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Preview: How Do You Teach Kids to Respect Adults? by Mariaemma Willis and Victoria Hodson

How do you teach a child respect?

This is an interesting question that we often run into. Parents, teachers, and adults, in general, complain that so many young people do not speak respectfully to their parents and teachers.

If you are reading this, we pose the question to you: Are you appalled at the way some children speak to adults?

Now for a “trickier” question: Are you appalled at the way many adults speak to children?

Is it okay for parents to speak sarcastically to their children and expect their children to speak back respectfully?

Is it okay for teachers to say negative things about a child in front of the whole class yet expect students to respond “respectfully” despite their anger and frustration?

Is it okay to interrupt a child but expect the child to not interrupt? Is it okay to grab something in anger from a child and expect the child to not repeat such an action with a sibling?

Is it okay to embarrass a child or put a child on the spot in front of others and expect that child to speak politely and respectfully to others?

Kids model what they see and hear. This is not new information—we all know that the old saying “Do as I say not as I do” does not work! Yet we see plenty of “disrespect” going on between parents and kids, between mom and dad, between parents and other adults. And kids get very confused!

The best way to teach kids respect is to respect them. In our coaching model, respect includes the following actions on the part of adults:


Oh, rats! It’s so frustrating when you get cut off just as you were getting to the meaty part!

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