7 tips for parents – how to teach your child to speak to you with respect

Wood's Homes, Children, Mental Health,

By Carmen Campos, Family Support Counsellor – Home Connections, Wood’s Homes

Most parents can relate to the work involved in getting your child to respect your role as the parent.  We know it’s not always easy. But there are ways to show compassion and empathy, while at the same time, remain firm with your child. Try practicing the following tips the next time you’re stumped:

1. Model respect in your interactions with others and your child. Children are excellent observers and imitators. Explaining how you showed someone respect can be important but should be accompanied by actions that reflect what you are trying to teach. 2. Do not speak in ways that are disrespectful, such as yelling, cursing, grabbing, shouting over someone or being sarcastic. It will only teach your children that these are acceptable ways to communicate.

3. Set clear expectations. Maintain your authority so your child knows what to expect from you in terms of rules and consequences.

4. Instruct your child on what ‘to do’ rather than ‘what not to do’. For example, when your toddler grabs a toy from another child, notice and immediately cue him/her to share the toy. If this is a new skill for your child, demonstrate how to share. If your child can speak, tell him/her how to politely ask to share and then ask him/her to copy you.

Another example: When calling your school-aged child for dinner, tell him politely that dinner is ready and that it is time to turn off the computer and come join the family. Give him a 5-minute warning – it will help with compliance.

5. Avoid responding to disrespectful behaviours or requests by your child. State the expected behaviour and wait for him to meet it. If your child is requesting something from you, he/she needs to be able to practise the expected behaviour with your support and patience.

6. Always recognize and praise your child for good/expected behaviour. Let your child know when you noticed him being respectful and kind.

7. Remember to stay calm during these interactions. Model taking big breaths to calm down and take a break if you find yourself becoming frustrated or angry.

Wood’s Homes is a non-profit, nationally accredited children’s mental health centre based in Calgary.  We work with more than 20,000 vulnerable children, adolescents and families every year from across Canada.  Our multi-service organization celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014. The Home Connections program provides culturally-sensitive, in-home support services to children, and families in their home, school and community settings within the Bow Valley area. Click here to learn more. Our support can involve:

  • Parenting strategies for children & teenagers
  • Help with struggles at home, school or community
  • Child development understanding
  • Help with family stress & concerns
  • Connections to resources & supports

For self- referrals, please call: 403-678-9484 24/7 Crisis Counselling: 1-800-563-6106 www.woodshomes.ca

Saint Georges, S. (2015). Home Based Family Work [Lecture notes]. Calgary: Wood’s Homes Home
Connections Program.
Turner, K., Sander, M. & Markie-Dadds, C. (2013) Practitioner’s Manual for Primary Care Triple P. Milton
QLD, Australia: Triple P International Pty Ltd. ©Copyright 2010 The University of Queensland
Triple P takes the guesswork out of parenting. (n.d.). Retrieved March 3, 2015, from http://www.triplep.net/glo-en/home/
Wood’s Homes (Home Connection Program)


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