How To Teach Your Kids To Have Respect


Here’s a quick video tip on how to teach your kids how to have respect for others– whether it be you as a parent, teachers, law enforcement, or even their fellow classmates. I guarantee you will not regret training your child with this important virtue early on in life.

Definition of Respect And Why It’s Important

Respect is a very important aspect; this is a very important life skill. And this comes from our Bam Bam martial arts kids’ character development curriculum where we give lectures on important life skills. We actually pick a word of the mind and we talk about that word all month and so one of those words is “respect”. That’s what I want to talk to you about today. And I thought, it might be nice to make this video for you so that you can turn around and go and teach this to kids. So, first of all, what is respect? Respect is having a concern for what is good in other human beings. It’s treating other people like they matter, like they’re important. It’s an awareness of the dignity of other human beings where you’re talking about respect for parents, respect for teachers, respect for legal law enforcement authorities etc. Respect is critical in life. In fact, it’s very important to have a respectful attitude in life.

Respect Is Crucial For Happy Relationship

You want to live a happy and fulfilled life. You have to be respectful to other people and the reason why is because human beings by nature are social creatures. We have to have relationships to thrive. We have to engage in and have strong social relationships with other human beings and if you don’t treat those other human beings with respect, if you don’t show an awareness of their dignity, you know your social relationships are going to be severely hampered, to say the least. So you can’t do this. You can’t go around, a kid can’t be allowed to go around and treat people disrespectfully. I see this all the time.

You have to teach your kids to be respectful. They have to have those good relationships with other people to be successful in life.

I see kids coming in my school that are just completely disrespectful to their parents. They don’t know how to engage socially when they first meet other human beings. “Hey man, Hi Scott, how are you doing?” That’s not a way to treat other people with respect. I’ve seen kids stick their tongue out their parents, call their parents’ names in public. This is not a good habit. You can’t allow this. You can’t allow your child to develop these bad habits of being disrespectful. They’re going to treat their parents like that and learn that it’s OK to do that. Later on in life it’s a real problem. You have to teach your kids to be respectful. They have to have those good relationships with other people to be successful in life. So, you have to start early and train this virtue early. In short, you don’t let them act like a loser. These kids that don’t know how to engage with other adults – it’s a shame. It reflects poorly on them.


Parents Are Responsible For Their Children’s Behavior

And I’ll be honest, it reflects poorly on you as a parent. When you see a kid act like that you think their parents just aren’t raising them well. So this virtue of respect of being concerned for the value of others, it’s important for first impressions when your kids meet people. It’s important for job interviews. It’s important for school interviews, dealing with teachers, run ins with the police – all these things, respect for their spouse later on in life. So much hinges on a person having a strong virtue of respect. So, that is why being respectful was important to teach your kids. It’s the right thing to do.

How To Teach Kids To Become Respectful?

So, how do we teach our kids to become respectful? Well, the thing I like to teach with my own kids is; start with the little things. It actually doesn’t take that much. Start with little things. Teach your kids to, for example, when they first meet adults, look the adult in the eye. I mean, how’s that for a new idea? Look the adult in the eye, speak up, and stand up straight, “Hi, my name is Scott”, to shake hands with a firm hand grip, to say “yes sir” and “Yes ma’am” and “no sir” and “No Ma’am”, just basic manners. “Thank you, sir”, “Thank you, ma’am” – that will go a long way. That little habit right there, treating adults with respect by just verbally, just with the words; “Yes sir”, “yes ma’am”, “no sir”, “no ma’am” enforce that at home. That will go a long way. That teaches kids from the very get go from the very first words out their mouth that they have to treat adults with respect.

Make them be respectful in their eye contact when they look at you as a parent or teacher. Don’t let them look around. When a kid doesn’t look at you when you’re talking, what that says? That says, “You’re not important to me“. When I’m teaching my martial arts class and I’m teaching a move and the kids just kind of looking around, looking out the window, what’s that say? That says that whatever you’re doing teacher, is not that important. What’s going on out there is more important, I’m looking at that. That’s disrespectful. Make them have eye contact. When you talk to kids, they have to look at you; they should say “yes sir”, “yes ma’am”, “no sir”, “no ma’am”. It’s an important habit. Another one – no mumbling, no “AWWWA”. Make them speak up, make them articulate their words. Firm hand grip with a handshake, eye contact, “Hi, my name is Scott”, “Yes sir”, “yes ma’am”, “no sir”, “no ma’am” – very simple. Eye contact and speak up, no mumbling, respectful body posture.

Enforcing Little Things As Habit Work!

If you’re talking to your kid and your kids slouch around, when teachers trying to teach a kid something in school and the kids just kind of ‘kick me back’, that’s disrespectful. So, teach your kid to be respectful in their words, in their tone, in their eye contact and in their body posture. Respect is a virtue that kids can develop and the best way to develop virtues is by habit. It’s by doing little things all the time and enforcing those things. You’re going to have to enforce this as a parent, can’t just let it slide. And it doesn’t take that much. Just enforce these little things at home and you’ll have a respectful kid.

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Father of eight, Dr. Scott Sullivan is the chief instructor at Bam Bam Martial Arts in Houston, TX. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas and is a seasoned martial arts instructor with over 30 years of experience. A firm believer that martial arts really does help people become more fit, safe, and happy, he remains vigilant about helping people improve their lives through martial arts.