Thank you for visiting Adventures In Parenting - where we talk about raising good kids.

Subscribe to RSS feed to get my latest posts, sign up for a newsletter, and join me on Facebook!

Win $50 for children's formal wear! Enter here.

Teaching Kids to be Respectful

November 30th, 2007

“My kids are so disrespectful when they talk to me. How can I get them to show some respect at home?”

I have to warn you here, you may not like my answer. I wish there is an easy answer to that question. But from what I have experienced and observed, the answer requires you to take a hard look at yourself as a parent.

I think we, as parents, have the ability to bring out the worst in our children. They probably act great to people outside, but they treat us like dirt. After all we’ve done for them and everything we’ve bought for them, you would expect it to be the other way around. But let me be brutally honest and suggest some reasons why our kids do not show us more respect:

1. Our children see the bad and the ugly sides of us, that most people do not see. Because of that, they lose respect for us.

2. We see the bad and the ugly sides of our children, that most people do not see. Because of that, we nag them, yell at them, and show our displeasure much too often. If you look at things from that point of view, you can see why our children sometimes don’t like us very much.

3. We tend to talk down at our children. They are always younger than us, and in our mind they are always little. We think they don’t know anything and need us to teach them. Would you respond positively to people who are condescending to you?

4. We have high expectations of our children. If they obey us 8 times out of 10, do we count the 2 times that they disobey, or the 8 times that they did obey? It’s usually the 2 disobedient times that we remember and throw back at them. Can you see how our children can be demoralized and not like us as people?

With that in mind, how can we teach our children to show us respect?

Let’s turn it around and take a look who are the people that we respect:

Do we respect a boss that is fair or unfair?

Do we respect a boss that is consistent or inconsistent with promotions and raises?

Do we respect a boss who is kind, yet firm or who is overly kind, but does not reinforce rules?

Do we respect a boss who is critical or one who is affirming?

Do we respect a boss who knows what he’s doing, or one who blunders in his job?

Do we respect a boss who is working hard along side with you, or one who is out on long lunch breaks playing golf?

You can probably think of many more characteristics of someone who commands your respect. There can be a certain amount of respect that comes with the position of being the boss. But the bosses whom you would highly respect have earned your respect.

Does this give you some clues to how you can teach your kids to show respect around the house? Does it have more to do with them, or does it have more to do with you?

Granted there are some kids who have an “anti-establishment” type of attitude. They think they know everything and does not need to listen to anyone. I remember I was like that. I thought my parents were idiots, old-fashioned and have not been enlightened. In some ways, it is a stage they are going through in finding their place in the world. But if you continue to show yourself worthy of respect, your children will grow out of that stage and see you as someone who is deserving of their respect.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


  1. Thank you for the article, “Teaching our children to be respectful”. This issue is a problem for me, and your article makes sense and seems to have a lot of wisdom.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Debbie. This is a big issue for most parents. At every age of our children’s growth, we need to be earning their respect.


Leave A Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>