What are my values?

Asset Publisher

Respectful relationships

All kinds of relationships

There are many different kinds of relationships – acquaintances, friends, best friends, family, companions, romantic, sexual, intimate.

The level of contact and connection in each of these relationships differs...

but the one thing that remains a constant is the need for respect – both giving respect and being respected. 

As parents, we value respect enormously. We hope that our children will respect us, that they will respect others and that they will respect themselves. We also hope that they will be respectful of their belongings, the environment and the law. 

Respect is showing that you value other people through your words and actions. You treat other people with care and you consider how your words or actions may affect them.

Qualities of respectful relationships

Respectful relationships are about: 

  • being free to be yourself

  • listening and being heard

  • feeling safe

  • trust and honesty

  • being valued and cared for

  • being able to make mistakes

  • being supported to make your own choices

  • being encouraged to grow, learn and succeed

  • being able to disagree or say no without fear of being criticised or hurt

  • working out arguments by talking and compromising

Learning how to put these things into action in relationships with family and friends will help lay the foundations for respectful romantic and intimate relationships later in life.

What you can do to help

  • Talk to your child about the qualities of respectful relationships. Point out examples of respectful and disrespectful behaviour in the media.
  • Praise your child for respectful behaviour. For example, “It’s great that you realised you needed to walk away and calm down when you felt angry. It’s so important not to take our anger out on other people.”
  • Naming how you feel when you are frustrated, angry, disappointed, excited, nervous, happy etc. is a great way to model to your child how to communicate their feelings in a clear and assertive way. Being able to communicate our feelings can help to avoid misunderstandings and conflict.
  • Help your child to be empathic – ask them how they feel in different situations and get them to think about how others might be feeling too. Show them how to read body language to give them clues as to how someone might be feeling inside.
  • Encourage your child to stop, think and then speak their minds in a calm way.
  • Show them how to ask for things in a calm, assertive manner (without being passive or aggressive).
  • Help your child develop problem-solving skills by asking them to name the problem and how they are feeling in words so you can discuss it and find a solution together. You might need to help them by saying something like, “I can see you are feeling frustrated, shall we sit down and work out what we can do”. 
  • Model how to seek clarification by repeating back what you heard them say, “So what I hear you say is…and I think that means…”
  • Develop decision making skills by helping your child to think through options and consequences before acting.
  • Teach them conflict resolution by negotiating with them on some things but also being clear on the things that are non-negotiable. 

I think it’s important that we model what a respectful relationship looks like at home. That doesn’t mean we always get it right. We make sure we show our kids how to disagree respectfully and say sorry when we make mistakes.

Parent of boy 11 and girl 12