Mutual Respect between Parents and Children

Mutual Respect between Parents and Children

Last update: 02 June, 2018

Mutual respect between parents and children is fundamental. It plays a key role in the formation of a solid bond and a healthy relationship. It also simply creates a pleasant feeling that grows with the passing of time.

However, the path of respect can sometimes be more difficult than we expect. And when our child disrespects us, we often react in the wrong way .

When you’re facing a situation of disrespect, the best thing you can do is use the situation as a teaching opportunity. Of course, it’s difficult not to react negatively.

But we’ll get much further if we practice self-control than if we resort to yelling at and punishing our kids.

Parents aren’t born with all the answers, and children don’t come with an instruction manual. But today we’re going to help you prepare properly for those situations when you need to teach your children about respect.

And we’ll help you do it without getting upset or lashing out at your children.

Our most common reactions

When we feel that our children are disrespecting us, we as parents tend to react in the following way:

  1. Shock and awe. We remain silent and paralyzed in disbeleif.
  2. Negative reaction. We overreact out of impulse, which only tends to make things worse. This may include violence, yelling, or punishing our children.

We often make the mistake of demanding respect without clearly and assertively sewing it into our parent/child relationship.

In order for our children to learn and model respect, we must begin showing respect to our children. This means paying attention to them and understanding their feelings. 

We must take into account their age and needs in order to see things from their perspective.

This contrast in opinions and perceptions will help them better face the situation between you both, and move on.

Mutual Respect between Parents and Children

Dialogue is a key part of a good relationship

Respect is, without a doubt, one of the most important values you can teach your children. Respect is a mutual concept – we give respect with the intention of receiving it.

Remember, treating your child with respect doesn’t mean treating him as a superior, or submitting to your child’s will. It’s about approaching your child and trying to understand what he or she thinks and feels.

Dialogue with your child. Look for the right moment to sit down together and have a peaceful conversation. Try to find a time when you’re both in a calm and relaxed mood.

Most of all, maintain a positive attitude and look to understand your child and look for solutions together.

The past is over and there’s no going back. If we get stuck complaining about something that’s already over, it’ll get us absolutely NOWHERE.

Our advice for you today is that you respond patiently to your children’s worries. This will be the best way to show your little ones that you respect them. And it will also provide them with a good model of what respect is. 

Who better to teach your children about respect than their own parents? You may be surprised at how much they understand and grow.

Learn to make a difference

One of the things we should do as parents is learn to make a difference through rules. In this regard, the most important thing is that we ourselves be the first to respect these rules.

We must follow them and teach our children to follow them as well. And we must seek to do this without getting upset.

Below is a list of suggestions of how to make a difference in a positive way:

  1. Follow and respect your own rules.
  2. Be consistent. It’s important that you be consistent so that your children don’t become disoriented when you give them instructions. Otherwise, they won’t take your requests seriously.
  3. Establish clear limits and explain why. But remember, it’s normal for children to put limits to the test! This is a way to explore, and it’s part of their development. When your children push the limits, it’s not a personal attack. Calmly and firmly explain the rule and the reason behind it. Over time, your child will learn to respect the limit, and you’ll both have avoided unnecessary conflict.
  4. Recognize when your children are doing well. This is a key part to leaving a positive mark on your kids. Words of affirmation on your part will make them feel good about doing the right thing. Furthermore, it will motivate them to continue.

How to say NO

Sometimes it’s hard to say NO to our children when they ask us for something. You may be tempted to give in just to make your child happy or avoid a tantrum. 

However, it’s better if you fulfill your role as a responsible parent and learn to say NO when you need to.

Mutual Respect between Parents and Children

Don’t be afraid of your children getting upset, crying or becoming frustrated. And when they do, don’t fall into the temptation of tyranny. It’s one thing to teach them discipline and respect, it’s another to impose by force and mistreatment.

When you set firm limits and hold your children accountable, you send the most important message of all. You show your child that you love them and care about what happens to them. 

You demonstrate that you know their needs, and are aware of which desires should be tended to. Respect is a value, but it’s also a meeting point between two human beings with different points of view.

Discipline? Yes. Severity? No.

Your demeanor is important when it comes time to talk to your children about their behavior – and the motives behind the behavior. Don’t yell, and don’t allow the conversation to turn into a fight. If you do, you’ll only produce more disrespect – on your part and your child’s.

Raising your voice doesn’t give you more authority, credibility or respect – despite what many parents believe. In fact, yelling only instills fear, disobedience and distance from your children.

Always aim to speak to your little ones calmly and control your body language, tone and voice, and your words. Your example will teach your kids to respond in the same way.

When your child contradicts you or talks back to you, keep your cool. Do all you can to explain that the way your child is responding isn’t helpful or correct.

Remember that YOU are the parent and it’s your job to make a difference. Teach your child that there are more respectful ways to say things without violence, aggression or talking back.

Although these tips may sometimes be hard to put into practice, as parents we need to practice self-control when it comes to our children. If our reactions are aggressive, then we can only expect aggressive responses from our children.


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.

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  • Marrone, M., Diamond, N., Juri, L., & Bleichmar, H. (2001). La teoría del apego: un enfoque actual. Madrid: Psimática.
  • Moneta, M. (2003). El Apego. Aspectos clínicos y psicobiológicos de la díada madre-hijo. Santiago: Cuatro Vientos.

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