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How to teach our children respect in our society today

May 28, 2015

How to teach our children respect in our society today. (Topic 4)

Have you ever heard your child say something and you think to yourself, “Wow, that was disrespectful, where did they hear that from?” Chances are they have heard it from adults in their lives or the technology they engage with on a daily basis. While technology is a whole other subject, we are going to concentrate on being respectful to our children so they learn, from us as role models, what respect looks like, sounds like, and feels like.

We have probably all heard the saying: “Respect is something you have to give in order to receive” (Bernard Malamud). This is usually true, except when it comes to a parent-child relationship. It is our responsibility as parents to always teach and role model respect, even when we are disrespected, angry, frustrated, or hurt. Providing that solid role model for our children will end up paying off in the long run for us and our children. If every time we got angry we yelled at our children, guess what their learned response will be when they are angry at us or other people in their lives? Most likely they will yell. We need to constantly teach our children what respect it through our actions, words, and conversations with them regarding respect in our society. “When you show your child respect, even when you are angry or providing discipline, you help her learn to respect herself while demonstrating how to treat others respectfully” (Popkin, 2014, p. 27).

How can adults be disrespectful to children? (Popkin, 2014). As you reflect on these, think to yourself how you would feel if your boss treated you this way— pretty disrespected. We live in a society today where everyone is equal and should be treated equal—remember it all goes back to helping our child’s brain develop.

  1. Yelling at them
  • If you are angry tell your child you are angry and how them how to deal with angry appropriately (walk away if needed). It is important to remember that your children need to know what emotions are and what they feel like by parents vocalizing feelings, showing empathy, and helping children appropriately cope with feelings. Yelling, is essence, is not an appropriate response.
  1. Calling them names
  • “You are such a brat.” “You will never amount to anything.” “Loser.”— children live up to our expectations, and when they think we expect them to be a loser or a brat, they begin to use that as their self-talk—pretty degrading, huh?
  • Remember, children are not “bad,” sometimes they may make poor choices, but they are not inherently “bad kids” but rather good kids who sometimes make bad choices.
  1. Being sarcastic (A communication block- topic 5)
  2. Curing at them
  3. Ignoring them
  • Let’s not play childish games with our children—we are their role models not their “mean girl” friends.
  1. Overprotecting them
  • We will talk about “helicopter parents” later on—but let your children explore their world!
  1. Not introducing them to others
  • Have you ever been in the store with a friend or significant other and they see someone they know? They may go up and talk to that person while you are standing right there. After their 5 minute conversation you walk away from your friend/significant other and you think to yourself, “Why did you not introduce me?”, “Am I not good enough for your friends to know?”
  1. Doing for them on a regular basis what they can do for themselves.
  1. Expecting them to fail, misbehave, or otherwise mess up

When you do realize you might have disrespected your child (we are human) it important to also apologize! Apologizing, sincerely, also sends the message to our children that it is okay to say, “I’m sorry” and fix it!

“When mutual respect is a cornerstone of your own interactions with people, your children come to adopt it almost without trying” (Popkin, 2014).

*Most of this information is taken from the curriculum Active Parenting. However, I have also done my own research and added it in when necessary. I am not marketing Active Parenting nor do I get anything from the sales of Active Parenting. (Michael Popkin, Ph.D., 2014)

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