There was my neighbour’s kid at my home playing with my son. It was lunch time and as every child does, he refused to have his food. So my neighbour’s maid was sent to feed him food. The kid who was continuously refusing to eat, suddenly, kicked the maid. The maid was around 40 years old and she almost stumbled. I became so angry and was taken aback. Once I regained my composure, I spoke to the kid explaining how inappropriate his behaviour was. I believed that it was essential that I communicate this undesirable behaviour of the kid to his parents. But to my surprise her mom didn’t pay heed to what i said.
The whole scenario intrigued me and got me thinking “Why is it so important to teach respect and manners to my kid?” Just like education and knowledge, being respectful plays a vital role in his future. It will help him to be more successful in his life. Discipline and manners can help him make or break an opportunity. After the basic survival essentials - eat, sleep and potty, the next thing to teach my son is respect and respectful ways of doing things. This would make him more humane and civil.
Every child has a different personality. And, whatever their personality be, they are not born with an innate quality of respecting others. They will not learn to respect others unless we teach them and model the same. Yes, they grow up by imitating their parents. Imitation is the way of learning for any kid until they can think and act on their own. Kids need to be taught about respecting others - and respect begins at home. It is the duty of every parent to teach their kids ‘respect’.
- A kid’s mind is a clean slate and and they imitate what we say and do. Parents are the primary models in a kid’s life and hence they have to model the behaviour we expect from them. I decided to model respectful behaviour by treating others with respect and giving my kid the respect i expect from him. It will help them realise how it feels to be respected and will understand the importance.
- Teach your kids the following 3 rules.
- Respect yourself - Self respect is the most important form of respect. Once they respect themselves, they will respect others and in turn earn respect.
- Respect others.
- Respect the environment - It starts with a simple rule of telling them not to litter the environment and using the dust bin. Teach them to treat their belongings with respect and help them develop a sense of gratitude.
- Modify disrespectful behaviours by pointing out that he was not respectful. Do it in a non-threatening way and show them the alternate ways of handling the situation.
- Teach to care and respect others by preaching the basic manners of saying “thank-you”, “sorry”, “please”. Since empathy and kindness forms the basis of respect, teaching them manners is essential.
- Appreciate your kid when he/ she is being polite and considerate. Praise the behaviour in detail and help them realise that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
Since children are not born with it, they have to be taught about being respectful. It is never too late to intervene if the kid is exhibiting disrespectful behaviour. It takes few years of consistent teaching and practice to learn how to show respect. But it definitely will help our children to function successfully in this world.
“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves. That will make them successful human beings” -Unknown. Happy parenting!