Mind Your Manners: Teaching Our Kids to Respect Each Other, and Us!

Are you having a rudeness problem? Try these strategies for your young kids.

It’s pretty common when children are young to witness some bratty behavior, but somehow, that doesn’t ever make it easier. It’s embarrassing on the playground or at the birthday party, and while every parent understands this, there is a little voice in the back of our heads that says, “I’m to blame.”

Well, you aren’t. Kids act out when they are young. They are small, they feel powerless, they don’t have much in the way of impulse control and, like all humans, they want their needs met.  

Fortunately, kids grow out of this, and we can usher them along safely by providing them with a safe space to work out their feelings. Here are a few quick pointers that can aid in teaching respect:

  • Maintain good boundaries. Small children really do think the world revolves around them, but as soon as they can do something on their own, we should insist they do.
  • Non-negotiable rules. Take away their arguing power around certain things. Hygiene, eating, and sleeping are good instances where kids try to duck out. But if you cave on those rules, they learn that you will also cave on taking turns and sharing, for example.
  • Model active listening. When there is a conflict, show them that you are listening, and if they don’t do the same you can mirror: “I listened to you, now it’s my turn to talk.”
  • Encourage open-mindedness and honesty. There is no point in making our kids play with kids they don’t click with, but we can show them how to remain friendly. When meeting new children, we can invite our kids to be curious about making friends.
  • Honor diversity. Children can be rude by default when someone’s appearance is different from their own. We can help break down the potential for awkwardness or separateness by initiating dialog with a broad spectrum of people.
  • Positive feedback. Let them know when they are handling themselves well and treating others with respect. Directives always work better than warnings.

Our kids look to us for guidance, and we are their measuring stick in understanding how to relate to others. If we don’t provide a picture of what it looks like to mind our manners, there is no incentive for our kids to do the same. And if we want our children to live in a kind and civilized world, we should always start with ourselves.




About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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