How to raise your children to be respectful. 4 overlooked tips for effective parenting.

How to raise your children to be respectful

Ruthie Rearing 8 Comments

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In a society fraught with entitlement, it seems we parents often fight a losing battle to raise our children to be respectful.

During my music teaching years in Christian school, a parent complained that I was “too strict”,  claiming her (disrespectful) child undeserving of discipline. She asked that I rescind in-school suspension because it would hurt the high-school teen’s record.

What would you do?

You might think children of “Christian parents” exude respect and good manners.  Not always, my friend.

Before you take offense, understand that I graduated from Christian school. Two of my children graduated from the same establishment, where I was also  employed.

I noted this attitude of disrespect in my classroom – beginning with kindergarten and extending through high school. Many children were not being taught respect at home, which meant they weren’t being taught obedience.

Obedience is a product of respect.

In the Gray household, we taught our kids the concept of respect/obedience (NOTE:  my kids still got called down in school on occasion;  I’m not snowed enough to think they were angels).  I was flabbergasted to realize that not all parents were on the same page.

What are the necessary ingredients for raising respectful children?


How to raise your children to be respectful. 4 overlooked tips for effective parenting.



1.  Be a respectful example

If we parents do not acknowledge and respect authority, neither will our children.  This applies to bosses, pastors, managers, and others in leadership positions.

But it extends beyond authority figures –  to co-workers, friends, and family.

How to raise your children to be respectful. 4 overlooked tips for effective parenting.Did you know that you should even respect your children?  Not “awe” respect (as seen in this text from my child, excited to return home for spring break), but respect them as human beings.

After the disciples pooh-poohed the children and tried to shoo them away from the important Master, Jesus indignantly took the children in his arms and blessed them saying,

Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:14)


Don’t jerk your children around and yell at them.  Don’t take their things from them or allow siblings to dominate and belittle.

This attitude of respect is modeled at home, mom.  Your child will not learn it in Christian school, child care, or eventually, the work place, if you haven’t first taught it yourself.


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2.  Model good manners

Practicing good manners means:

opening doors for ladies and the elderly  

holding doors for those following behind 

pulling out chairs

letting others with less grocery purchases go first

waving and acknowledging people you know  

teaching your kids to say “yes” and “no” instead of “yeah” and “nah” (“Yes sir” is even better).

putting your phone away while holding a conversation (this is common sense, but we do seem to be having a breakdown in character these days)


My husband consistently modeled the door thing with our son.  Many a time I almost got slapped in the face by a door he  forgot to hold in his rush. Also, who wants to hold the door for your sisters anyhow. (Poor kid – the only boy surrounded by 3 girls.)

But the boy became a man, and today I notice him practicing the same good manners his dad so kindly modeled before him.



3.  Don’t be a drama mamma

If you are one of those moms who gets your dander up every time your kid comes home with hurt feelings from school, soccer games, or play dates, better check that.

Don’t go in there, guns loaded without first assessing the situation.  In fact – never go anywhere with your angry on.

Take time to pray about it, gather facts, gain wise counsel, and then if you feel it necessary to speak to the teacher, coach, or other mom, do so with a respectful attitude.

You can lose favor with your child and your child can also lose favor with others when you consistently display the drama-mamma attitude.

Many a time I recall feeling hurt for my child.  But very rarely did I intercede in a discipline situation.  Almost never in a friend conflict.

Yes, on occasion, mama-bear got in that ring.  There is a time and a place.  But not without much prayer and seeking of the Lord’s face on the subject.


Don't be a drama-mamma if you hope to raise respectful children. Click To Tweet



How to raise your children to be respectful. 4 overlooked tips for effective parenting.



4.  Practice tactful discipline in public

I know your child has meltdowns in the middle of Costco.  At the church Christmas program, she pushed her neighbor down (making her cry) in order to receive the spotlight.  When grandma asked for a hug, your toddler slapped her in the face.

All frustrating, gut-wrenching actions, calling for some form of correction.

Take care how you react, as it can cause damage to your child’s spirit.  Draw him away in private and address the issue, making clear the behavior is unacceptable.

If you must wait, be sure to do it later – don’t let your diminished ire ignore the issue.  For most certainly, there will be another public appearance, to which you will gain instant admittance in the form of a front row seat – WITH NO WARNING.


Wrapping up respectfulness

Remember that kid I reprimanded? I chose not to accommodate the parent’s wishes.  As a result, the parent took on a disrespectful attitude.  And the dominoes fell the way they were patterned:  the teen grew up to be an adult who struggled with authority and respect towards others.

Teach your child to be respectful of authority figures, family, and peers.  Show consideration to others no matter their stature, race, or age.  Model this respectful attitude by daily interactions and how you speak of others.  None of us are perfect in this area, but we must all strive for service to others as Christ said in Mark 10:45,


For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.


What tips would you add to raise respectful children?


Can’t control your temper?

From the book, "Count to Nine; 9 Liberating Steps for Mom Frustration and Anger". Tips for applying Scriptural methods to curb anger. Dear mom, you have the tools to overcome anger and frustration!
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From the book, "Count to Nine; 9 Liberating Steps for Mom Frustration and Anger". Tips for applying Scriptural methods to curb anger. Dear mom, you have the tools to overcome anger and frustration!




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Unmarried friends can be empathetic listeners and wise advisers even if they doesn’t have personal experience with the situations you are facing. In fact, they may be able to give great advice because of their outside viewpoints. At times you may even be surprised to learn that they are facing similar struggles. Some challenges in marriage, such as budgeting, aren’t unique to marriage!

~Shannon from Of the Hearth, 5 ways married women can support their single friends


No drama, very little manipulating, no hidden agendas. They seem to get over disappointment quickly. I remember crying and moping for hours when I broke up with a guy or someone hurt my feelings. These boys “bounce”!! We help them pick up their heart, feed em’ something good and move on down the road. There is no sugar coating their thoughts and feelings. They “tell it like it is!” If they have to go to the bathroom, it’s “I gotta go poop!”

~Andrea from Living on Cloud Nine, Why we love raising teen boys


If we truly want a good friendship – with anyone – we reign in our selfishness, and focus on being a good friend to our friend. The same goes for our spouse – to be a friend, a good friend, a true friend we need to not let complacency creep in, not let sloppiness or selfishness creep in.  We don’t want to be that kind of friend.

~Belinda from Live Life with Your Kids 25 years ago I married my friend


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Comments 8

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  1. Such common-sense wisdom you share here, Ruthie. I’m a Texas girl, and I still love to hear people say, “Yes, Ma’am, and No, Sir.” Call me old-fashioned. I even like young people saying, “Mrs. Cruz.” (I was 40 before my mom told me maybe I was too old now to be calling her friends Mrs._______!) But sometimes it seems like so few people learn respect. So important to model it ourselves. 🙂

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      Yes and some of those type manners are regional too. Where I come from people rarely teach their children “yes sir” and “no ma’am”, and I didn’t bring my kids up saying that, although I wish I would have. I also didn’t begin teaching them to say yes and no instead of “yeah” and “nope” until about halfway through when I realized there was a problem! Hopefully other parents who read this will get a leg up sooner. Thanks, Betsy for always being my cheering section!

  2. I think we have to be careful with jokes about other people too. What some people think is harmless and funny can be really hurtful and show a lot of disrespect. Thanks for the good counsel.

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