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Raising a child that is respectful, both to yourself and to other people, is a key concern for many parents. We all squirm at the idea of our children being rude or behaving badly when we’re not around to supervise them.

However, children do like to push their boundaries sometimes and find out what they can and can’t get away with saying or doing. Sometimes it’s ok to let this happen because it helps them learn the difference between respectful and disrespectful behaviour.

I have teamed up with a Sixth Form College in Hampshire to share some advice on how you can raise a respectful child; someone you can be proud of.

children eating fruit

Talk About Respect

Ask your child if they know what respect means and encourage them to give you some examples of both respectful and disrespectful behaviour. Talk to them about the importance of respecting others and the rules.

If they throw a temper tantrum and yell at you, tell them that they are being disrespectful, and you will not tolerate it. By helping your child understand what respect actually is and why it’s important, they are more likely to abide by it. 

Be a Good Role Model

As with most life lessons you’re trying to teach your child, it’s important to model the behaviour that you’d like to see them replicate. If you raise your voice or swear a lot when you’re angry, your child is likely to do the same because they will think it’s acceptable.

Alternatively, if they observe you dealing with a frustrating situation in a calm and composed manner, they will learn that that is the best way to deal with conflict. 

Encourage Healthy Discussions

Of course, no parent wants to encourage arguments in their home, but there’s a different between an angry argument and a healthy discussion.

The latter will teach your child that it’s ok to have different viewpoints to others, as long as they don’t try and force their opinion onto someone else. They need to learn to listen to and value other people’s thoughts, even if they don’t always agree. 

Stick to the Rules

If your child breaks a rule, be sure to punish them appropriately. It will be difficult for them to respect you or your rules if you don’t stick to them, because they’ll know that they can get away with bad behaviour.

Some parents find it difficult to punish their kids, but it’s absolutely crucial for their growth and their ability to understand the difference between right and wrong.

Just as you punish them for bad behaviour, you should also praise them when they do something right. For instance, “Well done for getting home before curfew tonight, I really appreciate it”.

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