Teaching Young Children the Importance of Respect
It goes without saying that respect is one of the most fundamental traits required to be successful both professionally and personally. Schools make it a point to teach respect for authority during a child’s most formative years, but the real education truly begins at home, with the parents themselves. Respect is a quality that can often be difficult to measure, and as such, difficult to teach. However, with careful attention, observation, and re-enforcement, parents can develop this key trait in their children quite seamlessly. Children learn the importance of respect at school and at home, and in group activities like pre-school karate classes.
Respect for people and things
Respect comes in a wide variety of forms. For example, children must be taught to be behave with respect for the possessions of other children. They must be taught a healthy respect for their elders and authorities. As a family, it is of paramount importance to develop a culture of mutual respect within the home itself. There are a number of great strategies that parents use at home for this purpose.
Perhaps the most effective way parents teach their children to behave respectfully is by being respectful themselves. Children typically mimic their parents’ behavior – good or bad, so being a role model and showing integrity, courtesy, and respect in their company are very powerful lessons. Whether it is simply being polite to strangers or being thoughtful and considerate of friends and family, with proper and consistent role models, most children gradually learn to deal with the people and environment around them in healthy, productive, and amicable ways.
When a child displays respect, it is important for parents to acknowledge and commend him or her. Receiving praise and feeling gratified for performing a task correctly or behaving in the appropriate manner helps children of all ages develop self-esteem and self-respect, benefits they will seek to earn over and over. Highlighting appropriate behavior and good manners helps children internalize them. In some cases, a display of respect may even warrant a reward in some material form.
In some cases, it may be required to reprimand a child for inappropriate behavior. Choosing when to punish and when not to is extremely important for parents. Parents must understand that different children learn in different ways, and this may take time as well. Understanding how a child thinks and behaves is the first step toward choosing the specific ways and means of developing this fundamental and vital character trait.