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Getting Respect From Your Child Is A Two Way Street

by Teresa, The CuteKid™ Staff

We can start teaching our children respect at an early age. Respect consists of three main things:
  • Being kind to family and friends.
  • Using good manners.
  • Communicating feelings and problems.
If we want respect from our children we must first give them respect. We are our children's greatest role models. Our children will learn by the examples that we set. If we want our children to respect us as parents and others as well we must model the behavior. "Actions speak louder than words," is especially true in parenting. We must show our children that we respect them and others.

Often our body language and tone of voice portray a different message than our words. We may think that we respect our children but the way we talk is sending a different message.

When we use good manners, we are teaching our children to use good manners and respect. When asking my children to do something I usually say, "please." This shows that I respect them and am asking them not demanding that they do something. I also remind my children to say, "please" when they are asking me for something.

By communicating our feelings and encouraging our children to do the same we are teaching them to respect and have regards for others feelings. When one of my children has done something that upsets me I get down look them in the eye and tell them why I am upset. Likewise when one of my children are angry or hurt I listen to them and respect their feelings.

Respect must be earned. We show our children that we respect them by taking care of and meeting their physical needs. Providing love, affection, and support for the things that they are involved in. Respecting their privacy and the choices that they make.

Respecting your child does not mean that you allow them to do whatever they want. It does not mean that the child gets to set the rules and make the decisions. If there is mutual respect between parent and child behavioral limits will be set. Together parent and child will decide on family rules and consequences if rules are broken. Some families set up parent-child contracts.

Anna Leung started a website called in which parents can create a child-parent contract for free. Anna says she developed the site because "Creating such contracts has helped my son and I communicate what and why things are important to us as individuals and as a team… It eliminates a lot of arguments.”

Her son Jonathan agrees, “There’s less stress now for me and everyone in my family. It just makes things easier.”

Both parents and children have rules and consequences that they follow. For example Anna says in their contract her son "agrees to keep up with his grades, good nutrition, curfews, limits electronic game time, and recreational internet use; and I agree to respect his privacy, choice of sport activity, clothing, music, and friends; all under conditions that are detailed, flexible, and livable for both of us." The key is respect. Both parent and child respect the other; the contract is just a way to write down what is expected.

Respect truly is a two-way street. Only when we give respect to our children can we expect them to give respect to us.

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