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How rude is that?

Is your child not showing enough respect? Kanchan Maslekar on imbibing the fast-vanishing quality in children.
Hindustan Times | By Kanchan Maslekar, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 15, 2008 01:35 PM IST

Nikhil's parents often receive complaints from his school for misbehaviour.The 10-year-old back answers his teachers and is rude to his friends. He seems to respect no one.

In this day and age of working parents trying to compensate for lack of time, parents are continually facing this problem of children not showing enough respect.

Children need to be shown what respect is from an early age, say experts. Very often, cheeky and smart alecky behaviour is praised in children. That translates into rude behaviour once the child grows up.

Teaching them
Citing a common example, counsellor Jyoti Modak says, When a four-year-old orders his grandparents to keep shut when he is watching television, his grandparents laugh it off.

But the child grows up learning that this is accepted behaviour and uses similar tones in conversation. By the time he becomes a teenager, he orders everyone around. It is at the point that parents feel the child is not respectful enough. It is necessary to teach the child respect at an early age.

Setting an example
The best way to do is to set a right example. It is one of the most valuable lessons we teach our children. If you usewords like please, thank you and excuse me with your child, they will learn to use them.

By speaking politely you inculcate the right manners in your children. Speak to your child in tones you would like to hear from him. The best way to teach respect is to show respect.

When a child experiences respect, he or she will know what it feels like and understand how important it is.

Talking about right behaviour
As early as a toddler, the child needs to be told to treat others with kindness and consideration. Whether grandparents or domestic help, the child must be told to show respect towards people around him. Laud and praise him or her when the child behaves well. However don't rebuke the child.

The child needs to be guided and told why that behaviour was wrong and should not be repeated. Don't assume that your child will not understand.

Talk it out
Like adults, children also snapwhen hurt, distressed or angry. It is essential for the parents to be calm through tantrums. Try to find out what is troubling your child and help cope with it.

Value of words
Words play a crucial role in showing respect. Show them how words can hurt, anger or be an insult. Explain that the words have to be used with care and caution.

Action and body language
Even the child's action towards his peers or friends can reveal his attitude. Gestures like shrugging shoulders,moving body parts are considered unfriendly body language and indicate disrespect. Any rude body language should be pointed out to the child as and when the incident happens.

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