Raising respectful children is one of the most important responsibilities of a parent, and with a little insight it can be a lot easier to accomplish.
Children have a right to their own feelings and choices. But there are times when they may express themselves or act out in ways that hurt the feelings of others or ignore the choices you make as a responsible parent concerned about raising respectful children.
One way to avoid the potential conflicts that may arise is to offer them more choices and options. We all like having options and alternatives, and sometimes we feel painted into a corner and boxed in by limitations and restrictions when those are not available to us.
Kids are no different, so sometimes coming up with a few choices – instead of just denying them what they want – can solve a problem before it escalates. Say that the child wants to play but you want the child to do a chore, some homework, or sit and eat breakfast.
Try negotiating by having them decide what happens. Here are some examples:
“Do you want to eat now and play later when I will have time to play with you?”
“You can do your homework now and play later or do your chores first and then play for a while before it is time to do homework. Or you can play now but then you will not have time to watch any TV after you do your homework. So you decide.”
Many times the problems related to raising respectful children have to do with respecting others such as classmates, strangers, and people encountered every day during routine visits to the store, the park, or the mall.
Young children are not yet experienced in the world, and they may interpret cultural diversity, for example, as strange or funny. But if they start making impolite comments about people in public or begin to make fun of those who are different, that can become a major issue for you as a parent.
Educate kids about their own unique identities, point out how others are unique in ways that need to be respected to avoid hurting their feelings, and be keenly aware of your own reactions so that you don’t accidentally provide a bad example for your child to mimic. The more you can teach empathy to children, the more respectful they will want to be – and the easier your job as a parent will become.