Expert Parent Advice

5 Way to Show Respect for Your Child

Respect. All parents want kids to show respect - to speak to us in a respectful way and to behave in a respectful manner. However, we can’t demand respect.  We can demand compliance, but that’s different than respect.  Respect has to be earned and learned. For kids to learn respect, they have to see it in action.

I’m Amy McCready with Positive Parenting Solutions and I’m proud to partner with Kids ‘R’Kids for the Expert Parenting Advice Series. Today, I’ll share five strategies you can begin using today to show respect for your kids. Not only will they learn about respect from your example, but you’ll go a long way in fostering their sense of capability and independence as well as avoiding power struggles.  These strategies are a win all around!

Here you go – 5 Ways to Show Respect for your child. 

These tips are adapted from one of my favorite books, How to Talk So Kids will Listen and Listen So Kids will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish.

1.  Don’t interrogate.  Too many questions (ex. “How was your day?” “How did you do on the spelling test?” “What did you have for lunch?”) make kids feel interrogated and they may shut down. Instead, greet your child with a huge smile, and say, “Welcome home!  I'm SO glad to see you!”

2. Don’t rush to answer their questions.  Respect their ability to think it through.  Say, “Hmm, that’s an interesting question. What do you think about it?”

3.  Let your child own his or her own body. Refrain from brushing her hair out of her eyes, tucking in his shirt, etc. Kids view this as fussing over them and an invasion of their physical privacy.

4. Let your child answer for himself!  When the doctor asks you a question about your son’s symptoms, defer to your child by saying, “Jack can tell you. He’s the one who knows.” Or, for an older child, just be silent and don’t answer. The awkward silence will encourage your child to speak up.

5. Show respect for your child’s eventual “readiness.”  Respect the fact that kids learn or try new things on their own timetables, not ours.  Instead of forcing your child to try to use the potty, simply say, “When you’re ready, you’ll use the potty.” Or, at the pool, say, “When you decide to, you’ll get into the water.”  Respecting their readiness also avoids power struggles because you give the child the power to decide.

Remember, for kids to learn respect, they have to see it in action.For more strategies to demonstrate respect for your kids, check out the interactive that goes along with this video.

For ongoing solutions to your parenting challenges, visit us often at Kids ‘R’

I’m Amy McCready for Kids ‘R’Kids, and I’ll see you next time