In a culture that invites irreverence, is it plausible for us to teach our children to speak and act with respect and consideration?
It used to be very unusual to see children and teenagers display rude, discourteous behaviour toward their elders. Unfortunately, times have changed. Regardless of where you live, the chances are that you see kids and teens being disrespectful to older people on a regular basis. From talking back to teachers to showing blatant disregard toward the elderly while in public, many young people these days don’t appear to have been taught how to respect their elders.
Because our culture stresses equality, we forget to teach our children respect for elders. In public schools, there’s a decline in the respect kids show their teachers who may mirror disrespect for parents. Respect naturally flows from honouring the wisdom of older people.
Here are five highly effective tips to teach your kid respect.
1. Model Proper Behaviour
Parents need to understand and actualize that they are teaching their kids by what they do and how they treat their parents
says Amy Goyer, AARP’s family expert, specialising in inter-generational relationships for more than 25 years.
Parents play a big part in shaping their kids’ behaviour. The kids will observe, absorb, memorise, and act the exact way as parents do. So, be mindful of whatever you do, parents.
2. Give Your Children Reasons to Respect You
If we don’t respect them but at the same time, expect them to respect us, that is just hypocritical. Think about a chain smoker asking his child not to smoke.
You cannot demand respect. It can only be earned. So, earn it! Give your child reasons to respect you by being a respectful role model, modelling respectful behaviour to everyone, including our children.
3. Teach the Basics of Politeness
Children should be taught to request something with respect. Teach them to say “please,” “thank you,” “sorry” and other basic polite responses.
Make sure your child knows there are no exceptions to being polite and courteous to elders. Tell them that even if they see kids their age being rude to an older person, it’s not okay to follow suit.
Emphasize to your child that they need to be respectful to people they know as well as to strangers. As always, be consistently polite to people you meet as well as to be a good role model for your child.
4. Praise Respectful Attitude
If you want your kid to behave better, using positive reinforcement can help. Compliment your child for small changes in behaviour.
“That’s my baby.”
“I am proud of you.”
This simple praises can help him learn what behaviours are appropriate.
5. Encourage Helpful Behavior
Train your kids to help older people. For example, holding doors open, helping people across the street and helping someone reach an item on a high shelf.
Explain to your kid to not to expect anything in return if they are doing any good deeds. Explain to them that doing good deeds for others is rewarding in its own right.
Using these methods for teaching children to respect not only their elders but all people, will teach lessons that will last a lifetime and also result in respect for the kids.
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