Teaching My Boys The Art Of Respect

Do you find that today kids are a lot more disrespectful than in earlier generations?  Long gone are the days where kids say “Thank you” for something, help others for no reason, ask for something nicely without expecting and leaving the demands where they belong, in the garbage.  As a mom raising sons, respect is one thing that is not only valued in my home but in society.

So teaching kids the art of R E S P E C T holds a value that is worth its weight in gold.

Don’t expect respect, teach it!

As parents it’s our job to lead by example. I don’t know about you, but I always hold the door open for someone coming. I give up my seat for someone in need on public transportation. I say please and thank you for things, and even in my marriage my husband and I try hard to show respect to one another, showing the value we have not just for one another’s feelings but a courtesy that we feel will help our boys as they grow.

It’s important to model the behavior you want from your kids. If you don’t show respect you shouldn’t expect your kids to do it.

There’s no room for rudeness or blame

My kids have a great relationship with my parents. Kids can learn a lot from the older generation about respect

I tend to use words that are considered quirky with my kids to express my feelings on rude behavior. It’s never okay to be rude. Not to each other, or anyone else. You can be true to who you are and share your feelings or opinions without hurting someone else’s feelings. So don’t let rudeness become a habit. Nip it in the butt immediately. If your kids are aware that rudeness and blame will not be tolerated, they will come to realize it’s not okay.

“Don’t blame shift” = don’t shift the blame to someone else and take responsibility for your own behavior. Nobody makes you feel anything. We always have choices in life. So own up to yours.

“That’s offside!” = that kind of talk or rude behavior won’t be tolerated. It’s off-color, off-side, out-of-bounds, and not part of the family dynamic.

“You’re fired!” = You’re done. I do not like what you have said. You are free to express your feelings, but not in this way. So a time out, or other form of consequence is required.

“Anger Ball” = Describes a person’s emotions escalated out of ordinary. I prefer my kids to say mom is an anger ball and not mom is pissed at us. Word usage needs to be chosen careful, which brings me to my last phrase.

“Choose Your Words” = My kids will often say exactly how they feel, which I want but I also want them to be aware the words we choose can be hurtful, and just apologizing does not remove the hurt or damage that already been done by poor word choice.

Look at My Face – What did I say?

My youngest is in grade two and I love that from preschool on his teachers have used the term “listening ears” to get kids to listen. However using your eyes and looking at the person talking is also a way to show respect while listening. Kids often seem as though they hear you, but when asked can’t repeat a single thing you’ve said. So teaching kids to listen attentively, repeat back what they’ve heard and to look at you while you are talking, shows they have heard what you are saying.

Different Strokes for Different Folks Can Lead to Good Examples

“Mommy that man drinks lots of chocolate milk!” my oldest said while standing next to an African-American man in the elevator. I immediately went beet red. Sure the man laughed and I knew right then and there, this wasn’t going to be the last time my child pointed out differences he saw in people.

One of my best friends M and her daughter Rae who has down syndrome. Exposing your kids to people with differences and teaching your children love, patience, tolerance and that differences are okay. Goes a long way to helping kids learn how to be more respectful to others.

It’s important to expose your kids to differences. My children have friends from all ethnic backgrounds. My oldest son has two best friends. One is Mexican. One is black. Each of them has a different culture and I have taught my kids to explore and enjoy those cultural differences. Even if those differences do not coincide with how I raise my own children, doesn’t mean my kids have to be judgmental, or rude.  I want them to realize that all of us can be different which makes people unique, special, and worth getting to know.

How do you teach your kids the art of respect?


  1. Marianne March 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I love these rules. I think go a long way towards teaching our kids how to function in our society. I think a great disservice is being done to those kids that don’t learn boundaries or respect.

    1. Jodi - Site Author March 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      You are right Marianne it is. But hopefully those of us parents aware of it can fix that.

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