Teaching Respect

Posted on February 2, 2011. Filed under: Lifestyles, Psychology |

Psychology for Living

Gwen Randall-Young

Increasingly, parents and teachers share stories with me about children or students who seemingly have little or no respect for authority. I am shocked when I hear about children swearing at or even hitting their parents. If they get away with this at home, it is not surprising that they carry this disrespect for adults into the classroom.

In some cases, these children are only modeling the disrespect shown to them by adults. It is important for adults to speak respectfully to children, even when they are angry. If adults break all the rules of healthy communication when they are angry, children learn to do this too.

It is never too late to change. Children must be taught to respect adults. They may feel quite powerless if their parents are rude and abusive. However, the behavior of others is never justification for inappropriate behavior ourselves.

If a student feels a teacher is treating him or her disrespectfully, they must not be disrespectful in return. That is not right. What they can do, is to follow  proper channels to make a complaint.

The sanity and safety of our culture is based on rules and respect for the rights of others. If children do not have a sense of respectful boundaries and behaviors, we compromise the future stability of our society.  If we are mean to children, they will become mean adults.  Everyone involved, both children and adults, has a responsibility to work to improve a destructive situation. As adults though, we must take the lead.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit http://www.gwen.ca

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