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How to teach respect

October 26, 2011

A Great Idea …

“When I say that you should treat your child with respect, I mean you should give the same courtesies you would give anyone else. Speak to him politely. Respect his opinion. Pay attention when he is speaking to you. Treat him kindly. Try to please him when you can. Don’t worry—you can do all of these things and still maintain your authority as the parent.” (Professor of psychology, Laurence Steinberg in his book, The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting, p. 182)

In Other Words …

We should avoid sending mixed messages. When we yell at our children and ignore their opinions, we are not teaching them how to be respectful. Respect is taught with respect. Even firm limits and unpleasant consequences can be delivered in respectful ways.

How This Applies to You …

Think of someone you admire. Next time you interact with your child, show him or her the same respect you would show the person you respect most. Listen attentively. Honor the ideas. Speak compassionately.

To Find Out More …

For more great ideas (or to share your ideas), visit our Navigating Life’s Journey blog.

For an excellent (and free!) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at and, if you have children less than 6 years of age, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more in-depth reading, we recommend The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting by Laurence Steinburg or Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott.

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