|Respect is something children learn and emulate from
their parents, said Barbara Hopkins.
Hopkins, the Monroe County site coordinator of the Parenting Place in
Sparta, presented a workshop “Tips on Getting Kids to Respect
Parents/Caregivers/Teachers” Nov. 29 at Fort McCoy as a guide for
parents to get their children to respect others.
Barbara Hopkins (right) talks
with parents from the Fort McCoy community about respect between
children and their parents.
(Photo by Rob Schuette)
“Parents first have to define what respect is to them,” Hopkins
said. “If they want respect from their children, they have to teach
it to them and be a role model in respecting others.”
Children emulate their parents. If their parents are sarcastic,
shouting, grabbing and displaying inappropriate behavior, children
will act likewise, she said.
On the other hand, if parents are polite, respectful, courteous,
etc., to their children and to others, children will behave the same
“It all comes down to us as parents,” Hopkins said. “The best way to
teach respect is to show respect. Being respectful helps a child
succeed in life.”
Children should be taught that being respectful is showing patience
and listening calmly with undivided attention when someone else is
talking to them, Hopkins said. It’s a two-way street. Parents who
are fair with their children are more likely to help children
develop good habits of practicing respect.
A 10-point program can help parents teach respect and curb
disrespect, Hopkins said. The 10 parenting tips are: model it,
expect it, teach it, praise it, discuss it, correct it, acknowledge
it, understand it, reinforce it, and reward it.
Modeling and teaching respect often go hand-in-hand. Hopkins said
parents have to show respect and give children the tools and skills
they need to show respect in return.
Praising, acknowledging, reinforcing and rewarding respectful
behaviors helps emphasize to children that being respectful is a
The process should emphasize children feeling good for displaying
respect to others and not necessarily overindulgent rewards.
“It is good to associate respectful behavior with intangible
rewards, such as praise, recognition, extra responsibility or
privileges,” Hopkins said.
Parents also can show their children the difference between
respectful and disrespectful behavior by pointing out when other
children use respectful or disrespectful language and/or behavior
and discussing it with their children, she said.
If parents see their children engaging in disrespectful behavior
they should correct it in a respectful manner to help reinforce the
basics of respectful behavior and being a good role model, Hopkins
“Parents and children have to have self-respect before they can give
respect to others,” she said. “Until children get respect at home,
it’s unlikely they will show it elsewhere.”
The Parenting Place, a nonprofit organization, offers free parenting
advice to the public. For more information, visit the website
or call 608-269-3151, ext. 6116.
For more information about parent workshops at Fort McCoy, call
Parent Central Services at 608-388-8956.