There is a common adage that says "respect must be earned." But how can a child earn respect if they do not understand what it is? Respect is not an innate characteristic of a small child. As
their parents, you play the most important role in teaching them what respect means.
Respect your child’s personal space. Children have different needs when it comes to personal space. Learn to respect what each child feels comfortable with. One of my grandchildren has long hair. She has told me that she doesn’t like me to rearrange her hair or put it behind her back. I now know not to touch her hair. Boys may not appreciate your always tucking in their shirt and feel it as an invasion of their physical privacy.
Make them feel comfortable around you. If a child is always bombarded with searching questions when they return from school, they may put up block and not want to share. Instead, welcome them home and give them a chance to talk about their day. Let them know you miss them when they are away and are happy to see them. Treating them with love and respect will be the best foundation for them to know they are in a safe environment.
Avoid constant ordering, correcting or directing. Invite children to help you rather than demanding that they do. Let them decide when is the best time to do their homework. Set boundaries and let them work within them. Children often rebel and push parents to the limits when they are forced to do things. Respect their time, limits and wishes as long as they are reasonable. Show appreciation for any help a child gives
Build them up. So many things can affect a child’s self esteem. The way you treat your child should not tear them down. Encouraging words can influence how their day goes despite how their friends and others treat them. They need to know that you have their back and that they have a safe refuge from the world. Pray with and for them and and send them off with a smile. Children who feel good about themselves are more likely to give respect to others.
Compare them only to themselves. A child who is always compared to siblings, cousins or parents will always feel inadequate. By treating them as an individual and being non-judgemental will have better results. Each child is so unique and has their own set of talents and attributes. I have a grandchild who has special needs. She has very good self esteem despite her disability. Her parents treat each of their children with respect and love.
Give up the need for power and control. Power struggles rarely bode well in families. Daily conflicts with children create disrespect. You are a steward over your children. Mutual respect between parents, spouses and children can solve daily challenges. Show your children respect and they will respect you. All humans desire respect and thrive with it.