Raising Respectful Kids

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We often hear complaints from parents about their children's lack of respect, only to hear the parents turn around and screech, ''Stop it! You're behaving like a wild animal!''

Since children learn what they live, the first tip toward raising a respectful child is to teach through actions.

Dr. Joe Martin from KU Med School in Wichita says, ''We have to teach by example. We have to set the example. We have to model the behavior we want our children to do. If we want our children to behave well, say 'yes ma'am, thank you ma'am and be appreciative of other people. We have to do that ourselves.''

That brings us to the second tip: teach more than just manners. Things such as looking someone in the eye, and saying ''yes'' instead of ''uh huh.''

Number three: provide positive and consistent discipline. Be firm, but fair. This requires consistency. Firm and fair discipline does not change depending on your mood.

Dr. Martin says, ''Good behavior is not only to be expected; there are rewards for behaving appropriately. And that is true throughout life, you do well in your job, you get rewarded financially. You do well in school, you get rewarded with grades.''

Praise messages are not all verbal, either. An OK hand signal, a wink, a smile, a hug all speak volumes to a child who has just done something right.

Source: Elizabeth Pantley, author of "Kid Cooperation"

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