Educating children on respectful relationships

Building strong relationships with others is an important life skill and necessary to being an active member of society.

Everything we do from shopping at the supermarket to working in a professional setting all requires some level of skill of communicating with others and developing relationships. This includes being able to interact with others in a respectful way and treating everyone as equals regardless of their gender.

So, how do we promote and teach our children on how to not only be respectful, but also stand up for themselves when others aren’t respectful towards them?

What is Respectful Relationships?

The Department of Education has implemented a ‘Respectful Relationships’ framework to support all schools and early learning settings to promote respectful relationships at the beginning of a child’s learning and development to help build brighter futures for our children.

It’s all about teaching children the fundamentals of having relationships with others that are non-violent, equal, mutually respecting and trusting in the hopes of improving current circumstances in the long-term.

So, how can you help further your child’s learning and development at home?

Start the conversation

Children are great at already having an understanding on what’s happening around them, so starting the conversation about what is and isn’t respectful in relationships is incredibly important.

They may be witnessing, or even experiencing, relationships that aren’t respectful and don’t know that it isn’t appropriate. Starting the conversation early in their life is essential to ensuring that your child knows the boundaries surrounding the relationships they have with others.

Set an example

It’s no surprise that kids pick up a lot of their behaviour, mannerisms and beliefs from the adults in their life, so the best way to set the expectation of respectful relationships is by modelling them yourself. So, be mindful of how you interact with your partner, friends and family because your child is learning how to interact and form relationships from you!

Ask for help if you need it

Lastly, if you’re struggling with anything at all, there are resources that you can use to support you through it. Whether you’re finding it difficult to teach your child about respectful relationships or stuck in a relationship that isn’t respectful, reach out to your network, school or government support.

If we all work together, we can change our relationships to be more equal, harmonious and respectful in the future.

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