: "Teaching Children Respect- Just in Time for Back to School" (3)

  1. Downeychick said:

    I agree that our example is so important when teaching our children respect. I think that we should say “please” and “thank you” to our children. I have heard many parents tell their children “get me a drink of water” instead of asking “can you please get me a drink of water?”. How are children going to learn if we don’t show them how it’s done?? I heard a speaker say this week “no matter what our political views, how are we going to teach our children respect for our great country if we run down our President?” Think about it!!

  2. Juanita Bybee said:

    I agree that respect starts with the parent. I have an 8 yr. old girl who is trying to assert her independance. I find that I need to respect her choices and try to find a balance between what I think and what she thinks. We are still working on it.

  3. Tammy Wilson said:

    I agree manners start in the cradle so to speak. I have some fun manners games that can evern be played with toddlers. I also agree that adults need to respect children. I disagree with parents that do things like throw away their childrens used toys when they feel they are not used anymore. I feel things like that should be done with the child being involved. My five year old grandaughter loves going threw items she hasn’t played with for sometime and boxing them up to give to charity. Knowing they will be used again by another child makes her feel good about helping others.

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