What to Teach Children About Respect. This is a tough read from a teacher who sees it in her classroom every day. Read it, digest it, and learn from it.
One of the main complaints from teachers today is the lack of respect we see from our students. I have noticed this issue playing a part in daily instruction. When we think of children being disrespectful, we picture a child who is defiant, rude or thoughtless. But, disrespect looks very different in the classroom today.
I often say that most of my students do not see their own behavior as disrespectful. I also find that most parents wouldn’t think their child would be disrespectful to a teacher. To teachers, it is the little things that add up to a culture of disrespect. For example, when I tell a student to stop playing with toys in his desk and he continues to do it, or when I give a direction and a student argues with me about why he has to follow it, or when a student flat out tells me that I am wrong about something. Teachers are seeing more and more behaviors like these each day. So what can you do to teach your child to be respectful? Below are some tips to help your child.
What to Teach Children About Respect
1.) Do what you’re told the first time.
I cannot tell you how many times I have to repeat the same directions over and over until the entire group complies. It could be something simple, like getting a book out. Unless I repeat myself, many kids will get the book out when they are ready, wasting valuable instruction time. Make sure that your child is following your directions at home as soon as you give them. If you say clean your room, don’t wait until your daughter feels like doing it. Make sure she is up and moving the first time you say it. I feel so strongly about this one, that I have taken my own two children by the hands to get them going immediately. Consequences should be given to children who do not follow directions at home. Taking away screen time is highly effective for most kids.
2.) Respect my stuff!
Kids today do not seem to know boundaries. I have had students who take things off of my desk without asking, enter my classroom when I am not there, and borrow things without returning them. Kids need to understand physical boundaries. You can help them by setting firm boundaries at home. Don’t let them jump on your furniture or play in your make-up case. Let them know which things are theirs and which things are off limits. Have your children knock on siblings’ doors before entering and teach them to be responsible when playing with other people’s things. If they break it, they buy it. If they lose a friend’s toy, they replace it. Kids need to value their own belongings and respect things that are not theirs.
3.) Your elders are not your friends.
I love that my kids’ friends feel comfortable when they are in my house and that they say hello to me around town, but there is something to be said for the old saying, “Respect your elders.” Students today are a little too comfortable speaking to adults sometimes. There is a fine line between being personable and being disrespectful. You can help at home by having your children refer to adults as, “Mr. and Mrs.,” instead of first names. This makes it clear to kids that there is a difference in age and respect level. It is also important to keep adult issues between adults only. Try not to discuss issues you may be having with teachers or adult friends in front of your kids. They need to know that kids shouldn’t be a part of adult conversations.
4.) Be courteous.
Good manners go a long way when it comes to respecting others. Besides saying “please” and “thank you,” teach your kids how to be a good guest in someone else’s house. This includes allowing friend’s siblings to play, keeping feet off of the furniture, and cleaning up messes. Teach your kids how to introduce themselves to others, make eye contact, and shake hands. These things need to be implicitly taught to kids. Pick one skill a week and go over it each day until your child has got it. Then build on those until your child is the perfect little guest.
Teaching your child to be respectful is something that will make him stand out from others. It is an essential skill that many kids today are lacking. The most important way you can instill these behaviors is by modeling a respectful attitude and by catching and correcting slip ups as you see them.
Until next time,
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