Children Not Showing Respect to Property & Things

Showing respect for others demonstrates a basic attitude of empathy, honor and value toward others. Instilling respect toward others in a child requires work from parents, though. A child’s disrespect for property and things indicates that the child does not understand important lessons about how to treat others with kindness.

Modeling Behavior

If your child has difficulty showing respect for property and things, examine the example you may be setting. A child learns these vital lessons directly from parents, advises the website. Strive to set an example of positive respect toward others to teach your child this important lesson. For example, if your family borrows books from the library, show your child that you always use the books carefully and return them by the due date.

Discuss Respect

Open up an ongoing dialogue about respect to teach this important principle. Look for positive examples of respect in other people’s behavior and highlight these situations to your child as a teaching technique, advises psychologist and author Robyn Silverman. You might comment on another child’s actions -- such as helping put away toys or using a library book carefully -- to illustrate showing respect to property. Talk about the importance of respecting property because it is an extension of respecting others. Mention how disrespecting property and things can hurt everyone, using vandalism as an example. When a vandal defaces community property, everyone suffers, according to the TeachingZone website.

Expect Respect

Once you explain the principles of respect, begin to expect your child to demonstrate respect toward others and property. A child who does not satisfactorily demonstrate respect may behave this way simply because you haven’t taught it and then expected respect. Often, just modifying and increasing your expectations can be effective because a child will strive to meet them.

Using Praise

When you see examples of your child showing respectful behavior toward property, use specific praise to reinforce the behavior. For example, you might say, “Thank you for handling my vase so carefully. You know how special it is, don’t you? That means a lot to me.” Praise can be a powerful teaching tool because it communicates what you are proud of and why, advises the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension 2.

Positive Correction

Show a child where she can improve to correct behavior, if necessary. For example, if your child makes a mess, teach her how to clean up the mess. If your child damages an item, lead her to take responsibility for the damage by apologizing and then fixing or replacing it. Instituting natural consequences for mistakes is an effective teaching strategy as well.

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