Nifty vs. Thrifty

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Teaching children respect

1. Define what respect means to you and your significant other.
People have very different definitions of respect, so being on the same page with your co-parent will help you to parent as a team. Although you may not agree on everything, compromise and decide on consequences together. If something is really important to you (ex. wanting your older child to say, "nice to meet you") don't give in. But you may need to let other things slide, so be flexible.

2. Make age appropriate expectations.
You can't expect very small children to shake hands and say "nice to meet you", but they can expect them to smile and say "hi" or "wave" depending on their age and abilities. You may have to meet them half way but don't give in completely. Showing a stranger respect is an important and essential tool in order for your child to communicate effectively with others. You know your child best, so be reasonable about expectations. Remember, you're not doing them any favors by giving them an excuse such as, "oh, they are being shy". If your child is shy or nervous, help them to feel comfortable by explaining to them that it's OK to feel shy around new people, but you still have to be respectful. There are many great books at the library about meeting new people and what to expect from a stranger. Sometimes, kids will hear something on t.v about "stranger danger" and they may be confused when you introduce them to new people.

2. Be consistent. Explain to your children your expectations and consequences. Car rides are a great chance to talk to your child because they won't be too distracted. Just keep it simple and don't go overboard (or you will loose them completely!) If you tell your child that it's not OK to curse (for example) but then you let it slide or laugh when they say it, you are giving mixed messages. Also, if you say, "we won't come here anymore if you act that way", make sure that you can fulfil that threat or they won't take you seriously.

4. Set a good example. Like it or not, everything you do is setting an example. If you treat your child and significant other with respect, they will follow suite. If you scream at them and point in their face in public, they will not feel respected, and in turn will do the same thing to you or others.

Everyone makes mistakes and has yelled at your spouse or yelled at your child inappropriately, the important thing is to follow up with your child and explain to them that you made a mistake and that you are sorry for what you did. They will respect you more if they think you are willing to acknowledge your mistakes and that you are not perfect.

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