How To Raise Respectful Children

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me…all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” This quote by Jackie Robinson reflects the need in society for people to respect each other despite their differences. Too often conflict and dissension arise over differing ideas, and it all comes down to a lack of respect. Although it is not realistic to think that you can change the actions and attitudes of everyone in society, it is possible for parents to make a difference in the world by helping shape the actions and attitudes of their children.

The idea of respect encompasses many areas, including but not limited to obedience, service, humility, and generosity. Children are not naturally inclined to excel in these areas. A simple observation of a playground will show a wide range of selfish and disrespectful behaviors. There will be fights over toys, name calling, yelling, arguments, pushing, and shoving. Although these types of actions are common in childhood, they should not be seen as acceptable.

Children must begin learning to respect others at home. While it is true that school and other community leaders have a responsibility and an influence in shaping children, the majority of the responsibility lies with parents. Parents will have the most profound effect on their children, and the home environment will provide the best opportunities for discussion, modeling, and correction.

Although it is not easy to teach children to be respectful, it is possible. It requires commitment and dedication on the part of the parents, and it also requires for children to learn the importance of that virtue. Children need to know not only what they need to do, but why they need to do it. If a child is presented with a scenario of what would happen if everyone thought only of themselves and the struggles that would come with that, they will be more likely to choose to think of others first. If a child sees how harmful words can be, they will be more likely to choose their words carefully to avoid hurting others.

When it comes to raising children to be respectful, the most important and often times most difficult thing for parents is to model respect. Your children are constantly watching you. They learn from you, and if they see you react to a situation in a certain way, they will react the same way. If they see you get angry and yell at someone, they will yell when they are angry. If they see you cut to the front of a line, they will do the same. On the other hand, if they see you give up your seat for an elderly person or hold the door open for someone, these will become habits that they adopt.

The ability to be respectful and courteous is a skill that will serve a child throughout his entire life. He will have better relationships with his teachers and will therefore do better at school, he will have better relationships with his peers and in turn will have a rich and satisfying circle of friendship and support, and he will have a better relationship with future employers, and will therefore excel professionally.
Teaching your children to be respectful can be a difficult task, but it is one that is well worth the effort.

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