6 Ways to Get Your Kids to Respect You

teaching kids respect

My friend was a first-time coach this year for his eight-year-old son’s basketball team. On the first day of practice, his son complained in front of the other kids on the team about the drills his dad had them practice.

On the car ride home, my friend addressed his son’s disrespect. First, he explained to him the reasons behind each of the drills. Then he told his son that he was a leader and the other kids looked up to him, so when he complained about something they followed his bad examples, which is why his dad needed his help in being a good example. When his son realized that he had an important role to play in helping his dad coach the team, he changed his attitude and began to be more respectful. Teaching kids respect is a necessary but difficult task. It starts with your child respecting you as a parent.

Here are 6 ways to get your kids to respect you.

1. Respect your children.

This is going to look different from child to child, but you know when you’re disrespectful–and so do they. As the parent, this is something we can teach by doing. If we’re sarcastic and dismissive to them, they’ll try out that kind of behavior soon enough. That’s not to say we’re on the same level as our children, but even the “boss” can treat others with respect.

2. Respect your husband.

This is huge. The relationship between parents sets the tone for the greater family dynamic. When children see mom and dad treat each other with love and respect—despite their differences—the standard has been set.

3. Spend more time teaching love than teaching rules.

Children who are taught the connection between love and discipline can accept consequences more easily than those who are governed exclusively by “do it because I said so” and “chapter and verse.”

4. Live with integrity.

Children are master observers. Personal work ethic… Paying bills… Charitable giving… Helping others… Generous with tips… Talking positively about others behind their backs… All of these are areas where we build and sustain the kind of character our kids will respond to with respect.

5. Don’t be a pushover.

If you let your kids walk all over you (you don’t follow through on discipline, you give in when they pitch a fit, you let them treat you disrespectfully), why will they respect you?

6. Don’t stoop to their level.

Kids will be kids. They’ll whine, they’ll have temper tantrums, they’ll pout. If you’re acting that way too, they’ll likely have little respect for you. Keep your cool. Instead of yelling, “Don’t you say that to me, it’s disrespectful!” Calmly respond to their misbehavior. “You know, we don’t talk to each other like that in our family. We treat each other with respect. Go to your room and think about what you said.”

What other methods have worked for getting your kids to respect you?


  • Thanks for sharing! Being respectful to your kids is so important! I have been in many situations where a child showed her parents something she learned or something she made and her parents didn’t acknowledge her accomplishment or even respond at all. It is so important to acknowledge your child when he/she shares something with you. If you acknowledge stuff that seems small to you (although big to them), your kids will be more likely to come to you about the big stuff. The stuff you want them to come to you about.

  • Dawn

    We do this, but when we tell him to go to his room he yells no. If we try to make him go in his room it’s a battle to chase him, catch him, drag him to his room and shut the door. He won’t stay on a time out step/chair/couch/floor either.

    • Jodee

      My kids are the same wAy and I’m at a loss on how to make them mind

    • Melissa

      My son was the same ! I bought a huge hour glass and it sits in the time out corner. They are not aloud to touch it unless they are in a time out. It distracts them from resisting the corner and gives them the time they need to cool off.

  • Michiel

    We do all this but no sukses . !!!!!!!!!!! Please Help

  • We are fans of the “do over” — for parents and children. Instead of sending a child away, give them the opportunity to revise their words or actions. (In the same way we’d want such grace with our spouse, friend, boss, or coworker.) As this article points out in several tips, our role modeling is critical. As parents we can apologize when we’re out of line and ask for a do-over, and then offer the same opportunity to our children when they make mistakes. We’re all human after all.

  • David Daisy May Boldock

    If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.

  • Mr J. D. JENKINS

    Any tips for how to get son visiting their dad for visitation/contact to respect the dad and his wife. Currently, son is extremely disrespectful and when confronted about it, there is little consequence that can be made except time-outs or no pizza dinner for the day. There will be a consequence of sorts. Things are heightened as my stepson who lives with me and my wife is his age and is different in that while both can be wild and challenging, the one who lives at home with us is not fragrantly disrespectful; my son is. I think it’s to do with the way my son grows up where he lives (i.e. few rules, plenty of rudeness, no discipline, computers, iPhones, everything). Contrast the atmosphere in our home is spiritual, very little movies (there a treat), not materialistic, rules, discipline and respect are crucial.

    The further problem is that once my son goes back to his mother, the effect then carries over to my step-son for a few days at least until he gets it out of his system.

    Any tips much appreciated!!!