The most basic rule dealing with behavior for your little girl is always to treat others with respect. That means she should show appreciation and consideration for others. If everyone in the world would adhere to that rule, society would run along kinder and gentler lines. But one look at the everyday climate among people makes it evident that mutual respect has fallen by the wayside. The younger generation often treats its members and their elders with disrespect. Yet with a few lessons you can teach your daughter that respect matters — a lot.
The best way you teach your girl to respect others is by treating her and all other people you come in contact with respectfully. It is much easier for her to learn this important quality if you exhibit it daily as a way of life and expect her to follow suit. Tell her that respect is a two-way street. In order for her to command it, she must show it.
To facilitate the process, lay down a few rules that will encourage her to act with more consideration for others. Explain to her that it is not just the spoken words but also the accompanying imitations and gestures that can convey a lack of respect. In fact, her body language should match her appreciative comments and not disagree with them.
Louder Than Words
There are several universal ways little girls can express their disrespectfulness without saying a word. Root them out before they set in and become a habit that will be hard to get rid of later and could diminish her future success. The disrespectful actions include rolling her eyes, exaggerated and prolonged sighing, slamming the door, or throwing books or other objects.
One way to exorcise these behaviors is to list them on a Post-it note, with the admonition, “Do not,” and stick the note on your girl's bathroom mirror as a daily reminder. Even better, use this opportunity to reinforce your lessons for delaying her instant gratification. When your daughter begs for a new pair of expensive jeans, ask her to draw a picture of them. Cut the paper into four pieces and for each week that she manages to show respect, she can tack a piece on a bulletin board. When she has collected all four, take her to the mall.
Use this piecemeal approach only in a positive manner, not as punishment. You want to highlight your daughter's progress, rather than emphasize her shortcomings. Your girl depends on you to find solutions and use them, so that she can develop a good attitude and character, not resentment.
Don't micromanage your little girl. Her facial expressions and gestures are uniquely hers. Don't demand that she suppress her emotions completely, but do caution her about making overly negative gestures in public. Trying to be the center of attention with disapproving hand motions shows selfishness, which you want to discourage.
Another behavior that can become a problem at home, in school, and in life is a tendency to whine. When a car whines, it needs something — a checkup, lubricant, or an overhaul. When a little girl whines, she needs an adjustment too. Maybe she has learned that her plaintive utterances get big results, but in the long run, whiners are annoying and people avoid them. Therefore, teach your daughter to be a winner, not a whiner. She should delete the whine tone from her voice before it becomes permanent and brands her as a perennial baby. Don't delay your precious daughter's growth in any way, be it physical, mental, or emotional, or in her relationships with others.