Teaching Children the Nature of Respect
In many ways it seems that we live in an ever-worsening culture of crude, rude, and vulgar speech and behavior. Respect now has the same status as a precious, limited resource like diamonds, oil, or clean water. Too often we hear ourselves complaining that “today’s children just have no respect for people or anything for that matter.” Why is this? Experts suggest that children usually mirror what they see and that means that they’ve learned a lot from us adults. The first step to teaching children about respect is to model it ourselves.
Respect your children
The first mistake that we as adults make is to assume that children are too young to understand what we say or do. On the contrary, psychologists state that children have highly impressionable minds that not only understand but “record” everything that adults do. So if you’re child just used foul language, there is a very high chance he or she picked it up from you. One of the biggest ironies is that adults disrespect children while trying to teach them respect. It is necessary to know that even children are human and they too have a desire for dignity, acceptance, and encouragement – not just scolding or correcting. The next time your child requires correction, try to a tack that’s less harsh on them – firm but gentle, praise- correct-praise.
As they say, good things have small beginnings and this is true for human behavior too. Start your children with small, basic manners such as saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’. Encourage them to make polite requests rather than demands. If your child requests you to do or give something, ask him or her to state the reason and purpose. If the reason is valid, go ahead with the request. This teaches them that polite requests are much better than rude demands.
Teach your children to be polite and respectful to other people and explain to them as to why they need to be courteous. Explain the ‘golden rule’. Lectures usually aren’t enough to do the job. Witnessing and applying the rationale and results of living with respect for self and others will help them understand more personally.
Karate and respect
A good way to encourage your children to learn about respect through a year round, structured activity that is all about respect. Karate for kids is a martial arts form pretty much built on the values of discipline and respect. Karate classes are the perfect environment for physical, mental, social skills, and leadership training. Traditions and rules that your child will have to adhere to while learning karate make showing respect a natural habit through repetition. A series of ranks and belt colors help children understand where they stand, and that they have to put in, to achieve each new rank and belt. Karate teaches people to respect each other. For instance, the master is referred to as ‘Sensei’ or ‘Sah Boo Nim’ which means teacher, and he or she is most be shown respect through trained actions and responses. These are some of the methods that are proven to help children learn the value and adopt the practice and attitude of respect.