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How To: Teaching Respect to Children in School

Updated on April 6, 2015

Love and Respect

Love and respect needs to be taught at an early age
Love and respect needs to be taught at an early age | Source

Where To Start

Gun control, gun control, gun control! If we had better gun control, this never would have happened! If we regulated guns more, tragedies like this would never happen again!

Already the gun control proponents are coming out in droves. Already they are protesting in front of the White House and other places around the country. Already they are spreading their versions of the truth.

This is my point of view: Guns or no guns, this still would have happened. How many children were killed in a day care at the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City? Not one gun was used there. How many children were killed at the Twin Towers in New York City? Again, no guns were used. How many children were killed in Guyana by Jim Jones? Not one gun used there, either. If a madman wants to kill innocents, he will find a way to make it happen.

I have been thinking about this since I first heard about the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Innocent children and teachers died because a madman wanted to kill them. Yes, he had access to guns and just happened to use guns. But it might have been worse if guns weren’t used – he might have devised a bomb of some kind and killed everyone at the school. Now, don’t get me wrong – even one life taken by a madman is one too many, and certainly the 26 young lives that were taken were 26 too many. But this man was going to find a way to do this horrible crime anyway. So, don’t blame the guns.

My husband, daughter and I were discussing this. We were trying to decide when all of this madness started. What was changed in America that these horrible crimes keep happening? We came up with a few different ideas.

The Ten Commandments

First, God was taken out of schools. Now, I know not everyone believes in God. Not everyone is Christian. Not everyone wanted to be “forced” to deal with God at school. But God belongs in schools, if only because the Ten Commandments belong in school. If these ten commandments were just taught as basic rules for life and not called “religion” it would help children to learn right from wrong.

With the Ten Commandments at school, children learned not to idolize anyone but God. If they just learned not to idolize regular people – singers, rappers, actors, and sports people – they wouldn’t try to emulate them. Let’s face it – most of those people are NOT people we want our children to idolize.

Don’t take the name of the Lord in vain – let’s not curse in school – it’s not respectful. Yet teachers are cussed at by students every single day in America. It has happened to me as I teach children as young as five years old! When I bring it to the attention of the parents, I am told that their child must have been provoked to say those words.

Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy. It doesn’t have to be a Holy day – a day spent with families and without any technology just for the day would work just as well. Families don’t spend time together anymore. If one day were kept “holy” families would be forced to talk to one another and spend quality time with one another.

Honor your mother and father – honor them, don’t be their best friends. We want to be good to our children, but we can’t be their best friends. If all is done right and you raise your children well, they can become your friends when they are parents themselves. Until then, it is your duty as a parent to PARENT your children, not befriend them.

You can’t murder! It seems that in today’s society we need this reminder. It shouldn’t have to be something a child needs to be told at school, but we do. Children need to know that life is sacred and that once you take it away, you can’t win in back like in a video game.

You shouldn’t commit adultery. Okay – maybe this needs to be put a different way, as well. Be faithful to those you love. Don’t let anyone get between you – love them like this was there last day on earth. For some it may well be.

You shall not steal. Stealing is rampant in many schools today. Children steal because they know they can get away with it. They are no repercussion for them. Yes, they may get expelled from school for the day, but to them it’s a free day. Children need to know that there are consequences for their actions.

Don’t lie. Children are almost taught that they need to lie to get along in today’s society. Don’t take the blame for anything, don’t own up to your mistakes, don’t tell the truth because you might get in trouble! Or worse yet, you may get your parents in trouble.

Don’t covet your neighbor’s things – be happy with what you have. You might not have the best video game system in the world, but if you have a roof over your head and parents who love you and take care of your needs – you have more than most children. Take that as the blessing that it is and be happy with it.

Corporal Punishment

The second thing that has changed is that corporal punishment is not allowed anymore. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that teachers and principals should beat children. I don’t believe that parents should beat their children.

I do believe that there is a healthy fear of punishment when students know that if they mess up enough they will have to deal with getting a swat from a paddle. Parents today will ground their children or put them in time out. But this is just a party for the children. They are sent to their rooms that have televisions, computers and game systems, as well as every new toy that can be conceived. That isn’t punishment. That’s play time!

Children need to know and understand that if they get in trouble there will be a very real – and slightly painful – consequence. If there are no consequences for behavior, what is to stop them from doing whatever they want? Parents have become afraid to spank their children for fear that someone will turn them in to child protective services.

I once talked to a woman from CPS who told me that no parent should ever spank their child because it was too traumatic. I asked her if it would be too traumatic for my child if he or she ended up hurting someone because they chose not to listen to the rules. She didn’t have anything to say about that – she just repeated that spanking a child was not appropriate. Children know this. And they know how to use this against their parents when they want to get out of trouble. “If you spank me, I’ll call CPS!” So the parents don’t spank the child and he or she gets to do what they want without fear of consequence.


The last thing that children don’t have today that was around when I was young is respect. Children have absolutely no respect for anyone or anything. Break a toy because you aren’t using it right? No big deal, mom or dad will buy another one – and it will be even better! Hurt someone’s feelings because they didn’t agree with you? Don’t worry – it’s not your fault that they can’t handle things! Didn’t get your homework done? Well, that was your teacher’s fault! Those twelve math problems were too much to do after playing video games all night and chatting with friends on the computer. She should have known you weren’t going to get them done. Mom or dad will fix it. They are my best friends! Get caught carving your name into the desk? That’s okay – my parents paid for it with tax money! I can do what I want with it!

Respect isn’t taught at home anymore. If we, as teachers, try to teach it at school, we get reprimanded by those above us because it’s “not your job” or because “it’s not on the curriculum!” We do our best to do what we can, but if there is no respect at home, we don’t see it at school, either. Children don’t even know what respect means anymore. There is no place for it in their worlds.

If children were taught respect from a very young age, they would know as young adults that you must respect each other and that you have to respect life. You have to respect yourself. If you can’t even respect yourself how will you know how to respect others? How will you know how to respect life? Parents don’t understand that nowadays. They are too busy trying to be friends with their children.

Change Needs to Happen

If we put these things back in to schools – the Ten Commandments – Corporal Punishment – and most of all – Respect – we might have children who grow up to be wonderful , law-abiding citizens who care about others and treat everyone with care.

© 2012 LaDena Campbell


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    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      prairieprincess - thanks for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      torrilynn - thanks for reading, voting and sharing! You've been reading a lot of my hubs, thanks for that! I'm glad you enjoyed this!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 4 years ago from Canada

      Justateacher, this is so well done, and so true. You have broken down the necessity of teaching the Ten Commandments and applied them in very appropriate ways for children. Bravo and well done!

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      I think that teaching respect in children is a great way for them to be more humble and to really appreciate the gifts and opportunities that they receive as an adult. excellent hub. Voted up and shared.

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Stephanie...yes...whether we like it or not someone he's to teach respect...they aren't getting much of it at home....thanks for reading!

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 5 years ago from United States

      As a former teacher, I definitely think that teaching respect is part of the job description now!!!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Oscarlites...let's get the campaign started! Thanks for reading!

    • Oscarlites profile image

      Oscar Jones 5 years ago from Alabama

      Wholeheartedly agree! how do we get the message to the White House? lets change our ways... lets start a respect your neighbor and respect others right to life and to not be harmed campaign!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Mizjo...I agree...we took God out of school and many problems took the place....thanks for reading!

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      How very true. Children do not respect anybody, least of all adults, any more. They are allowed to throw tantrums, curse their parents, refuse to help in the house, and their parents just say, 'he's learning to be assertive'. I say that assertiveness training has taken respect all the way to the trash can.

      You could pin-point to the time that God was first not allowed in school as the start of the degradation of our children. What do the blinkered, die-hard God-denying libertarians say to that?

    • catgypsy profile image

      catgypsy 5 years ago from the South

      I couldn't agree with you more! I am horrified at the way children think and act these days. I have to blame the parents the most, as they seem to have no desire to teach their kids anything about manners, morals, rights and wrongs...etc...all they care about is that Johnny is happy, no matter what! And they all seem to have let the kids become the rulers of the household. Great article. I hope change comes soon or we're in for a lot of trouble. They keep saying the kids are our future and all I can think is, God help us all!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Thanks for reading, Bill! Something does need to change...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Powerful message my friend, and I agree completely. Change needs to happen in families and in school; those are the most influential years of a child's life. I will leave it to the politicians to debate gun control; my job is clearly defined as a parent and educator.