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?

Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.