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.