How to Teach Children About Respect When They’re Young

When we embark on the adventure of becoming parents, we experience a rollercoaster of emotions, looking ahead and worrying about our children’s safety. There’s that circle of wanting to be able to provide for our children, giving them the things we wished for but couldn’t afford.

But there’s a niggling fear in the back of our thoughts about what will happen when our children reach adolescence.

Do you recall Kevin and Perry’s first date, when Kevin was 13 years old? Kevin transformed from being a lovely kid to a monster who constantly talked down to his parents on the spot.

Consider what it was like to be a teenager. Was there a power struggle between you and your parents, or did you both respect one other? While our children are young, the concept of having them appreciate us is usually in the back of our minds. It is rarely a problem.

There are just rainbows and unicorns outside of the odd outbursts. Isn’t learning how to tie your shoes more essential than learning how to respect others? No way, no how!

In actuality, one of the most fundamental virtues that a young child may learn is respect. It can aid in the development of positive relationships with other children in the community and at school. When people learn to be a bit more tolerant of diversity, they become more understanding.

These are all attributes that we want for our children, and they are also qualities that a leader should possess. It sounds wonderful to instill respect in our children. But first, what is it, and how can we teach respect to children?

What Is Respect?

Respect is a manner of acknowledging and valuing other people’s rights, opinions, behaviors, and differences. It entails more than simply being accepting of others. It’s a gut feeling about how you should treat others that comes from within.

It’s also about how you should view yourself. Due to the epidemic, respect has recently become more obvious with the idea of respecting other people’s personal space.

Our children will make better decisions and avoid things or individuals who will harm them if they are taught to respect others. They are more likely to look after the items you have purchased for them. Most significantly, kids are more likely to acquire their parents’ respect as a result of their efforts.

How Do We Teach Children About Respect?

In my opinion, you should not delegate the responsibility of teaching respect to others. As parents, we must take responsibility for this. Even at an early age, our children’s attitudes regarding respect are influenced by a variety of negative influences, such as bad role models in movies like Frozen.

Elsa takes no responsibility for her powers in this film, harms her sister and kingdom, and fails to show any respect throughout the plot. So, where do you begin when teaching respect to children?

1. Teach Your Children About Sharing

At the age of four, I remember learning respect for the first time. I had a fantastic red trike. It was incredible, with a unique design, faster wheels, and a good steering lock. My father then took the trike and gave it to my nursery one day.

It was being used by other kids! It was a culture shock because it was one of my favorite things, but I had no choice but to share it today. It took some time, but I was fine with sharing because my father rewarded me with cake for doing so.

Sharing is one of the most effective ways to instill respect in children. Our children learn that if we give a little to others, we may be able to acquire a bit of what we desire in return. What the parents do will be observed by the children.

Do they pass stuff around the dining table, such as ketchup, or do they share food? Is it more likely that everyone has their phones out, sits in a silo, and then disperses quickly? Playing games with the kids, as well as the dinner table, are excellent places to learn about sharing.

Sharing and respect can be introduced through games like Lego. If you’re making your own world-ins, you can build a simple and enjoyable tower together and take turns adding elements to the structure or trading sections.

2. Let Your Children Answer for Themselves

My profession is that of a martial arts coach, which is a rewarding position. We’ll get to it in a moment, but first, I’d like to offer a typical observation that we observe at the academy.

Children as young as four years old and as elderly as twelve years old may attend their first class in our children’s programs. All of the coaches are curious about why the kids want to try a class and what their parents hope their child will learn.

We will get down to a child’s height level when we first meet them, as it is not respectful to tower over young children and speak down to them.

We don’t respect our children, and we don’t value their opinions. It’s possible that it simply takes them longer to express themselves in a new scenario. We rescue our children because we perceive them to be shy or insecure. However, if we do this frequently, we will stifle the flow of respect.

Allow them to strive, think for themselves, and be patient with them. They won’t always respond, but you’ll be surprised to observe how often they’ll try to communicate in their preferred manner.

Allow them to strive, think for themselves, and be patient with them. They won’t always respond, but you’ll be surprised to observe how often they’ll try to communicate in their preferred manner.

The issue is that when we speak up for our children, one of two things can happen:

  • We either emphasize that their perspective is unimportant or
  • We save the less socially confident (shy) youngsters from an uncomfortable scenario that prevents them from developing future skills.

Instead of doing things for our children or answering their questions for them, we should let them answer, struggle, and think for themselves. You’ll be astounded at how much their sense of personal importance grows.

3. The Role Model Soapbox

Leading by example is the most difficult technique to teach respect of all the methods available. Let’s face it: we all believe our children should “do as I say, not as I do.” However, in real life, things rarely go as planned.

When my kid was little enough to use a high chair, I recall taking her to a pub for lunch. We were meeting up with a friend of mine who was experiencing some home troubles and wanted to hook up and discuss.

Hannah, my daughter, was served first with her lunch at the pub, followed by myself, and then my buddy Dave. We were about to begin eating when Dave took one glance at his food, shoved the plate back at the waitress, and exclaimed, “It’s the wrong order, go fix it now!”

We were meeting up because Dave was tired and stressed. It’s not an excuse, though, to be a bad role model in front of Hannah by lacking empathy, respect, and self-control. In this case, both Dave and I felt compelled to apologize to the waitress.

However, I understand that, like Dave, we all have times in our life when everything goes wrong. It’s simple to say things like, “You should keep cool, stay in control, and show others understanding.” However, the acts we should take are easy to talk about but difficult to put into practice.

But we must attempt to find the energy to appreciate our children and dig deep for the times when we need to be patient.

Give Your Child a Little Patience

When our children act “out of sorts,” it’s often because they’ve forgotten or missed the cue to show appropriate behavior. We’ve all been so engrossed in a task that we’ve missed hearing our name called, or we’ve been tired and responded in a clumsy manner.

If this is the case, we may need to exercise some patience with our children. It’s the respectful thing to do—asking good questions, especially if they make a mistake—rather than snapping and demanding that they listen the first time. After all, we are their parents, and they should obey our commands!

You’ll know when your youngster says, “I detest you” or “I wish you weren’t my mother or father.” This is something you may hear from your children as young as four years old. Do you recall the movie I mentioned earlier? What children see and hear will be imitated.

It doesn’t necessarily imply that they meant what they said. When you’re angry, it’s usually just a gut reaction. “What made you feel this way?” you can respond. When you say, “Go to your room, immediately!” they usually feel better and obtain a more useful answer.

So, being a role model isn’t the same as leading by example. It also means treating your children with respect and considering them as individuals rather than attempting to entirely dominate them.

A Little Outsourcing May Be a Good Thing

Although I previously stated that you should not outsource teaching respect, there are several things that can make a significant difference. Yes, I’m about to contradict myself by bringing up the subject of martial arts.

Men in white pajamas bowing to each other, kneeling, and quietly listening to the sensei “teacher” come to mind when you think about martial arts.

 Many martial arts groups have switched to t-shirts and jogging pants, but the rituals that help establish respect and character have remained the same. There are several routines in the martial arts that are excellent habits for children to adopt and will help them develop respect.

Only 3 Ways to Teach Respect? Is That All You Have to Do?

We all want to instill respect in our children because we know it will help them be more successful and happy in life. There is no such thing as a child who is too young to begin learning.

Sharing is an approach you can start with your child at a young age, but it’s also fine to value your child’s needs.

So, if they have a favorite toy that they don’t want to share, that’s fine as long as they share everything else.

Allow your youngster to respond on his or her own. To be honest, this is the most difficult part since the quiet might be unpleasant, but you must continue and allow them to respond on their own. In the long term, this tiny action has a tremendous effect, and youngsters improve as their confidence grows.

Last but not least, there’s the “role model soapbox.” It has the most impact on our children at a young age since they look up to their parents. Just remember to practice patience on those days when you’re grumpy and weary, and if you make a mistake, you may need to apologize.

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