Teaching youth respect - Character Series Part 2

This series of articles will help parents and caregivers raise kids with character, including respect.

R E S P E C T is not just a song that was recorded in 1967 by Aretha Franklin. It is a character trait that is important for youth and adults. Respect is essential for building healthy and positive relationships with everyone around you.

According to Parenting To Build Character In Your Teen (Josephson, M; Peter, Val; Dowd, T, 2001), here are seven basic rules of respect:

  1. Honor the individual worth and dignity of others.
  2. Treat others with courtesy, politeness and civility.
  3. Honor reasonable social standards of propriety and decency and personal beliefs, customs and traditions that are important to others.
  4. Treat others the way they would like to be treated.
  5. Accept and tolerate individual differences.
  6. Honor the right of adults and desire of maturing children to control and direct their own lives.
  7. Avoid using physical force or intimidation and refrain from improper threats of force.

As parents, leaders and community members, we need to model respect in everything that we do. Youth and adults need to work together to become a more respectful society that listens to one another without judgment, treats others as you want to be treated, and uses manners, including kind language, to communicate. Examples of respectful behavior include calling adults by Mr. and Mrs. (for children and youth), saying please and thank you, accepting differences in others, and sincerely listening to our children (for parents, caregivers and youth workers). 

Respect is the second pillar in the Six Pillars of Character®, from the framework called CHARACTER COUNTS! created by the Josephson Institute of Ethics. These pillars of character are great tools when talking with youth and adults about character and doing what is right and wrong. The Six Pillars of Character ® include: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.

The next pillar we will explore together is Responsibility.

Michigan 4-H youth development programs help youth develop character through their 4-H projects and experiences. 4-H provides opportunities for youth to strengthen their character through exhibiting projects, leading groups, participating in events and so much more.

To learn more about how to bring character education into your community, read these articles:

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