Children and Respect: Do As I Do, Not As I Say

Ingenio Category: Family Coaching


As a parent, you may find your children most often doing as they see, not as we say. When it comes to teaching appropriate behavior, modeling is the first important step. When you demonstrate respect to the people in your life, including your children, they will learn to be respectful to others. Below are five tips that will help demonstrate and build respect.

1. Be Honest With Your Children

Telling the truth is crucial, especially to your children. When speaking to your children, it is responsible and reasonable to admit mistakes you have made in your own life. You are not supposed to create an unrealistic model of a perfect human to them—you are to show them that you, like them, went through the same struggles, asked the same questions, had the same worries, and made similar mistakes as a child. Not only will this build your own integrity, your children will feel more comfortable being open and honest with you when they see you doing the same.

2. Be Present and Available to Your Children

Being there for your child when they need you is your job, but sometimes, parents will deem certain issues unimportant and dismiss their kids outright. Don’t do this. Give them the courtesy of having your undivided attention when they want to speak to you. This demonstrates respect that you want them to provide to others (and you, too!).

3. Let Your Children Trust You

You can’t just tell your kids that they have your trust—you need to show them that they do. If your child shares something with you in confidence, don’t then blab to your friends their feelings or experiences. Children can find out, and in these cases, will lose trust in you. Their experiences aren’t a source of conversation-- they’re strictly between the parents and their children.

4.  Let Your Children Count on You

Stay true to your word. If you make a promise to your child, always follow through. If they can’t rely on you as a parent, who are you teaching them to rely on? Remember that your word is your bond, so make your word count.

5. Be Considerate of Your Children

Parents and their children have many years of experience separating them, so often parents will not agree with their children. When your child speaks to you, do your best to listen and build a respect for their perspective, even if you find it insignificant to your own concerns. The events in your children’s lives, and their thoughts and feelings are important to them, so don’t dismiss them.

 As we work on building strong relationships with our kids, it’s crucial to teach them the importance of respect for themselves and others. Become the model for this in your life—your children will do as you do, not as you say.