Teaching your children to respect you and your other children is one of the most important aspects of parenting. If your child doesn’t have the basic concept of respect, her entire life -- from her schooling to her future career -- may be affected. What’s good about respect, however, is that it isn’t difficult to teach. It starts with you and your own behavior. If you treat others with respect, your children are more likely to learn that this is the proper way to behave.
Model respect in your home whether your children are looking or not, advises Robyn Silverman, Ph.D., author, speaker and child/teen development specialist. When you treat your children and your spouse with respect, your kids grow up believing that respect is the proper, normal way to treat others. If your children are prone to yelling and screaming at you and at one another, look at your own behavior. If you yell and scream when things don’t go your way, your kids are more likely to do the same.
Acknowledge your child’s respectful and disrespectful behavior, advises Silverman. When she’s behaving in a way that is respectful of you or her siblings, praise her for it. Alternately, if she is behaving in a disrespectful manner to someone in your household, stop her and talk to her about her behavior. When you let her get away with treating someone disrespectfully, whether it is because no one seems bothered by it and you don’t want to disrupt the peace or because you don’t have time, you are only teaching her that you don’t consider her manners and respect of others important.
Require that all of your children treat one another with respect, according to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Research and Extension program. Say you have a 10-year-old and a 17-year-old and you are frustrated with the lack of respect your 10-year-old shows his older brother. You have to make sure that your older child is treating your younger child with the same amount of respect that you require your younger child to show or it won’t happen. Kids are unlikely to treat anyone with respect if that person doesn’t respect them in return. Just because your older child is a teenager with a much different life than your younger one doesn’t mean he can treat his younger brother disrespectfully by not including him on occasion, by talking down to him or by being mean to him.