Show Respect to Your Child

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kids_in_classroomChildren learn how to apply the 3Rs – Respect, Responsibility, and Rights at school by practicing and experiencing them at home. For that reason, parents must insist everyone in the family respect each other’s privacy, views, and self-image.

Show respect for family member’s privacy by not prying or snooping into their special corners in a drawer or closet. Allow no one to pry into another’s private things or thoughts. Maintain a strict policy of not opening someone else’s mail. Let them open it and decide if it is to be shared. In return they must respect your privacy and other’s privacy at school.

Respect for another’s views is a difficult concept to instill in children; especially with the atmosphere of meanness and violent disagreements we have over politics, religions, sports, and choices people make. By no means am I stating we must agree with everything. Instead, we all need to learn how to express our views and yet respect the dignity, and self worth, of anyone who might dare to disagree with us.

Let it be okay for a child to disagree with a parent or sibling at home. However, the difference must be expressed with an “inside voice” and a respectful attitude. No name calling, no disparaging remarks about the intelligence, or character, of the other person. This reminds me of the time I wanted to get my three kids to quit calling one another “idiot.” So I told them to not use that word in our house, and they stopped. However, a week later, I heard them calling each other “idget.” Right off, I knew I had failed to instill respect because they obeyed me to the letter of the law, but they had found a way around my edict. I had to go back to the drawing board and work on attitudes rather than specific behavior. And that is what it all comes down to – have an attitude of mutual respect in your home. Remind one and all, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

One of the most liberating experiences I had as a parent came when it dawned on me that I needed to let our children disagree with me. With that, I told them they could disagree with me on any subject, but they must do so with an attitude of respect. In turn I would respect their views. I didn’t always agree with them, but they at least had their views heard, and at times, they changed my mind. 🙂

One more suggestion, respect the self image of your child. PLEASE refrain from put downs (which is a form of bullying). Imagine children starting out the day with a placard around their neck with their names on them. Now if they had to tear a piece of their placard off for every snide remark, sigh of disgust, or negative word parents throw at them in anger before they even leave for school, would there be much left of their placards, or would they just have pieces of string dangling around their necks?

At the same time, be honest in your admiration of your children. Don’t exaggerate their self image into a perfection they can’t live up to.

Disclaimer: Remember we are talking about instilling these attributes in young children. If there are older children in a family who have not developed this sense of respect from childhood, it will be difficult (but not impossible) to reap the preferred attitudes and behaviors.

Expect students to practice the 3 Rs!

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During the Christmas holidays, we occasionally experience a sadness or great disappointment because someone, or something, does not meet our expectations. However, after some thought, we might find we failed to clearly express those expectations. Then, too, perhaps our expectations were unrealistic.

In the same way, a parent’s expectations may be unrealistic for their child’s age, capability, or social maturity. Parents might expect too much, or they do not expect enough. In addition, some children do not know what their parents expect of them.

Parents need to verbally express to their children any expectations they have, particularly those concerning behavior. Some parents seem to think their kids can pick up what is expected by osmosis; perhaps from the discipline imposed, or by using the psychologically damaging and unfair comparison to another child, i.e. “Why can’t you be like …?”

In order to help express parental expectations, let me introduce The 3 Rs for Success in school.  I’m not talking about the pioneer country phrase of Readin,’ ‘Ritin,’ and ‘Rithmetic. Instead, I am referring to Respect, Responsibility, and Rights.

Parents, a good place to start is explaining how, and why, you expect your children to show respect. First, help them understand the need to show respect for their peers’:


The right to a public education is an integral part of our country’s foundation.   Behavior that intentionally causes distractions in the classroom tramples on the rights of other children to learn. It is imperative that children be taught to respect those rights.

It is also vitally important that students know they must respect the safety of their peers on the playground, in the classroom, or on the way to and from school. Be sure they understand that the mean behavior some children consider “fun” (snide remarks, name calling, threatening, taking away possessions for a game of keep-a-way, etc.) is actually a form of bullying or harassment and will not be tolerated.

We can teach our children how to respect another person’s property by either leaving it alone or taking care of it.

Next time, we’ll continue to analyze other points of respect. See you then.

It’s Never Too Early To Read To Your Child!

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Parents can set the stage for pleasant experiences at school by starting early. Before and after a child’s birth, they need to hear Mother Goose, Aesop’s Fables, nursery rhymes, silly songs, lullabies, and jingles. Above all, keep it up until the child is old enough to shave or say, “Enough, already!” These early efforts indelibly impress the rhythm of our language into their inner being. 🙂

Later, these experiences benefit children with an ability to pretend-read little board books and picture books along with their parents. Why? Lots of words are now familiar, phrasing is engrained, and they recognize sounds and see the letters to go with them. This can lead to pseudo-reading that children enjoy so much.

It is important to look the little ones in the eyes while talking to them. Yes, play “This Little Piggy …,” etc., pulling on their toes or doing actions, but be sure to look them in the eye. They enjoy seeing your face, and they pick up on emotions and your response to them at the same time.

Teacher and Student ReadingWhile working with students in Remedial Reading, I read a study that said holding children on your lap and reading into their right ear gives them extra advantages. Today, I found several current blogs and websites that reinforce this idea.

I quote one source: “The left hemisphere of the brain is the core centre for processing language. Verbal communication reaches the brain efficiently through the right ear, as the right ear communicates directly with the left hemisphere.”                        

Reading, singing, and being funny with children give them multiple benefits toward learning to read, but it also nourishes their need for attention and loving care. It’s a win, win all around.

Parents Set the Stage For Successful or Troublesome First Days at School

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Consider this. It affects children deeply to hear someone they love declare repeatedly:
  • “I’ll be so glad when school starts and these kids are out of my hair.”
  • I can’t wait until these rug rats are gone.”

You’ve heard someone say it. You may have even said it yourself. Imagine the sting such a comment causes to the little ears that hear it. Then we wonder why children resent school. Even if you feel that way, must it be said outloud?

How much better it would be to not give voice to thoughts of much-anticipated peace and quiet. Later, when that day finally does arrive, you can celebrate with fist bumps and high-fives, or go out for a drink (a Coke, right?) or lunch and catch up on the latest.   It’s not going to hurt anyone if a hat is thrown or a cartwheel is done on the front lawn. On second thought, that last thing might have dire consequences!  🙂

At the other end of the spectrum, some parents groan, moan and, yes, even weep when faced with the coming school year; be it the first day or back-to-school day. They set up themselves and their children for all kinds of misery. These well-intentioned parents try to express love for their children by saying:

  • “I’m going to be so lonely.”
  • “Oh, how much I’m going to miss my little ones.”
  • “I’ll probably cry when they get on the bus.”
  • “I dread the day my babies go off to school.”

On hearing this, the children decide they must be responsible for their parents’ agony. Is it any wonder they wail and cling to their parents at home, in the car, or at the classroom door?  Instead, parents can assume an infectious, positive attitude and talk about their best memories of school … like favorite games, friends they made, and teachers they loved.

Am I promoting dishonesty? Absolutely not. I propose that parents practice a positive attitude and come up with good memories. If nothing else, describe the joy over new pencils, crayons, and books. Recall special events, sports programs, or music and art classes. Tell them about successes and remembered fun.

Next time, we’ll talk about reading to children before and after their birth. Plus, we’ll investigate how nursery rhymes, poetry, and silly songs help children learn the rhythm of language.