Teaching your children to be respectful is one of the most valuable lessons you can give them. The importance of this virtue is far reaching. By modeling respect for your children, you are starting the teaching process. But like most teaching we do, we need to take it one step further and break the examples down into repeatable steps in order to be effective.
The key elements of respect can effectively be summed up by the Platinum Rule – “Treat others as they want to be treated.” By teaching our children to value the needs and feelings of others, we have given them the first ingredient in the recipe of respect. Next, we want to point out the importance of honoring each individual’s worth and dignity. Remind your children to look for the good in others and teach them to be empathetic.
Listening skills are another important piece of this puzzle. Our children need to be taught how to listen effectively, how to clarify meaning, and to actively listen to others. The fourth tip to keep in mind when guiding your children in the art of respect is to instruct them on how to treat others with courtesy and civility. Stressing good manners and encouraging a pleasing personality will serve your children well and allow them to develop strong relationships with others.
Lastly, you want to ensure that you put energy into this important lesson because when a child is respected, it builds the foundation for self-respect. By modeling respect for others, including your children, you are a living testimony to the importance of this in your life. Remember to point out to your children specifically what you observe when you see them demonstrating respectful behavior. By outlining in clear terms what respectful behavior looks like you are reinforcing this behavior.