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5 Rules for Teaching Your Kids Respect

By Jean Tracy, MSS

If you've been searching for a truly powerful way to teach communication skills to your kids, now is the time to make it happen. The family meeting shows your children how. Look inside for 5 important rules.

Let's pretend your kids, Jack and Jessica, bring up the problem Jack's having with the bully next door. As a family, gather around the table to discuss it .The family meeting rules will help you.

First Rule - Listen with Respect:

Children are taught to listen without interrupting. They must repeat what the speaker says before they offer their thoughts.

Let's say your Jack is afraid of the neighbor boy. He's big. He's loud, and he makes fun of Jack in front of all the other children. He calls Jack "shrimp" and "fatso." Jack runs home in tears while all the kids laugh at him, except Jessica. She runs home to be with Jack.

Imagine Jack actually listening to Jessica's ideas about the bully. Jack will even prove it by repeating her thoughts.

Second Rule - Speak with Respect:

Jack and Jessica will get the practice they need to share their thoughts clearly and with few words. They must avoid hogging the spotlight too.

Can you see Jessica, your chatterbox, give a brief explanation of her thoughts? As parents, you guide your children to listen, take turns, and follow President Franklin Roosevelt's advice, "Be sincere, be brief; be seated."

Consider pointing to a sign which says: "Listen! Repeat! Be brief!" You'll never need to nag when they break the communication rules. You'll just point to the sign.

Third Rule - Discuss Issues Respectfully:

Let's say the bully teases Jack every day. The bully's behavior and Jack's response are the issues.

Give every family member a turn to express what they know about the bully. Find out what they think needs to be done. You'll learn important information.

Watch Jessica as she silently looks at Jack while all the members listen to him speak. You've taught her to be respectful by letting him finish his thoughts.

Fourth Rule - Vote for the Best Solutions:

Each member offers respectful solutions. This keeps each member feeling involved and caring. Discuss each person's idea. Vote for the best solutions.

Fifth Rule - Offer respectful commitments:

Each member shares a specific promise to make the bully situation better. They're respectful because they''re sincere. The commitments are written down to review the next week.

Conclusion ~ Communication Skills, Respect, and Family Meetings:

How do the above rules teach your children respectful communication skills? Kids keep quiet while another member speaks. They learn to listen. They briefly repeat in their own words what the member before them said. Then they take their turn to speak. They express themselves with few words. How respectful is that?

Of course, you will need to decide whether to step in or let the children handle the problem. Maybe you'll talk with the bully or with his parents. Maybe the school authorities will need to help. It's your decision.

Can you see how the family meeting teaches your children family unity too? They'll feel bonded within the family and protective of each other. They won't want their sibling bullied by another kid. The family meeting promotes their love. It teaches them to become confident communicators too.

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Pick up 33 Family Meetings Kids Love Each meeting explains in step-by-step detail exactly how to create a fun meeting that bonds your family and strengthens character.

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