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Teaching Kids How to Respect Authority

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teaching-kids-how-to-respect-authoritySome celebrities give us great fodder for what not to do.

In the news lately, there have been some celebrities who are seemingly unsure of how to respect authority. Interesting reads yes, and a reminder of why we need to teach our kids early on to how to respect authority.

Of course, it’s good training for later because disrespectful behavior as a grownup can lead to more serious consequences, like Reese Witherspoon getting thrown in jail or Bill Gates getting plastered all over the media.

One of our favorite celeb moms, Reese Witherspoon, was upset that her husband and talent agent, Jim Toth, was arrested on charges of DUI (she should maybe thank the officer for not letting her husband drive, we say). She was disrespectful (reports indicate she asked, “Do you know who I am?”) and got herself arrested for disorderly conduct.

Then, there is Bill Gates. This international mogul and philanthropist should know how to respect the authority of South Korean President Park Geun-hye but instead, Gates offered a one-handed casual handshake, which is basic disrespect 101 in many Asian countries.

Sure, respecting authority should start at home, but we also have to make sure that even if we are struggling with the normal at-home issues, our kids still understand how to respect authority when they are out and about. Doing so will ensure their upstanding citizen status now and later in life.

Top 5 Ways Kids Should Respect Authority

  1. Be attentive in class. Kids need to know the basics like do not talk while the teacher is talking and ask if they need to get up in or leave the classroom. Treat classmates well too.
  2. Follow school rules. Rules are in place to keep order and maintain safety. Kids need to understand the importance of listening to direction from grownups on the playground, in the hallways or in the cafeteria, even if said grownup is not his or her teacher.
  3. Do not answer back. If a grownup tells a child to do something or points out something that he or she did wrong, the child needs to acknowledge with a respectful answer rather than an argumentative response.
  4. Respect house rules. Everyone has certain points that are either acceptable or not in their house. There are certain rules that kids know are not okay (like jumping on the furniture), but they may not know other rules. If a parent (or that friend) explains that something is not okay, a quick apology and not doing it again is a respectful solution.
  5. Maintain decorum when out and about. A store owner may ask a child not to touch something. Someone at a house of worship might ask a boy to remove his hat. Even if these requests seem silly to a kid, they need to understand that these people are in positions of authority and therefore need to be respected.

Of course, all that said, there are times when grownups overstep their bounds—these could be minor or major infractions. While encouraging and teaching your kids to be respectful of authority, it’s also important to teach them not to fear authority. If there is something a person in authority is doing that is not okay, explain to your children to come speak with you about it immediately.

Well, at least our Reese did the right thing the day after. She publicly apologized and said she felt embarrassed by her behavior. Good lesson learned.

For more on parenting advice, check out poshmom.com

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