Today we see many children expressing a bad attitude when they talk to peers or adults. Children can be seen arguing with adults, often using bad language. Unfortunately, movies, TV programs, and video games promote this kind of disrespectful behavior. Why should we teach our child respect? What can you as a parent do to teach our children respect for others? Is it too late to start if your child is rude, argumentative, and disrespectful already?


Learning to respect peers, authority, parents, and themselves is a necessary skill for children to learn in order to be successful. When a child learns to respect their parents, they listen and follow direction because they know you are looking out for their best interest.

We need to teach children respect so they can learn:

     • responsibility to respect and take care of objects that belong to others.

     • responsibility to care for their own belongings and appreciate what is given to them.

     • the skills to get along with their peers. Being respectful means they learn that they are not always first or that they cannot have everything           thing they want especially if it belongs to another.

     • that there are boundaries and rules that they must live by. They learn to take responsibility for their actions and that there are                             consequences for their behaviors.


It is your job as a parent to teach your child respect. When you see your child exhibiting disrespectful behavior step in immediately and address what you see happening.

For example: If the child is talking in a disrespectful way, stop the child and say, “We don’t talk like that to other people.” Then model the right way to speak to others.

It is important to explain to the child the consequences for not being respectful. Expecting your child to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you are very important to showing respect to others.

For example: The child says, “Give me another cookie, now.” You tell the child they must say ‘please’. If the child refuses then they understand the consequence is they do not get a cookie.

Admittedly it is often easier to just give the child the cookie especially if you know refusing to give them a cookie will trigger a temper tantrum, but it is important that you always remain consistent in your expectations for their behavior.

Along with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, teach your child to say, ‘excuse me’ when they are interrupting you or anyone else. This is often not as easy as it sounds especially when you have an excited child who is demanding your attention immediately and you are trying to make the child stop and say ‘excuse me’. Pick a time soon after an incident and sit down with your child and talk about what they should have done. Allow them to come up with the solution by talking about ‘good manners’. Demonstrate to your child how they could have gotten your attention in a more respectful way.

Another very important phrase to teach your child is “I’m sorry.” Teaching your child respect through good manners demonstrates how their actions may be affecting others.

Going out to dinner is often a challenge especially with young children. Preparation is the key to success when introducing new experiences. Talk to your child before you go out and discuss what behavior you expect from them.

For example: you and the child are going to a dinner at an aunt and uncle’s house. Talk about manners before you go and clearly state what your expectations are. Prepare the child by practicing the good manners you want them to use. Consistent and frequent practice will make it easier for the child to remember.

Always recognize when the child has used good manners and praise them for it. Remember children imitate what they see and hear so it is so important that you model good manners and respect for others when teaching your children.

It is necessary that you show respect for the child as well. When you show respect for your child’s feelings and their belongings, you are allowing them to experience and understand how it feels to be respected.


It is never too late to start teaching a child respect. Talk with your child and set out clear expectations and consequences. Make sure that you model how you want your child to act.

For example: If you are in the habit of saying, “pick up your toys” make it a goal to always say, “please pick up your toys.” How you treat your child and the respect you show them will directly help them to learn what is expected.

To help you reinforce the respectful behaviors you are introducing to your child, you may want to make a chart to post on the wall.

For example: a GOOD MANNER’S CHART -- List the good manners you want your child to learn and each time your child uses good manners they can earn a star or a check mark next to they good manners they displayed. After a set number they get a reward such as going out for pizza or playing a family game.

PATIENCE is going to be necessary when teaching children respect. Very young children are very “me” oriented. They feel the world revolves around them and their needs. Your goal as a parent is to show them that even though their needs and feelings are very important, they need to learn how to socialize and interact with others. Teaching young children takes patience and consistency. Teaching children respect is a vital skill that will help them be successful as they grow older.