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How Can I Teach My Preschooler Respect?

by Joe Lawrence | May 23rd, 2022 | Behavior, Preschool
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There are very few things that can get a parent’s blood to boil faster than being disrespected by his or her child. Where do they get this from? How can they be so ungrateful? We would never do this to our parents.

My father was fairly strict when it came to most things. He gave us a lot of leash in many areas like what we watched on TV, books we read, music, clothing, etc., but he ensured we were respectful and honest. He wanted to raise men of character. So he did not mess around with disrespect.

Now, this is what I remember. What I do not recall is very much before the age of five or six. I can’t remember if I was a little jerk as a toddler or preschooler. It is safe to assume that I stepped out of line many times during my early years, and these were the moments that forged me into what I became later in life.

Our children are trying to learn where the line is. They are familiar with the multitude of rules we provide and all of our expectations for them; however, they are trying to learn where the line is. We say five more minutes on the playground, but when it is time to go they try to bargain for more time. Do we give in and say another minute is fine? How far can they push this line?

We have to do two things to teach respect: uphold our standards and lead by example. The first few times we hold our ground and refuse the extra time or refuse to give in to no toys every time we go to the store, is not easy. They are going to push back and fight to get their line where they want it to be. We have to hold our ground. It will no longer be a fight once they learn they can’t get away with it.

This is typically easier for dads, because men operate with a code of respect as moms are more loving and compassionate. Moms are not weaker by any means; they just don’t want to see their child sad. Ironically, teaching our children to be respectful helps them to understand love and compassion more. When they are able to get their own way, they do not appreciate anything.

The most important piece is to lead by example. It is hard for us to demand respect when we model disrespect. It means letting them see us hold the door for others and to show appreciation to servers and store clerks. We can preach respect until we are blue in the face, but is all for naught if we do not model it.

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