8 Tips Every Parent Needs for Teaching Respect to Children

By Dr. Robyn Silverman
Originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog

Throughout April 2011, we’re working on the concept of “respect” as part of our Powerful Words character development curriculum, designed by leading child development expert Dr. Robyn Silverman.

All our discussions and activities will aim to help our students understand what it means to show care, consideration, concern and courtesy for others.

This month’s “Dear Dr. Robyn” column is all about teaching respect to children.

Dr. Robyn Silverman is the child development expert who created Powerful Words, our character development curriculum here at Urban Martial Arts.

Dear Dr. Robyn,
My wife and I are having a disagreement about whether or not my brother’s use of “strong language” is affecting our kids. They’re 6 and 3 and at times, copy what he says or does — but usually don’t do it when he leaves. Obviously, we want our kids to show respect. How can we ensure it?
—Joe P, Toronto, ON

Dear Joe,

Children will take their cues from those they trust. Simply put, if children are around respectful adults, they’re more likely to show respect. When they’re around disrespectful adults, they’re more likely to show disrespect.

Yelling, cursing, shouting over, and sarcasm are transferable. On the flip side, so is speaking with kindness, consideration, and care. Children will copy the behavior they see — so it is best to keep disrespectful language out of your home.

Here are 8 tips for teaching respect and curbing disrespect:

1. Model it:
If you want them to do it, you have to do it too.

2. Expect it:
When your expectations are reasonably high, children rise to the occasion.

3. Teach it:
Give children the tools they need to show you respect. The lessons your children will be learning in class this month will be great springboards for discussion.

4. Praise it:
When you see or hear your children showing respect, recognize it and praise them for these choices.

5. Discuss it:
Pick out times when you see other children using respectful or disrespectful language or behavior and discuss with it your children.

6. Correct it:
Be strong, firm and direct when teaching respect. At the same time, be sure you are being respectful yourself while correcting the behavior.

7. Understand it:
Your children are growing and learning. Poor choices can be made when children don’t have the correct words or behavior to relay “I’m tired,” or “I’m angry.”

8. Reinforce it:
Help children to remember how it felt, the praise they received, and the overall experience of being respectful.

It is best to associate respectful behavior with intangible rewards such as praise, recognition, extra responsibility, and privileges.

Teaching respect takes patience, time, and a willingness to do as you preach. Of course, it takes years to rear a respectful child and only moments to fill one with anger and disrespect.

Free Download: Special Report on Respect

Fill out the form below to request a free PDF download of our special report:
“The Power of Respect: A Guide for Parents and Educators”

This special report is an excellent resource, whether you’re a parent who wants to instill greater respect in your children, or you’re a teacher looking for character development lesson ideas in the classroom.

By filling out the form above, you’ll also receive a complimentary subscription to Black Belt Success, the email newsletter from Urban Martial Arts.
Here’s to your success!