Family BondingHow Can I Teach My Children to Respect Others?


How Can I Teach My Children to Respect Others?

Childhood- the stage of our life we cherish the most until our death. The moment a child is born- its emotions, thinking, behavior everything starts functioning. Children need guidance and proper care to nurture all the human behavior that will help them cope in every aspect of life.

“Give respect, get respect”- this phrase seems irrelevant to children’s upbringing. You must be thinking why should anyone need to give respect to children? In reply, you can create a respectful connection with a child or use some effective method to strengthen that connection. And about the relationship between children and respect, they will start learning that from their family and other communities, including- relatives, friends, and schools. Children’s behavior will differ as per their age, which is why they need to be trained properly by their parents during those times.

How Can I Teach My Children to Respect Others?

More than taking it as a teaching method, we can consider the term respect as interaction with children. You may prefer the hard and fast rules to bind your children within limits. But what if you follow some easy instructions which we have classified into three stages? Age-wise the stage of childhood can be divided into three categories- preschool-age, school-aged child, and adolescent. In these three stages, we will find three images via childhood journeys: imitations during preschool, limitations during school, and identification during adolescence.

Teaching Children to Respect Others: Imitation Stage

Teaching children to respect others imitation stage

Children between 2-6 years old belong to the imitation stage, also known as the preschool age. In this stage, parents will be preparing their children for school admission. Also, children undergo some experimental phase where they feel like imitating everything from nature and the people surrounding them. While teaching your preschool-aged child about respect, you need to take care of the following key factors-

1. Choices and preferences

From the very beginning, as a parent, you should focus on the word choices of your children during their learning stage. Avoid using any disrespectful words in front of them. Try to give them the space to speak while playing or having a meal. Remember, while children are busy doing some things, that could be the best time to teach them such respectful words or sentences. Again, you should be careful regarding their preferences in choosing your words and sentences- what do they like and dislike?

2. Courtesy and praise

The imitation stage is when your child will easily absorb your behavior towards them. The tone of your language, your gestures, your ways of looking- these are the thing that your child will observe in you. For courtesy, teach them sentences like- “Thank you for your time today,” “Can you hold for a moment?”, “Pardon me” and “Forgive me.” Added to that, you can be more explicit by using a sentence like- “Thank you for asking my permission” so that children can learn that their efforts are worthwhile and appreciated.

Praising children will increase their confidence and help them to think positively about themselves. So you should use phrases like- “I’m proud of you,” “good job,” “You’re so special,” “I’m so lucky to have you,” “I believe in you,” “I love that you belong to me” and so on.

3. Create interest

Suppose your kid is almost ready to enter the classroom, and it is the first day of his school! What should you do in such a situation? Will you leave him by bidding, “Best of luck!” You can make it more interesting by encouraging them to learn etiquette from their class teacher. After school, you can ask- what their teacher said, how they talked, what they taught, and other relevant questions. You can do this regularly to get their feedback, and ultimately, it will create more interest in them to learn from their teachers and their families.

Teach Children to Respect Others: Limitation Stage

Teach children to respect others limitation stage

Age between 6 to 12 years old children is called school-aged. It is considered the limitation stage, where parents create boundaries for behavioral development and changes in a child’s height and weight. Even this is when a child starts having good language skills and trying to establish their place in their family. Now that your child has started growing and you have to add some new lessons, they are-

1. Advance mannerism

As children start going to school, they begin to befriend different characters. Not every child needs to come from a good background. So you never know! On that note, you can make your child aware of the difference between respect and disrespect. Hence, they will learn advanced manners. Again, if your children make mistakes, instead of scolding them or laughing at them, try to remain silent until they realize their fault. This technique will let them understand how to deal with a situation with respect and honor later. Never break their self-esteem and discourage them while they are annoyed with you!

2. Be polite

You need to be polite with your child as much as possible. While conversing with them, please keep eye contact and ask them for additional help. Always try to use manner words such as “Would you like to…”, “Can u pass the…. please”, and “May I know…”. Ask them for help using polite words like- please, kindly, could, and would.

3. Good calling names

Use good calling names with your children so they can follow your instructions properly when you teach them something mannerly. For good calling names, pick beautiful words like- baby, boo, cutie pie, dear, darling, princess, etc. One more thing, children are very sensitive, so calling names may help them observe their parents’ guidance.

4. Interaction with other cultures

Culture plays an important role during childhood. As far as possible, try to make it happen by throwing any party, dinner night, social gathering, or school parent meeting. For interaction, a children’s cultural competition will be a great idea! You should encourage your children to participate in those programs to get accustomed to new cultures.

5. Participation in decision making

During this stage, we try to limit our kids’ approaches, behavior, and activities. But it is mandatory to include their opinion in minor family decisions like- shopping, going out, attending a party, etc. Try to hear what they want to do and not to do! Whatever their response is, every time, you should let them participate in family decisions.

6. Stop giving fear

You might be unaware of the fact that at this stage, children can become fearful of any violent behavior. If they’re unable to do something or fail, then instead of giving them fear or using abusive words, you should handle that situation with a little bit of caring. Make them understand and support them. Ask them what the reason that they are failing is, what might help them, or what kind of assistance they might need!

Teach Children to Respect Others: Identification Stage

Teach children to respect other identification stage

According to the World Health Organization, the age between 10 to 19 is called adolescence or the identification stage. You can also call it a transitional stage when the growth of a teenager starts to change both physically and psychologically. And at this stage, your child is no more a child! So as a teenager, you need to take care of the facts while teaching them respect. Some major factors regarding this matter are given below-

1. Faith establishment

Teenagers often get frustrated and lose hope for themselves for many reasons. As a result, due to less confidence, they also feel that their parents must be feeling ashamed of them. And the reason behind that may be their lifestyle, school or college study performance, friend circles, etc. In this situation, parents should establish faith in them. Make them feel wanted if they are feeling lonely, talk with them, and discuss their problems as much as possible. The role of teaching respect is you teach how to tackle a situation with your teenage child while they are at their low point; they will learn the same thing and give the utmost respect from their side.

2. Freedom of judgment

Most teenagers suffer from freedom issues. Suppose you are unwilling to let them go to a party at their friend’s. At that moment, a conflict will arise between you and your kid. So, never let it happen. Try to sort out any disagreement between you and them. Also, do not get too much judgmental. Ensure them that you give their opinion proper respect and give your children the freedom of judgment while they are in any dilemma.

3. Give time

As we have already mentioned, the adolescent stage is where your kid might face problems with their identification; you need to give them more space whenever they shrink back. During that moment, they will discover themselves, and you must give them time as a parent! You need to honor their privacy and make them realize that you also respect their decisions.

4. Having discussions

“The more you talk, the more your problems will get easier to solve.”

So you need to remember that whenever your teenage kid is afraid about sharing something, you should be the one to approach first for a mild discussion regarding their personal life. Make them feel comfortable, and after a discussion, assure them that you will respect their decision, whatever they choose!

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The reason behind being disrespectful

The reason behind being disrespectful

If you are child is disrespectful in every possible way, what should you do? Will that be fair enough that you will abuse or beat them? Of course not! All you need to do at first is to find out the probable reason behind your child being disrespectful.

In my opinion, anger issues, new places, and trauma are some major issues behind every child being disrespectful. Details are given below:

1. Anger issue

Suppose you observe that your children are having some anger issues, and out of anger, they are getting annoyed and behaving disrespectfully with family members. In that case, you need to deal with the situation carefully. Talk about what happened once things are calm. Give them a chance to reply after asking what the reason for being rude was! Try to understand their problem and find a solution for that.

Always make them understand that you and your family are a team, and if anyone gets angry, family harmony might be affected. Teach them how to interact with everyone and be respectful from your side when you are correcting them. Last but not least, never take your child’s behavior personally!

2. New place

Place and situation might be a prominent reason behind your children’s changed behavior. If your children are having issues regarding coping in a new place, their behavior might change, and they might get disrespectful towards everyone. What is the possible solution to control them? Say, if you need to shift a place and your children’s school, discuss the changes in their lives with your children. Otherwise, they might get angry, and no matter how old they are, it will affect their mental health.

3. Trauma

If you and your family are going through some major life transition, such as someone’s death, accident, or leaving the family, this could also affect your children. Find out why your child is angry, what things are making him upset, how he is feeling, and what he thinks about that current situation! You must consult with your children to pull them out of that traumatic situation. Once your child starts suppressing their feelings inside of their heart, their aggression will burst out and they will start behaving disrespectfully.


  1. What causes a child to be disrespectful?
    So many reasons are behind a child being disrespectful towards everyone. Those are- anger issues, new place, trauma, poor problem-solving skills, etc. And from the parent’s side, if parental guidance is missing to teach children how to do the right thing, they will always do the wrong.
  2. Should I ignore the disrespectful child?
    No, all you need to do is talk to them about the problems and try to solve them as soon as possible. Deal with those psychological issues very peacefully cause children often get traumatized if they do not get what you are trying to say.
  3. What age of parenting is the hardest?
    The middle stage, the limitation stage, or the school-age of a child will be the hardest time for a parent to guide their children properly. You may find them messy, curious, annoying, and naughty at the same time.

Final Thoughts

Teaching your children respect is not a hard task at all. A little bit of care and support can help your children to guide them separately. As we have already discussed childhood stages and how you can handle them while teaching respect, do not consider yourself a frustrated guardian if you think you cannot instruct them properly. You can go the alternative way, where we have explained the principal reasons behind your children behaving disrespectfully.

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Maria W. Corley is a family psychology expert dedicated to helping families thrive. With a passion for improving relationships, Maria shares practical advice on Merge Family. Her goal is to make your family feel closer than ever by addressing communication issues and fostering understanding.

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