Raising children to become capable and compassionate adults requires teaching them respect and a feeling of good will.
1. Respect means having regard for someone’s feelings and rights. Teaching children to be respectful requires both being respectful to them and specifically pointing out when and how they could be more respectful to you. This means speaking and being spoken to without a demeaning, contemptuous or condescending tone of voice.
2. Good will means desiring what’s good for another person. Good will should not lead a parent to give children whatever they want. What’s good for children in the long-term may not be what’s most gratifying in the moment.
Ideally, parents can be friendly and respectful, yet, at the same time keep in mind what is best for the child in the long run. Reminding children to treat parents and others with respect and good will is crucial in preparing them for life and for having fulfilling relationships as adults.
When your child is rude, it’s best to be direct and say, “that tone of voice sounds rude and doesn’t make me or others feel good. A more positive tone of voice is much more effective in getting what you want and making people want to be with you.” Make sure you don’t give the child what he or she wants unless they use a respectful, friendly tone of voice.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD