In today’s busy society, multitasking seems essential to keep up with all the demands of daily living, yet with this mentality sometimes we don’t pause long enough to show proper respect. I think teaching children respect at a young age really makes a big difference.
My grandma, Svanhild Kristoffersen, was a hard working Norwegian. She had a strong, yet loving character. Born in 1910, she learned the meaning of respect. She lived through the Great Depression and became a widow at a younger age than people should.
I remember when I was about eleven or so, I visited my grandma, and for whatever the reason I remember she addressed me with something and I failed to look at her when she talked. This is one of the few times that grandma raised her voice to me, and told me that I needed to look at people when they talked to me. She had already earned my respect in the past from her character, but at that moment I realized I wasn’t showing her it.
Here are some quick tips to implement with your children to cultivate respect.
- The best rule of thumb is to make sure you as a parent are respecting other people. Honestly, if you are not representing how you want your child to act it will be very hard to train your child otherwise.
- Have your child look at the person they are talking to.
- Encourage them to use manners by having them acknowledge others when they are grateful by saying please and thank you, or writing thank you cards.
- Encourage them to take ownership of their own things. Have them help clean up their toys or put away their dinner plate.
- Have consequences for disobedience, using clear guidelines presented to your child for what you consider respect in your household. If they start slacking have some form of consequence. However if they do positive things reinforce their good behavior. Compliment them by saying thank you for using your manners, etc.
- Have a no complain rule. Right now we are working on this for what they are served at dinner time. If you are feeling really ambitious encourage them to say thank you for their meal.
- Stop them if they try to grab what someone else has, encourage them to ask for the item, “Can I please use___?”
These methods may take some time to adjust, depending on the age and temperament of your child, yet honestly, I don’t think they can ever be too young to start learning respect and to value others.
I don’t write this article because my children or I have mastered respect, but rather to stand along side you, trying these suggestions with my own kids. Some days we got it down pat, other days it may seem like it is the first time addressing these issues. But I know that every seed planted is well worth it, and will have a lasting affect with how your children interact with other people in general.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.