How to Help Children to Respect the Rights of Others

Extending respect is an important foundation of getting along with others. If children learn basic lessons about respecting the rights of others, these principles might be more likely to stay with them throughout life. With positive interaction and respect for personal rights, everyone can feel safer, more secure and valued, which helps promote positive relationships among people.

Talk with your child about personal rights that people often value to develop awareness of these issues. Examples of personal rights include expressing feelings and opinions, being treated with respect, saying “no” when desired, being original and different, making mistakes and feeling positive, according to the Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medicine 1.

Develop empathy about personal rights in your child. Empathy for the rights of others involves understanding that others value their rights and treating others’ rights with respect. Have frequent discussions about your child’s own feelings about his rights and then transfer this understanding to others so your child realizes that other people often feel in a similar way to the way he feels, advises the University of Alabama Parenting Assistance Line.

Institute expectations for respectful behavior by explaining that you want your child to use manners and treat others kindly. Explain to your child that treating others respectfully demonstrates kindness and caring for other people and their feelings.

Model a respectful attitude toward others for your child to see and follow, suggests the PBS website. Show your child how to treat others respectfully by demonstrating this behavior for her to observe, using polite manners, listening actively, asking permission, taking turns and treating others the way you want them to treat you. Respecting the rights of others should apply to everyone with whom you interact -- neighbors, store clerks, family members, friends, coworkers, children and strangers.

Monitor your child’s interactions with others to ensure compliance, suggests psychologist Robyn Silverman, writing at Correct areas where your child struggles when you notice problems by highlighting the issues and explaining the correct behavior in a patient manner. Praise successes when you see them by describing the behavior in details and explaining why the behavior is positive and respectful.

Practice respect with your child to hone the skills. Role-playing different circumstances can be effective for teaching and reinforcing skills, advises the Family Resource Sheet, with the Educational Materials Center website. By using examples from real-life circumstances, your child can explore treating others respectfully and with empathy. For example, if your child witnesses a child misbehaving at the grocery store, you might role-play various ways the child might have behaved more respectfully.

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