5 Interesting Ways to Teach Respect to the Disrespectful 2-Year-Old

“It’s not always what they say but how they say that matters.”Have you ever heard of this phrase ?  Well, this holds true for adults but if you are expecting considerate or respectful behaviour from a 2-year-old then you might not get the required results. That’s because their language skills are still developing and they do not know how to tactfully talk their way out of a situation they are not happy about. For example – when you want your kid to stop playing on the mobile phone or switch off the TV and go to sleep, they might simply shrug off or shout at the top of their voice to show their resentment. This might be simply because the skill of showing scorn graciously is not yet developed in them and they might require years of practice and observation to attain the same. So, what you can do to teach them to be respectful towards others and you?

  1. The most important gift you can give your children is respect.  Well, that’s true! Give them the same kind of respect that you are hoping to get in return. Our upbringing often confuses respect with fear (which is an absolutely wrong way to make them well-behaved). They often think that if I do not respect my father he might hit me or shout at me. This should not happen in a parent-child relationship. Instead, sit and talk to your child, get down to his understanding level, be patient with him and show that you are interested in their likes and dislikes. The respect that will arise from such relationship would be absolute and will remain forever.
  2. The best way to teach them to speak politely is to give them polite responses always. When your child witnesses polite responses from you every time you utter, they start acquiring similar responses while communicating with others. Instead of lecturing about being polite show them how to be polite and well-behaved. Soon you will see your child communicating politely using ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry or ‘please’.
  3. Do not overreact when they talk or do something that is disrespectful; instead make them understand in a firm manner. Well, there would be many instances initially when your child could show disrespect. In such situations, do not give into their provocation. Children can endure anything unpleasant to get a reaction from you. So, instead of losing your temper, make them understand that this is not the way they should behave, strong and firmly. Show them that you are really serious while saying this statement. Tell them that it is really inappropriate to say such things to the family or to anyone outside. Make them understand that if they require something, they should ask politely. Also, demonstrate the polite manner that should have been used instead of their disrespectful means.
  4. The difference in opinions and disagreements do not always mean that they have to be communicated disrespectfully.  Life would have been utopian if children are always calibrated with us; however, that does not happen in reality. Remember, whenever they are not agreeing with you, it’s not being disrespectful; it is just a difference of opinion. Our job here is to educate them how not to lose temper and show disagreement gracefully without being impolite.”
  5. Sometimes it is just their expression that is coming disrespectfully. You need to explain to them that there is a way to express scorn and if they want something they need to ask in polite and decent manner. As their verbal skills mature, they are more likely to come up with a better choice of words. For example – If they are irritated of you for not taking them to park, they might come up saying “You never take me out, you are a bad mommy!” Explain to them that they should always put it across in a different and polite manner such as, “Can we go out to the park, after you are through with your important work?”
  6. Sometimes it is just their expression that is coming disrespectfully.  When with children, you often have to experience their fits especially when at public places. The best way to mitigate such incidents is to be assertive and firm in maintaining discipline at all times. For example – You go to a grocery store and your kid starts throwing tantrums, making the shopping an excessively irritating exercise for you. In such a scenario, firmly take her to the car and wait out, till the time she gets calm and is ready to try again. Politely ask them if they are ready to try the grocery shopping again. This will make them understand that this is something very important and cannot be done away with. Chances are that they will not repeat it, the next time.

Especially, when dealing with a problematic and stubborn child, the most important part of training behavioral skills is getting them to listen to you. Teaching refined manners and polite way to communicate takes a lot of patience and persistence. As parents, teachers, and caregivers we should always keep in mind that it takes years to build their manners and only moments to fill them up with resentment and bitterness.    Share with us some of the tactics you use to enhance your children’s or students’ behavioural skills? Drop your comments here.


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