often be delightful. They also can sometimes be deceitful or unkind,
bullies or victims. Sometimes the difference can be in the lessons they
learn, both at home and at school. Here are some ways to help your
children grow up to be respectful and kind, and to have the self-respect
they need to make the right choices, both now and in the future.
TV shows and movies can be helpful in teaching children how to be more
sensitive to others' feelings. When you're watching a program together
and a character behaves badly to another, pause the movie and ask: "Did
you notice how mean that character was? How do you think that made the
other person feel? What would you do in that situation?" Talk it
through together and stress the importance of treating people with
Face the mirror.
Too many children are skilled at the art of being angels when their
parents or other adults are around and little devils when they are not.
One of the most powerful and important lessons you can teach your child
is this: The real you is the way you behave when no on is watching.
Children need to learn to treat others kind and to behave well because
that is the kind of person they want to be, and because that is the only
way to have respect for the person they see in the mirror.
From the time you began reading to your child in the womb until they
are old enough to read for themselves, look for books that quietly
impart messages about self-discipline, kindness to others, dealing with
peer pressure, and telling the truth. Talk about the stories you and
your children read and the character traits brought out in the book.
Share your family values about how maintain your good character and make
Truth or consequences.
Every child, at one point or another, will try to lie. Discuss with
your children that trust is one of the most important characteristics a
person can ever have, and that it is very hard to re-earn that trust if
people think of them as a liar. Ask them how they would feel if they
found out someone had lied to them. As a parent, show in your words and
deeds that you are a trustworthy and honest person as well.
Sometimes, parents are unaware that their children are misbehaving in
school until they're notified by a teacher. The problem is that parents
too often react with denial. But that doesn't help anyone,
particularly not the child, who learns that he or she can get away with
bad behavior at school as long as the parents are fooled. If you get
that call or note from the teacher, swallow your pride, talk to your
child, and make an appointment to meet wit h the teacher.
It is difficult for children to deal with situations in which their
classmates, neighbors, siblings, or friends are behaving in a bad or
cruel manner. Help them be prepared by role -playing ahead of time- act
out situations they might face and see how they'd react. Talk with
them about other ways to deal wit h the peer pressure, and let them know
that, while standing up to their friends or peers might temporarily
make them less popular with that group, in the long run they will have
earned the respect of those whose opinions matter more.
The golden rule.
Teach your children to treat others the way that they, themselves,
would like to be treated. Reinforce it at home, by treating your
children wit h respect and expecting to be treated respectfully in
return. Reinforce it through your church, synagogue, or temple, or
through involvement in community activities that work to help others.
And, most importantly, show your children you truly believe it by
behaving respectfully yourself.