In order to teach your child to treat others with respect and dignity, they must also be treated that way. And childhood is a time for children to learn about the world, including how to get along with others. Parents play an essential role in teaching children how to form healthy relationships and grow into socially adept individuals. This social competence allows children to be cooperative and generous, express their feelings, and empathize with others.
The most effective way to teach children this lesson is by modeling the behavior you want to encourage. Every time you say “please” or lend a helping hand, you are showing your children how you would like them to act. Ask for your children’s help with daily tasks, and accept their offers of help. Praise your child’s good behavior and traits often, and help them realize how good it feels inside to do a good deed or be generous with another person.
Socially competent children are ones who have a strong sense of self worth and importance. When a child feels good about themselves, it’s easy for them to treat others in a positive, helpful manner.
Encourage acts of generosity through sharing and cooperation. Let your child know when it’s someone else’s turn with a toy or on the swing and praise their ability to recognize this on their own. Thank them for being polite and respectful and for sharing and cooperating.
Children know from their own experiences that words can hurt, and that name-calling, teasing, or excluding others affects how people feel. Children want to be treated fairly, but they don’t always understand how to treat others the same way. One way to teach fairness is to explain a rule to your child, pointing out that it applies to him as well as to others.
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