Thursday 19 August 2021

How to raise a respectful child

Raising our children to be respectful starts with treating them with respect and demonstrating respect toward others ourselves so they see how important it is. We also need to teach them to tolerate difference and even celebrate it as something which can enrich their lives, and to always treat others with dignity and kindness. If you’re concerned about raising a respectful child, here’s some tips from a prep school in London which you might find useful. 

Model respect

Try to make sure your child sees you interacting with people in a respectful way so they see that as a normal way to behave toward others. You can start with speaking politely to your child yourself, and encouraging them to speak politely as well. Try not to shout too much or refer to them negatively when they’re not doing as they’re told or deliberately aggravating you; if you can keep your cool and speak to them respectfully regardless of what they’re doing (or not doing!), this will teach your child that interactions can always be courteous even when tensions and emotions are high.  

Let them make decisions

Part of being respectful is letting people make their own choices, so aim to give your child some control over decisions (within reason of course). You could present them with a few options, for example, when deciding what to wear or which piece of homework to do first, and then let them pick. This will give them a feeling of control and self-agency, and impress upon them that free will and letting people have a say in things is really important, so they’ll be more likely to respect others’ decisions. 

Teach them how to listen

Active listening is a skill we all have to learn, rather than something we’re automatically able to do, and it’s a fundamental element of respect. You can teach your child the importance of listening to people properly by starting with your own interactions with them. Give them your full attention as much as possible when they’re talking to you - make eye contact, put your phone or laptop down, and acknowledge what they’re saying with physical gestures and verbal encouragement. Ask follow up questions and show an interest in what they’re saying. This shows your child that they’re worth your time and attention, and this is a lesson they’ll likely take forward into their own interactions with other people. 

Respect starts at home and your child will learn how to behave toward others and be respectful by watching how you interact with people, and how you treat them. 

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