Although children may not put labels such as respect or disrespect to the behaviors they see around them they are watching . . . and learning. Is it the lesson you want them to receive? When children see adults they care about communicating in an open and valued manner they will follow those examples. And it’s not only what is said or how it is communicated but body language as well. Children are constantly interpreting what they are seeing and feeling.
1) Serve as role model of respect in your daily interactions; taking other’s opinions seriously and controlling emotions. You are also a role model when you correct children after they behave insensitively towards others.
2) Encourage appropriate group interactions. Children need practice with their peers and adults. Understanding individual uniqueness while having a feeling of belonging goes a long way in building respectful behavior.
3) Encourage self discipline. Individuals who are able to discipline themselves have an easier time managing reasonable social rules and expectations.
4) Provide decision making opportunities. Giving children a say in family or other group rule development empowers them to follow those same rules in various circumstances and to appreciate the authority of others.
5) Often showing respect means being tolerant. Cooperating with others in projects and conflict resolution helps build the values of sharing and tolerance.
6) Promote discussion and debate. Issues such as fairness, inclusion or exclusion, and following rules are part of a normal day for us all. Being able to discuss feelings and opinions in a constructive manner needs to be practiced and developed.
1) Allow the speaker, adult or child, to complete what they are saying uninterrupted. Be a good listener.
2) Allow children to make mistakes – and forgive mistakes that are made by others, whether children or adults.
3) Allow and encourage civil disagreement. We don’t all agree on everything. Being able to accept differences is important. Civil discussion is a balance of expression and listening skills.
4) Transition time is necessary. While this is most often true of children it can also be true of adults. Being pressured can lead to disrespectful outbursts that could be avoided.
5) No means no. Being able to say no and stick to it. This is a good one for all of us to follow. Wheedling to get a “no” to turn into “yes” is disrespectful. If your “no” is easily turned to “yes” what message is that sending to others?
Respect is an asset worth everyone’s investment which has great return, not only to your family but to the community at large.