The word ‘respect’ comes from the latin word ‘respectus’ meaning consideration and regard. Respect is a two-way street. When we model mutual respect, we are able to raise respectful children. Your child needs your guidance and protection, but that can always be done respectfully.
Respect is one of the most important expressions of love.
When children experience respect, they know what it feels like and understand how essential it is. They deserve the same respect as everyone else. Unfortunately, children aren’t often treated that way because they are seen as inferior. Respecting your child means treating them in ways that wouldn’t be offensive if they were an adult. A simple way to implement this is to ask yourself: ‘Would I act this way with another adult?’
Sometimes our voices get louder and louder. That’s okay. We don’t even notice ourselves doing it half of the time. However, research shows that children respond better when we remain calm. As parents, we model emotional regulation. No matter what kind of behaviour your child shows, it’s a cry for help and an unmet need. We can't help them from shouting. Breathe deeply ten times if you feel the need to shout. When children are scared they can’t learn because they go into fight-or-flight response. So it's always better to guide them calmly and with empathy.
Here are some ways to show respect for your child…
Let your child answer for themselves.
Admit when you make a mistake and apologise.
Don’t force your child to give hugs. Explain to them that they get to choose who they hug. Empower your child to be in charge of their own body.
Let your child make choices and take on more responsibility for those choices.
Respect your child’s space. Knock before entering their room.
Don’t lie. Without honesty, respect is impossible. If you promise something, keep it.
Ask permission before touching your child. ‘Is it okay to pick you up?’ ‘Are you happy for me to change your nappy?’
Use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when asking children to do things.
Ask your child for permission if you want to show others their photo.
Listen to your child’s side of the story.
Give your child time and show respect for their ‘readiness’.
Encourage your child to respect themselves. Self-respect is one of the most important forms of respect. If they respect themselves, they will be able to respect others.