October 11, 2011

Lessons about Respect

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Respect is an amazing thing! I believe that respect is something that you have to  earn, but I also believe girlmisbehaved-200x300that in order to be respected you have to show respect to others. If you take a look at our youth of today you can’t help but notice that they are the most disrespectful group of children this world has ever seen. Before you start pointing fingers or offering up excuses as to why children are this way I want you to stop and look in the mirror. What are you doing to teach your child/children respect?

Respect is something we all desire, and therefore something we all must give. Growing up, I was taught about respect as a way to regard other people. It didn’t have much to do with me. I was respectful because I was taught I had to be, not because I realized that all of life is interconnected.


Respect is mutual care and regard, dignity, and physical and emotional safety-a state in which everyone counts, and everyone counts upon everyone else

Teaching respectful behaviour early in a child’s life will become a domino effect later. An instant recognition of what is acceptable in life and what is not.

never-give-people-permission-to-disrespect-youThe old ditto of do what I say, yet do not do what I do, does not teach respect. Every child should be taught; there are consequences for certain types of behaviour in the world today.

Respect starts in the home, simply by learning the basics. Teach them to say excuse me when interrupting you in conversation with another. This will teach them respect for you and also teaches them patience.

Eventually they need to learn respect for their and your belongings, for in later years a child must learn to respect the law, or face the consequences.

“Respect is believing in the worth of others. Respect means treating others as you
want to be treated.” “Believing in the worth of others”: respect is first of all a way of thinking and
feeling about others and about ourselves; it is the feeling of value and care we have for people,
places, and things. This attitude is then linked to behavior-to how we “treat” ourselves and
others, to how we speak and what we do.

There are Certain words that  seem to come up whenever we talk about respect: care, attention, consideration,
courtesy, responsiveness, responsibility, value, worth, integrity, inclusiveness, empathy, and

imagesRespect can mean different things to different people. But basically, respect means to show regard or consideration for someone or something. It is critical for our children to understand the importance of respect, so that they can communicate effectively with others throughout their lives. It is important to distinguish between respect and obedience. A child may obey you simply because he is afraid of you. However, when a child understands that your rules and disciplinary actions are ultimately for his own good, he will obey you because he respects you.

Equally important, self-respect means to hold proper esteem or regard for the dignity of one’s character. The virtue of self-respect allows children to feel good about themselves and will help them to achieve their goals.


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Everyone needs respect. In a world where the current mantra seems to be “it’s all about me” there seems to be a loss of respect in many different areas-loss of self-respect, respect for property, and respect for others. If this is the situation from an adult perspective, then how do we teach children to have an attitude of respect?

Here are six distinct truths that we must understand about respect. One we understand the truth about what respect is, it naturally grows into being.

1) It is only by kind words we discover as children kind words are returned.fen-handling-disrespect

2) It is by having our own needs met as children we grow into understanding others also have needs.

3) It is by someone’s interest in how we feel that causes them enough curiosity to actually want to know that prompts them to ask us how we feel. Children naturally want to share how they feel. We as parents must ask our children how they are feeling.

4) Respect is an inside production line at work. The actual amount of respect someone has growing within them can not be limited by today. Children grow feet larger then their shoes, stomachs bigger than their eyes and the potential to respect others, even when we cannot see it with our own eyes.

5) Genuine respect is never grown by authority. There is a huge difference between a slavery to respect and a person who is wiling to respect. What happens is the one governed will break free, rebel, and rise against the control thrust upon them. Growing up in a Mennonite home I acted as I should and was expected to act. Genuine respect does not arrive as a well learned script. It arrives naturally because of ones willingness to respect

6) Respect is a two way street not a one way street. I have witnessed insincere respect before and it intrigues me watching even a child mimic its parent in gossiping. A child watches and listens even when we do not notice.

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Here are a few things that you can do to infuse respectful attitude in your children:

Teach them. When they are relatively young, say between 3 to 9 years, respect can be taught to them. Show the-cycle-of-Respectthem the importance and power of family bonding, tell them how to behave with all elders and what words of etiquettes to use. Values learned  in these tender years will affect them much deeply than those you preach in later.

Have expectations. Tell and show them through your behavior that respect is a natural expectation from them. They should feel responsible for their behavior towards you.

Encourage them. When they do show respect, praise them and make them feel proud of it. Such acknowledgement will encourage them to take their own decisions, rather than follow their peers.

Reward Them! Why not? If you are happy with your child’s behavior, reward him or her! But be careful not to go overboard, so as to embarrass them. This is a little tricky age, where you need to understand what makes your gesture a welcomed one and what makes it ‘interference’.

Most of the schools across America have been implementing what they call “character education.” While this is a good approach to teaching children different good character traits, I believe the teaching of these begins and home and continues long after the curriculum has been taught. The character education curriculum is comprised teaching children many different aspects of character-trustworthiness, responsibility, fairness, and respect just to name a few. In the teaching manual on respect, they list six components:

    • Treat other people the way you want to be treated.
    • Be courteous and polite.
    • Listen to what other people have to say.
    • Don’t insult people, or make fun of them, or call them names.
    • Don’t bully or pick on others.
    • Don’t judge people before you get to know them.
    • Practice the Golden Rule
    • Practice saying please and thank you and excuse me
    • Make a point of not teasing and encourage your friends not to

We as parents must teach from home.  A child is taught respect in schools, but they experience it in the disrespect-argumenthouse. So respect everyone in you house and then they will also respect all. A child reflects your personality. Whatever they do, they say and they behave is influenced by your behavior, your action and your words and the environment that you create for them. So create an environment of discipline and respect, and they will learn and implement it. Children constantly observe people around them and try to imitate them and it’s mostly you and your family around them, so they imitate you. Explain them that people elder than him should be respected, so he will implement the same.

 You, as the parents, have the responsibility of teaching your children, and the best teaching tool ever devised is personal experience. If you want your children to respect you, show respect to your children, but also to your spouse. That way, all the family benefits. You and your spouse benefit, because the respect you show to each other helps strengthen your marriage; your children benefit because they learn respect through watching you-and they learn to show respect to those they love.

350624103_respect_xlargeSet Goals for Yourself…….












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Aretha Franklin’s song is a good one that we all should remember however old we are!  This a way for your child to learn respect:

R-Respect yourself
-Everybody deserves respect and kindness.
-Socio-economic status has no bearing on whether someone should be respected.
-Property. Respect other people’s property by not abusing or damaging it.
-Environment. Respect the environment by not littering, conserving, and recycling.
-Cultural differences should be embraced, not criticized.
-Things. Respect the tangible and intangible things that are yours as well as others. Respect the wants and wishes of others. Respect other people’s opinions.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T-not a hard word to spell, actually and not a hard word to implement either.

Bottom line, it is our job as parents to ensure that we raise our kids to become respectful adults. Society – and our children – will thank you for it!

Now enjoy being a parent and have the respect of your child: it’s really not hard to accomplish, but you need to start today, not put it off until tomorrow.

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