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How To Teach Children About Respect

One of the lessons many of us tend to ignore when raising children is the importance of treating people with respect. This can be a big mistake. Children need to be taught about respect from an early age if they’re to carry this forward in life and who can teach them better than their parents?

Most children resort to disrespectful behavior when they don’t have their wants or needs taken care of adequately. Now, some allowances for this can be made when they’re very young, but once they’re toddlers, this has to be kept in check.

Teaching them clear and polite ways of conveying their emotions will help them be respectful towards you and other people they interact with.

There are a few more ways by which you can teach your child about the difference between respectful and disrespectful behavior, and we’ve listed them here:

Call Out Disrespect

One of the easiest ways to teach your child about respect is to call them out when they disrespect you. It will teach them about boundaries if you confront their behavior as early as you can. In fact, the younger they are, the better chance they have of retaining what you teach them.

It may be tempting to ignore your child’s behavior by telling yourself that they’re young, and you don’t have to be hard on them now. This is the wrong approach to take. Your child is capable of understanding important lessons before they can even talk, so explain to them in simple words that their behavior is wrong.

Ever met a toddler who uses rude language and bad manners to get their way and thought, “what have their parents been teaching them”? You don’t want people to be thinking about your child that way, do you? That’s why we keep reiterating that you should start teaching them about respect and disrespect while they’re young.

Also, your child will be better equipped to handle interactions with other children and adults if they’ve been taught to identify disrespect. This will not only ensure that their behavior is in line, but it will also help them recognize when they’re disrespected as well. It’s a useful thing to learn early on in life as it will help them stand up for themself.

How To Teach Children About Respect

Teach Them Social Skills

Again, this is best taught early on before the age of five. Don’t underestimate the power of basic manners and polite words as they can set the tone for any interaction. Once they start speaking, ensure you add the words ‘please,’ ‘sorry,’ ‘excuse me’ and ‘thank you’ to your child’s vocabulary.

Keep repeating these words whenever you speak to them and remind them to use them when they forget to. Remember: children learn quickly, so they’ll be repeating these words and phrases back to you before long. Teaching them these words will also inculcate a sense of empathy in them.

Aside from these words, teach your child simple greetings and requests too. It’s also very important to teach your child how to behave in public places such as malls, supermarkets, places of worship, etc. too.

This includes teaching them how to behave around other children in school and the values of sharing, honesty, hard work, etc. These will help them cope well in school and initiate friendships.

Keep Calm

It’s most likely that your child doesn’t even know they’re being disrespectful towards you and the repercussions of such behavior. Alright, sometimes they do know and do it on purpose anyway. Such behavior certainly deserves some form of punishment.

Having said that, their rudeness is not excused enough for you to behave rudely towards them, too; you shouldn’t lose your calm while dealing with them. After all, the best teacher would be your own behavior as children tend to mimic the actions of those around them. This is especially true in the case of curious toddlers.

If you ask your child to do something, and they respond either by ignoring you, yelling, or back-replying, don’t lose control of your emotions and yell back. Poor emotional control will only encourage your child to continue engaging in bad behavior to provoke you further. Yes, children can be difficult that way sometimes.

Remember to treat your child with respect by using kind language with them and avoid raising your voice as much as possible. Your child will most likely calm down if you do so and learn how to respond properly if the situation that agitated them arises again.

How To Teach Children About Respect

Get To The Root Of It

To avoid running into confrontations about disrespect every so often with your child, try and investigate what’s causing their disrespect in the first place. Your first instinct may be to counter your child’s behavior and punish them adequately, but in doing so, you’ll keep ignoring the root cause behind this behavior. This, in turn, will prompt such behavior again.

The easiest way to get to the root of their behavior is to simply ask them what prompted it. Did they use rude language because they were upset? Were they upset because they didn’t get something they wanted? Was this because you prevented them from having it? Ask them questions such as these in simple words they can understand.

Now, you may or may not get straight answers out of them, but it’ll encourage them to evaluate their own actions at the very least. It’ll also help them understand their emotional reactions and the consequences of them. Once you’ve asked them the reasons behind their behavior and they’ve calmed down, explain to them why their actions weren’t ideal.

You can help them express their emotions by teaching them appropriate words to use when they’re angry. Help them retain these words by using them yourself whenever you’re angry or upset with them too. This will also teach them to stay calm and gain control of their emotions in moments of stress and anger.

Take A Reasonable Approach To Their Behaviour

Don’t set unrealistic standards for your child’s behavior and expect them to behave like an angel all the time. This will be as distressing for you as it will be for them. After all, your child is learning a lot every day, and you’re learning how to deal with them too, so this whole process cannot be rushed.

Expectations don’t just pertain to behavior here, though. They could also relate to your expectations for your child’s academic performance, their sporting abilities, etc.

For instance, many parents expect their children to learn reading as soon as they start schooling. Doing so may pressurize your child and stress them out, resulting in them taking this out on you in the form of angry outbursts.

Instead, help your child get through their difficulties, especially when it comes to academics, as this will be taking up so much of their time. For example, you can use additional learning tools online that’ll make reading a fun experience for your child.

The program called Children Learning Reading is a quality offering that has over 78,000 parents currently using it. They offer a free trial, so you can use it for a while and see for yourself how much your child enjoys it. Besides, they have a money-back guarantee in case you’re not happy with the services you’ve received. We say you give it a shot and help your child explore their full potential.

Don’t Make It About You

If your child is behaving badly, don’t take it personally. All children behave badly towards their parents every now and then. Ask yourself: didn’t you? Your child’s stress or anger is not necessarily a comment on your parenting skills, so don’t make the mistake of interpreting it that way.

After all, since you’re closest to your child, it’s only logical that they’ll take their feelings out on you – both good and bad. With this in mind, learn to view their behavior objectively and neutrally. We know this isn’t always easy, but it’s integral to teaching your child about respect.

Be careful not to overreact to your child’s disrespect or let it ruin your day. Understand that they’re not aware of how deeply their words or actions can affect you. Take a few moments to tell yourself that it’s not about you; it’s about them learning how to express their emotions, and you just happen to be in the way sometimes.

How To Teach Children About Respect


It’s never too late to discipline your child and teach them about good manners and respect. However, it would be best if you started teaching them at a young age as this is when they’re most receptive. If your child continues to behave badly despite your admonitions, you’ll have to be more assertive and bring stricter rules into effect.

Even if you decide to take a sterner approach, make sure it’s always from a place of understanding and never your own feelings of hurt and anger. Don’t resort to physical violence or belittle your child while teaching them about respect and expect it not to backfire.

After all, you’re the best role model for your children, so do take responsibility for your own behavior towards them too.

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