Teaching children to be respectful

 Massrat Shaikh

I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university: Albert Einstein

Research studies show that character strengths are critically important to social and emotional well-being, health, and achievement. Although character strengths are malleable, surprisingly little is known about how to cultivate them intentionally.

Respect for others is one such character strength, which is hard to teach, but when it is part of a person’s values, it brings happiness and success their way.

People who respect others have social intelligence and are empathetic. They are less likely to experience anxiety, depression, and addictions later in life. Research studies also show that they are also more likely to be hired, promoted, earn more money, and have happier marriages and better-adjusted children.

How do we encourage our children to be more respectful?

Children who receive respect, especially from the adults in their lives are most likely to respect others.

It is important that when correcting children or advising them it is done respectfully, as children pay attention to our behaviour more than our words.

When children are treated well, they learn to respect themselves. Children who have a high sense of self-respect are less likely to do harmful things, they make good choices, and they tend to act in ways that are in their own best interest.

Teach children to understand how people feel and teach them how to respond appropriately to others.

Show children to wait their turn before speaking and acknowledge other people’s views.

Teach them to treat other’s feelings with curiosity and validation and not frustration or judgement.

Encourage children to make others feel included and valued.

Encourage in children teamwork and loyalty over hierarchy and competition.

Create opportunities to help everyone feel equal, for example, by giving even young family members responsibilities or a say in decision-making.

Environment in which everyone feels they are needed and consistently acknowledged shows respect for everyone.

Teach children from a young age to respect our environment by not destroying anything, respect for animals by taking care of even stray animals outside. When children learn this from a young age, they will grow up to be respectful adults.

Respect for law and rules. When parents model appropriate legal behaviour, their children will follow and will grow up to be law-abiding citizens.

Oman Observer

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