Before I start, let me clarify, I am not an expert at raising children by any means. However, I raised three children, now grown, on my own and since life teaches us a lot of lessons, I have a lot of them to share with others. My children all graduated from High School with clean discipline records and that's something a Mom can be proud of.
How do you teach a child to be respectful? Most importantly of all, by example. Helping them to realize that everyone is molded from a different pattern. And it IS okay to be different. My oldest liked standard blue jeans. When my second son came along he loved the baggies. He now likes longer hair while the other keeps a short cut. Many times I reminded them that we all must be OURSELVES and no two people will ever be alike.
Teach your child that any person of a different color or with a disability is as much a person as they are, with the same rights.
Teaching your child respect for other people's property begins at home also. I never owned a home, so I taught mine early on that this wasn't OUR property and my kids were not allowed to do destructive things to it. If a child destroys someone else's property, teach them that there are consequences for their behavior and make them follup on paying for damage they have done. Just paying their way out of a situation fails to teach the child respect for the property of others.
Sibling rivalries goes back as far as Bible Days. But parents have the responsibility to put violence between children in the home to a HALT. My boys were taught that they were NOT to fist fight or talk disrespectfully to one another or to their sister. Granted, little girls can be a pain in the neck to big brothers, and though girls can PUSH this rule to the limit, by NO MEANS were they allowed to hit a girl. I did the disciplining and she knew that she wouldn't walk away smelling like a rose. There were consequences for bad behavior.
Teachers, coaches and other people in positions of authority are not always right but they are to be respected nevertheless. If you have a problem, approach them with a level head and hear their side of the story before jumping to conclusions. Tell your child that whether they care for Mr. or Mrs. X they have the authority over them and they are to be treated with respect. CASE CLOSED! A child who is not taught this respect at home will learn it one way or the other. Whether it be by loving parents or Law Enforcement. I think most of us would choose to do the teaching ourselves. You can make a huge impact on the lives of your children, and it's YOUR CHOICE. Lessons learned early will follow them the rest of their days.
By Sharon Shearer