Teaching Children Respect: 7 Helpful Tips

by David Peach on July 23, 2011 · Print Print · Email Email

There is a difference between obedience and respect. It is easy to get children to obey, but they may do it without respect. However, if you can teach your child to respect you, themselves and others, then teaching them to obey is much simpler. When a child respects a parent then they will obey out of love instead of obligation.

Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

God promises long life to those who both obey and honor (respect) their parents.

Teach Respect by Showing Respect

You need to model respect for your child. Your child needs to see you being honest and respectful with other people. Telling them to respect you and not respecting others makes it difficult for a child to follow your teaching. This includes the way you speak about your spouse and co-workers. In front of your boss you may display respect, but remember that your children hear how you talk about her at home. It is possible to get your children to respect you, but are they being equally dishonest when they disrespect you in front of their friends? They learned that from you.

Modeling respect includes complimenting your children and trusting them. Be equally fair to all your children. Of course age differences dictate that you give more responsibility to one child than another, but do your best to give the younger one the same responsibilities you gave the older one at their age. Your children will remember, even if you don’t.

Keep promises to your children and pay attention when they speak. Each one of these actions will help you children learn respect by the way you treat them. Point out respect and disrespect when you see it. This teaches your child that others can see when they are respectful and not.

Teach Your Child to Respect Himself

By giving your child responsibilities and independence you are giving him opportunities to show his own strengths. Believe that your child can do the job you have given him to do. Help him be successful in the tasks you give him. Each success will help him gain more self respect.

Help your child set and achieve personal goals. Don’t patronize your child, but don’t give him unrealistic goals either.

Rules Can Be Teachers

Create rules for yourself and your child. This doesn’t have to be anything formal, but let your child know that you do certain things for certain reasons. When he sees you respecting your own set of rules it will help him learn self discipline and respect.

An example of this is that I have a friend who will only wear white shirts when he preaches. There is no rule in his church which requires this. But as a personal area of self-discipline, he has chosen to do this. This is a man who has raised children who each very successful in their fields and attribute their success to the self respect they learned from their parents.

Teach Honesty

It is hard to respect a liar. When you get too much change let your child know you are returning the extra and why you are doing it. While it is true that “more lessons are caught than taught” don’t assume your children will learn without occasional deliberate teaching opportunities.

Show Love and Acceptance

Your child won’t always do what is right. You should never accept their sins, but let them know you accept them as individuals. Do you speak disrespectfully about other people when you see them doing wrong? You should point out the wrongdoing, but still respect the person in the process.

Your children need to know that their actions have consequences. This may include punishment by you as a parent. While you are punishing their wrong actions, you need to also let them know you love them. Tell them specifically you love them. They may not respond lovingly during the punishment, but they will know whether you are punishing them out of love or anger. Discipline with love.

Expect Respect

Don’t tolerate your children being disrespectful to one another or other children they hang around. Your children should learn to respect their siblings, family members and school mates.

Praise Respect

Let your children know when they have done something well. Let them know it makes you happy and proud as a parent. Some of the most difficult words I heard as a child were that I had disappointed my parents when I did wrong. That shaped my life more than the physical discipline I occasionally received. Because my parents regularly told me that I made them proud with my good actions, I wanted to continue to do them. Praise your children when they do right.

I hope these seven tips for teaching respect will help you and your family as your children grow. The wonderful thing about making the effort to teach respect is that others you are around will take notice. Learning respect will also help your children throughout their lives. Not just while they are in your home.



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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joey Espinosa July 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm

This is great, not just as a parent, but also because my wife and I lead in an after school program in an impoverished area.

I like the term “expectations” with the kids in our program. And we have 4 expectations that center around respect –

1. Respect the leaders
2. Respect each other
3. Respect the stuff
4. Respect yourself.

Here is more about what we are doing in this area:

http://differentway4kids.blogspot.com/p/mission-allendale.html

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Tessy franklin June 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

I see this as God’s gift to me , teaching me His ways. Precious!

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Mabel Jacome June 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm

This is a fantastic article, especially for today’s parents who are constantly bombarded with theories that tend to “empower” the child instead of correcting his mistakes. I will most definately share this article. God Bless! :)

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David Peach June 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

I appreciate you sharing this article Mabel!

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Jessica September 12, 2012 at 7:55 am

This article is really helpful. I was recently asked to share some thoughts on respect with the parents of the children (ages NB-3 yrs) in my sunday school class. I am also suppose to focus on respect for a month in my class. Would it be ok if I shared these helpful hints during my presentation (of course I would give credit where credit is due – otherwise that would be disrespectful!), maybe made copies of the article and shared it with the parents?
Thanks

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David Peach September 17, 2012 at 5:37 am

Yes, Jessica, it is perfectly fine for you to share this information with your class ad their parents. We appreciate you telling others about What Christians Want to Know.

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