guideTeaching your child to respect authority is an important life skill that begins at home in the early toddler years with children learning to respect their parents. Talking back, arguing, issuing orders and playing parents against each other may seem cute or funny when your child is one or two but can quickly become annoying and obnoxious as your child moves into the preschool years. Teaching your child to respect authority will enable him to develop successful relationships with teachers, coaches and scout leaders as he grows up and prepare him for successful interactions with future employers, police offices and other authority figures.

Parents will find that teaching their child to respect authority is an ongoing process that will evolve as the child matures and continue through the teen years; however, the critical foundations for future lessons are set in the toddler years. It is important for parents to be on the same page and back each other up when addressing issues of child behavior. Keep messages about behavior expectations clear, short and consistent.

Use these tips to teach your toddler to respect authority:

  • Model respectful behavior in your home. Actions speak louder than words and children are quick to pick up on discrepancies between what their parents say and do.
  • Verbally identify behaviors you want to encourage as well as those you want to discourage in the moment. Messages are most effective when delivered while the behavior is happening.
  • Young children do not understand the consequences of their actions, but parents can help them learn this necessary life skill by setting clear rules and consequences. As soon as your child starts skirting into the danger zone, remind him of the rules and consequences. If the behavior persists, act. Calmly identify the unwelcome behavior to your child and state the consequences as you carry them out.

For more tips, talk to your child’s Horizon Education teacher.