Respect isn’t something parents simply teach. They must also show it. When you demonstrate how respect looks, you are helping your preteen become respectful himself. (Remember: Respect and obedience are different. Your preteen may obey you out of fear. Showing respect for you is healthier and more meaningful.) To demonstrate respect, be:

• Polite. Say please, thank you and excuse me when talking to your preteen. Don’t barge into his room, either. Knock.

• Kind. Don’t insult or be little your preteen. Making a mistake doesn’t mean he’s “worthless” or “no good.”

• Compassionate. Never purposely embarrass your preteen or tell jokes at his expense. If a story about him makes him cringe, stop telling it.

• Fair. Don’t judge or punish your preteen before learning the facts. Show respect by hearing his side of the story.

• Dependable. If you tell your preteen you’ll do something, do it. Earn his respect by proving that you’re reliable. Also admit what you can’t do.

• Honest. “Little white lies” may chip away at your preteen’s respect for you. He watches what you say and do, so always try to do the right thing.

• A leader. When you see poor behavior on TV, talk about it. Help your teen see how disrespect can lead to bigger problems.

Source: Steve McChesney, “Respect—How to teach it and how to show it,” Teach-Nology.com, www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/teaching/respect. Reprinted with permission from Copyright © 2009, The Parent Institute, www.parent-institute.com


Today’s middle schools—and working places—are filled with a diverse crowd. Help your child appreciate people of all backgrounds with these suggestions:

• Expose your family to different cultures. You might eat at an ethnic restaurant or attend a recital of foreign music or dance. Consider swapping holiday traditions with neighbors: invite them to your celebration, join in theirs. Learning about others will help your youngster build respect and tolerance.

• Find everyday opportunities (movies, advertisements, TV shows) to talk to your middle grader about stereotyping. Examples: Boys don’t like to draw; girls aren’t good at sports. Ask your child, “How would you feel if your friends made fun of you because you like to draw?” “How would your sister feel if everyone told her she’d never be gook at lacrosse?” Encourage him to look at each person a unique--just as he wants to be seen

Reprinted with permission from © 2008 Resources for Educators, a division of Aspen Publishers, Inc.