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Teach Children To Show Respect By Modeling It

Who are some of the people you most respect? Think about it for a minute. Why do you respect them? Think of the things you most admire about these people. Are these qualities you desire for yourself and for your children?

It is never too early to begin teaching children to respect others. You may want to begin by making a list with your family of ways to show respect. Post the list on the refrigerator or other highly visible location. Some suggestions for your “How to Show Respect” list may include:

*Treat others the way you want to be treated---the Golden Rule of life.

*Always be courteous and polite. With younger children, define the words courteous and polite. Give specific examples of being polite.

*Listen to what other people have to say. Don’t interrupt when others are talking. It takes a lot of patience to teach young children this one! If your child does interrupt, gently remind him of your family’s “respect rules.” Assure him that he may talk when you are finished. Then don’t forget to let him speak!

*Don’t make fun of others or call them names.

*Don’t bully or pick on others.

Throughout the day as you encounter various situations; refer to your family’s rules for showing respect. For instance, if your child is making fun of another child, ask him how he thinks the other child feels. Does he want to be treated in that way?

Be specific when praising your child for showing respect. For example, “I’m proud of you for taking up for “Johnny” today when the others were teasing him. You were a kind friend to him!”

Talk with your children about “bullying” others. Are their bullies in their school? How is bullying disrespectful?

Help your child become sensitive to his behavior or language that may be disrespectful to adults, friends or siblings.

With older children, point out articles in newspapers and magazines or programs on television in which respect and disrespect are issues. Talk about who is acting respectfully and who is disrespectful in these situations.

Probably the most important way to teach children to be respectful is to model it. Are you polite and courteous? What about when driving down the highway and someone cuts in front of you? How do you react? Do you talk about or make fun of other people? If so, don’t be surprised if your children do the same.

Remember, you are a powerful role model for your child. If you treat other people with respect, then your children will likely do the same.

For Release: Week of 06/07/04

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