The 3 Types of Respect in Positive Discipline

Do you know what the three essential types of respect in positive discipline are? We'll tell you why it's important to keep them in mind.
The 3 Types of Respect in Positive Discipline
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

The fundamental pillar of positive discipline is respect for oneself and for others. For example, behaviorism insists that children must respect adults, but forgets the most important thing: that adults should also respect children. That’s why today, we want to talk to you about the three types of respect in positive discipline.

Respect is a rather abstract concept that’s closely related to one’s own values. People, and especially parents, need to reflect on this topic because it’s what will help us define our values.

Horizontal relationships: types of respect

Respect is defined by horizontal relationships; this means that children must be treated with the same respect and dignity as adults. For example, if an adult falls on the floor and hurts themself, no one would think of saying to them, “Oh get up, that’s nothing!” And then not bother to help them up. So why shouldn’t children be treated with the same respect and dignity as adults?

Types of respect in positive discipline.

Another thought-provoking example is the following. Would you leave an adult who’s calling you from another room in great need without attending to their emotional pain? Surely you’d go and see to them! So why are children left to cry until they’re exhausted or feel emotionally neglected?

What positive discipline does is to try to get us to recover our common sense and be aware that the end doesn’t always justify the means. In order to be able to solve different situations in our daily lives, we need to respect ourselves, respect our children, and respect the situation at any given time.

Respect is cultivated

Respect is something that we have to cultivate day by day. You have to put it into practice by using your imagination. For example, if your children want you to read them a story before going to sleep, and it was up to them, then they’d probably never let you finish telling them the story. They’d hope you don’t turn off the light and that you’d stay with them for as long as possible. That’s quite normal.

However, in order to respect yourself, the situation, and your children, then the most normal thing is to read them the story for the length of time you see fit, and then turn off the light and let them go to sleep. You do this because you know that they need to rest. You can let them choose the story at night and you’ll enjoy a wonderful time together, full of respect on all sides.

On the other hand, it’s very important that you look after yourself. This means that you should carry out small daily actions that take into account your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. These can be simple and manageable things that you can include in your daily routines, such as exercising, writing, hugging, eating something you like, or meditating for a few minutes a day.

The important thing here is to devote a few minutes each day to look after yourself and improve your physical and emotional state so that you can take better care of your loved ones. Sometimes we forget this and this is fundamental within the area of positive discipline.

The three types of respect in positive discipline

As we touched on before, we need to take types of respect into account. We need to respect the child, respect ourselves and respect the situation that we find ourselves in. In addition to this, even though respect is an abstract concept, there are specific ways to carry it out so that you can reflect on it.

We’re going to give you some tips below, but it’s important for you to take some time to think about how to put them into practice. This is important because, at the end of the day, respect has to do with the way you see the world and the values you believe in.

Show respect to your child

  • Accept your child as they are.
  • Take into account their stage of development.
  • Trust their abilities.
  • Always speak to your child with respect.
  • Listen to what they have to say.
  • Show empathy for their emotions.
  • Recognize and appreciate their efforts.
  • Take them into account in the family plans (considering their age and abilities).
  • Accept and respect their limits and their time.
Two women and a boy.

Show respect for yourself

  • Get to know and value yourself.
  • Have your own identity.
  • Dedicate quality time to yourself.
  • Look after yourself.
  • Be clear about your limits.
  • Value your priorities.
  • Be firm, but kind at the same time.
  • Don’t allow anyone to attack or bully you.
  • Do what you say and be consistent in your actions and words.

Show respect for the situation

  • Your actions shouldn’t put you and others at risk.
  • Act according to the rules you’ve established in the situation or area that you’re in.
  • Differentiate between what you want to do and what you need to do.

Now that you know what the three types of respect in the positive discipline are, you can implement them in your own life and your family life. It’s vital that you find a harmonious balance, and we hope you’re able to put it into practice in your family soon.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Lorenzo, V. (2020) Crecer Juntos. Yoga y disciplina positiva para afrontar los retos de la educación. Editorial: Planeta.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.