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The Return of Respect

April 12, 2017
By Mrs. Nikki Curliss

A recent Parent magazine article, The Return of Respect, describes how children need role models in their lives who show and teach them about respect. The home is the first place children learn about the various forms of respect.

Parents teach children how to use respectful words, "please, thank you, excuse me." This shows children that the relationship is two way; a give and a take. When children hear adults use kind words with others, they practice respectful communication.

When I talk with children about respect, I ask them what respect looks like and what does it sound like. Children give examples of someone holding open a door, smiling to a classmate, and greeting people by saying good morning. We should all continue to give them examples of respect.

Parents can teach children how to express themselves in a respectful way. Children need to know that their feelings matter. So, if your child is talking sassy or yelling at home, they need to learn how to use their words to communicate respectfully. The article suggests using “I statements” to say how you feel. Instead of yelling at another person, say, “I am frustrated” and then engage in a conversation to get at what is making you frustrated.

Learning to listen is just as important as talking respectfully. Active listening skills, like looking at someone when they are talking, showing interest, putting down the phone, and not interrupting, are all examples of respect and showing the other person they have value. Mobile devices can cause a distraction, so put the phone down and focus on the conversation.

Parents should set up rules at home and have appropriate consequences if the rules are broken. Post your house rules on the fridge so everyone knows what is to be expected. By giving your children structure, it helps them to grow up to be respectful citizens. If a child doesn’t follow rules at home, they are not following rules at school.

Respecting others' differences is part of gowing up and making new friends and having new experiences.  Parents can model tihs behavior by showing respect in our actions and words.  It's OK to notice differences, but it's important to also acknowledge similiarities.  We might have different backgrounds, but we can still treat each other as we would like to be treated.

Nikki Curliss, Guidance Counselor, has been at StMM for 5 years. She enjoys spending time helping students one-on-one and with whole classroom lessons.