Allan, in Oklahoma City, OK
Showing respect is not a natural gift for most of us. We learn the “secret code” that allows others to feel heard, valued, honored.
How do we learn it?
Some kids have great people skills and just get these messages by living with people who treat others respectfully. If you ask me, though, that is a lot to hope for most of the time! Teach these five skills and your children will have great interactions.
- Stand up straight. Body language speaks to us, even when we’re not aware of it. Want a teacher or supervisor to take your teenager seriously? Point out the difference in how they are treated when they face someone with good posture.
- Make eye contact. Even for the shyest child, making eye contact is possible and creates relationships.
- Use the person’s name. Ok, I’ll be honest – I think they should use a title as well (either Mrs. Johnson or Ms. Susan, whatever works for your family). But if using a title is not in your world view, still teach your kids to use a person’s name in the first sentence of a conversation.
- Find a reason to thank or compliment that person. This is not empty flattery! To thank or compliment someone we must really see that person and find something of value.
- Learn a firm handshake. Boys, girls, everyone needs to know how to shake a hand without awkwardness. That physical connection, however formal and brief, cements the connection.
Do these sound boring and old-fashioned to you? Try them today for yourself. The next time you interact with someone who is a stranger to you, or a person with whom you have infrequent interactions, run through this list. You’ll be amazed at what an old-fashioned, respectful interaction can do for you and them!
Our kids may not (OK, will not) use these skills every time they speak to an adult. However, they need to know how.
What do your kids do, when they meet someone new, that you really love to see?