Raising Respectful Kids: How Do We Do It?


Filipinos are known for our respectful culture. It’s always pleasant to hear children say po or opo when conversing with someone older. We address an older sibling as Ate or Kuya, and say Nanay (Mommy), Tatay (Daddy), Lolo (Grandpa), Lola (Grandma), Tito (Uncle), Tita (Auntie) instead of their first names.

Another gesture we do to show respect is mano or pagmamano, wherein a child greets or requests blessing by pressing his forehead on the elder’s hand.

These are just some of the customs and traditions that has been passed on from generation to generation, since the precolonial times, and is practiced not only within family members but to those in the community as well.

Though we are considered to be at modern times, it is important to teach our children respect as it is one of the very foundations to which a healthy society thrives.

Here are some of the ways you can do:

 Be the role model.

Children are known to mirror the actions of us adults. Be it good or bad, kids conceive what they see from us as the right thing to do or say.

Words like excuse me, please, and thank you should be commonly used at the household.

Respect the time. Never be late for school, church, or his weekend swimming class.

If you ask them to reach for something, say please, and say thank you if they grant your request or shares with you his toy, food, or candy. See to it that being respectful is not a one-way act from child to the elder.

Never feel frustrated when kids don’t get it the first time or the nth time. It will always take time for them to understand and be part of their daily language.

 Fear is not equal to respect.

For some parents, it is a common misconception to equate fear with respect. The child might say, “I will not do this because Dad will get mad at me.”

It may yield the results we want in some situations but know that it is a mistaken belief. Respect is a positive gesture so it must be given out from a positive emotion.

We respect the elders because we value their wisdom and experience, not because of an authoritative figure. We are on time because we value other people’s time. We say thank you because we appreciate the favor that was given to us.


Talk to them.

An open communication will always play a vital role in your relationship with your child. As much as possible, set aside a time to talk to them daily and make it a routine before you end the day. Whether it be during your breakfast or dinner together, when you drive him to school, after getting the school assignments done, or before going to sleep.

Ask them how their day was, how they behaved at school, or how did they treat a situation that came their way.

Ask if someone tried to argue with him, how teachers treat them, did they share their food or gave a piece of paper to a classmate who forgot to bring his own.

Ask them, how they responded to each situation and praise them if they did the right thing. If otherwise, teach them what should be or can be done if the same situation happens again.

Help them understand that often, being respectful or magalang is a reflection of how we treat others. Let them know why it is the right or wrong thing to do by asking, “Would you feel good if your classmate does that to you?”

These situations may seem petty for us but these are big important matters for our little ones. And if we show that we are willing to listen, they too will feel important.


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