Respect and tolerance are key features of a safe, calm society, but these skills are not on the curriculum, so how are they taught?
Children learn most from the people to whom they are most closely attached so don’t undervalue how much you can teach your child, especially the softer skills that are so important for later life, just by modelling the skills you want to teach and talking to your child. Here are some top tips from our experts to help you raise respectful children.
- Be firm – If your child is displaying disrespectful behaviour, then make them aware of how you feel about this and how it does not meet your family expectations/rules.
- Be a positive role model – Demonstrate to your child how to respect people, property and themselves. They will learn from you and if you are showing respect then they are likely do the same. On the other hand, you show behaviour of disrespecting, and then they are negatively going to copy this behaviour.
- Discuss and teach respect – Talk about respect and what it means to respect things. This will make your child aware of how actions are perceived and they will begin to understand ways you can show respect and how to prevent being disrespectful. You may witness an incident in the park when a child is disrespecting property You could point this incident out to your child and let them discuss why that behaviour was inappropriate and how they could have been respectful.
- Have expectations, then praise, reinforce and reward – Make your child aware of your expectations about respect and explain the consequences if they are disrespectful. If your child is respectful then praise and reward them and this positive praise will make children want to repeat respectful behaviour.
- Be patient and be aware that your child will make mistakes – teaching a child respect is a gradual process. Parents need to be patient and understand that children may show signs of being disrespectful. Children will be experimenting with behaviour and having consistent boundaries will help children feel safe and make it easier for them to learn to be respectful.