Parenting Vivian | 03 May 2011 01:39 pm

5 Rules For Teaching Your Kids Respect

If you’ve been searching for a truly powerful way to get your kids to communicate with respect, now is the time to make it happen. Let the family meeting rules guide you. Look inside to find out how.

Let’s pretend your kids, Jack and Jessica, bring up the problem Jack’s having with the bully next door. As a family, gather around the table to discuss it .The family meeting rules will help you.

First Rule – Listen with Respect:

You and your children must listen without interrupting. The next speaker repeats what the first speaker said before offering his own thoughts.

Let’s say your Jack is afraid of the neighbor boy. He’s big. He’s loud, and he makes fun of Jack in front of all the other children. He calls Jack “shrimp” and “fatso.” Jack runs home in tears while all the kids laugh at him, except Jessica. She runs home to be with Jack.

Imagine Jack actually listening to Jessica’s ideas about the bully. Jack will even prove it by repeating her thoughts.

Second Rule – Speak with Respect:

Jack and Jessica will get the practice they need to share their thoughts clearly and with few words. They must avoid hogging the spotlight too.

Can you see Jessica, your chatter box, give a brief explanation of her thoughts? As parents, you guide your children to listen, take turns, and follow President Franklin Roosevelt’s advice, “Be sincere, be brief; be seated.”

Consider pointing to a sign which says: “Listen! Repeat! Be brief!” You’ll never need to nag when they break the communication rules. You’ll just point to the sign.

Third Rule – Discuss Issues Respectfully:

Let’s say the bully teases Jack every day. The bully’s behavior and Jack’s response are the issues.

Give every family member a turn to express what they know about the bully. Find out what they think needs to be done. You’ll learn important information.

Watch Jessica as she silently looks at Jack while all the members listen to him speak. You’ve taught her to be respectful by letting him finish his thoughts.

Fourth Rule – Vote for the Best Solutions:

Each member offers thoughtful solutions. This keeps each member feeling involved and caring. Discuss each person’s idea. Vote for the best solutions.

Fifth Rule – Make commitments.

Each member shares a specific promise to make the bully situation better. The commitments are written down to review the next week.

Conclusion ~ Respectful Communication within the Family:

How do the above rules teach your children to communicate with respect? Kids keep quiet while another member speaks. They learn to listen. They briefly repeat in their own words what the member before them said. Then they take their turn to speak. They express themselves with few words. How respectful is that?

Of course, you will need to decide whether to step in or let the children handle the problem. Maybe you’ll talk with the bully or with his parents. Maybe the school authorities will need to help. It’s your decision.

Can you see how the family meeting brings your family together too? Members feel bonded within the family and protective of each other. They won’t want their sibling bullied by another kid. The family meeting promotes their love. It teaches them to become confident communicators too.

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