Like everything in life, children need to be taught and guided, in order to live harmoniously. Universally, respect is something that is expected in a person, at school and work, no matter their background. However, the fact that many disregard children needing to be taught respect and how to practice it, is the reason they find their little ones not abiding by standard practices. Of course, children at very young ages will have tantrums in quiet spaces or occasionally forget their please and thank yous, that’s a given. But, as a parent, it is important to assist your child when it comes to understanding respect and the importance of it in our world. Below is some advice on how to raise a respectful child.
Demonstrate respectful behaviour
One of the easiest ways to teach your child anything, is by practicing it yourself to begin with. Respect is something that is acknowledged and picked up over time. By practicing acts of respect from when your child is young, such as having manners, smiling at strangers, or allowing the elderly access first, will show your child that this is the norm. Eventually, they will begin to practice it in their own routines too.
Remember, young children collect up to 95% of their vocabulary from you. The words and mannerisms you choose to use when you speak to your child, will be a direct indicator of how they speak to others. Express your thoughts and emotions respectfully to your child. For example, instead of saying “You’re such a messy child”, you can say “Let’s get a sponge to clean up that mess”. Delivery of information plays a huge part in how a child learns to communicate and perceive the world. If they understand that negative things can be said in a respectful manner, they will begin to value it and practice it themselves. Don’t worry if you screw up occasionally, you’re human. Just apologise and carry on.
Give your child your full attention
When your child is talking to you, listen and model active listening by putting down your digital device and giving them your full attention. This includes eye contact and nodding of the head to show your child that you are invested in the conversation. One day, your child will have a phone of their own, so you want to teach them from a young age to put down the device when engaging in conversations. Holding onto the phone or taking short glances can come across as rude to many, so covering these fine details now will help them in the long run.