Teaching Kids to Be Respectful


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Whether disrespectful behavior plays out in the sandbox, the family room or the boardroom, being on the receiving end hurts. Adults and children alike feel the sting of disrespect. A study done at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, reveals that children as young as 6 recognize and respond to disrespect, often with anger. Parents and caregivers use the term disrespect to cover a broad range of behaviors, from failing to offer polite greetings to eye rolls, sighs and mouthing off. If disrespect is a regular visitor in your home, it’s possible to build more respectful family relationships based on empathy and mutual respect, says Tiffany Sands, a licensed counselor in Chapel Hill. Read on for age-by-age guidance on ditching disrespect for good. 


Early Years

Model Behavior

Many parents dream of peaceful, respectful interactions with their children that includes comfortable, easy, back-and-forth dialogue that flows from a solid bond. These types of relationships, however, don’t just happen. Respectful communication is a byproduct of a healthy relationship, says licensed counselor and professor Susan K. Gardin of Touro College in New York City.

“Young children learn respect when they observe respectful behavior and experience respectful interactions with parents and other family members,” she says. “Building a close and connected relationship with your child is the most important factor in preventing disrespectful behavior.”

Begin building a respectful bond in toddlerhood by listening to your child, displaying empathy and validating her feelings using phrases, such as “You’re feeling mad. That must be hard. How can I help?” Children raised with a foundation of mutual respect are more likely to treat parents and siblings with mutual respect.


Elementary Years

Respectful Roots

During the elementary school years, children may act out in ways that feel disrespectful to parents, teachers and other authority figures with actions like eye rolling, slouching and muttering insults. Though it’s tempting to simply dole out punishment for the misdeeds (“I heard that! You’re grounded!”), it’s vital to look closer at the behavior’s underlying cause.

Children behave disrespectfully when they feel they’re not being heard, Sands says. “Often, there is a need that’s not being met, such as the parent not spending enough time with their child or not responding respectfully to the child’s needs,” she says. “Or the child may be struggling academically or socially and doesn’t know how to express their feelings appropriately.”

Listening to your child, asking him for his opinions, and displaying confidence in his ability to solve a problem can help your child feel heard and respected, dialing down the chance of future angry outbursts.


Teen Years

Higher Ground

Teens may look like young adults, but they’re still kids — big ones, with big feelings. During the teenage years, those big feelings can fuel disrespectful shouting matches between teens and their parents or siblings.

“There is no right or wrong to feelings, and feelings can’t be disrespectful,” Gardin says. “But when a child is flooded with feelings, his emotional brain takes over and prevents his logical brain from recognizing that shouting isn’t going to help him resolve the problem.”

To calm the storm, help your teen flee the flood by calming her emotional brain. Strive to understand your teen’s point of view. (“Help me understand. Do I have this right?”) Accept and validate her feelings — even if you don’t agree with her — to diffuse your teen’s overly reactive state, Sands says. This can help establish mutually respectful communication and build an enduring, enriching bond.


Malia Jacobson is an award-winning health and parenting journalist and mom of three. Her latest book is “Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers and Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades.”

 

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July 2020

Kids can run the bases at the ballpark on Sundays!

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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
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Cost: $21-$31

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Cost: $11 for one hour

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Superior Play Systems
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View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
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More information

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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $15

Where:
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Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

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Cost: $21-$31

Where:
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View map »


Website »

More information

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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
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View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

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Website »

More information

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Website »

More information

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Cost: 250

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View map »


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Telephone: 980-292-1593
Contact Name: AerialCLT
Website »

More information

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Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $10-$40

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NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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Cost: Free

Where:
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View map »


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Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

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Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
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View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
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View map »


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Bring the family to hear live music in Davidson this summer! Dates: April 18, May 16, June 20, July 18, Aug. 15, Sept. 19 and Oct. 17.

Cost: Free

Where:
Circles at 30
Jetton Street
Davidson, NC
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River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Sponsor: USNWC
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This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
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Annual Guides

G.P.S. [Go.Play.See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2019 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

A comprehensive guide to independent, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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