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Respect - a way of life

respect; regard; caring; working; together; honesty; rights; tolerance; discrimination; honesty ;


What is respect?

respectAt the start of the school year, did you spend some time in your class talking about how the class would work?

If you did, I guess that you talked about some really great values like honesty, sharing and helping, responsibility, collaborating (or working together), organisation, and respect.

When you think about it, respect is probably the most important.

Respect has several meanings.

  • respectHaving regard for others. That means accepting that other people are different but just as important as you feel you are. Some people may call this tolerance (say tol-er-ans)
  • Having a proper respect for yourself. That means that you stand up for yourself and don't let yourself be talked into doing stuff that you know is wrong or makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Not interfering with others (or their property.)
  • To consider something worthy of high regard. That really means taking all those other values and living them.

Respect at home

Home is the place where you first learn about respect.

  • respect - knock before you enterYou learn about using good manners, like saying 'please' and 'thank you'.
  • You learn to share things like toys, games and food with other people in your family.
  • You learn to look after your own things and take care of other things in the house (eg. not jumping on furniture, wiping your feet etc, so that the house is a good place for everyone to be).
  • You learn to wait your turn in talking.
  • You learn to listen.
  • You learn to understand that you will not always get what you want.
  • You learn to respect others by helping with chores and not letting the family down.
  • You learn to respect others in the community where you live.
  • You learn how to talk to different adults in a way they expect to be spoken to eg grandma and her friends may not like to be called by their first name.

Respect at school

When you go to school you will have to learn some different ways to respect others and yourself.

  • respectYou will learn how to be a member of a class.
  • You will learn how to behave with teachers and other 'school adults'.
  • You learn to respect and keep school rules, which help to make your school a safe and caring place for everyone.
  • You will learn to respect the property of classmates and the school.
  • You will meet with people from different backgrounds, maybe different countries, cultures and religions.
  • Some people will look very different to you and your family.
  • Some people will behave very differently to you and your family.
  • You can respect their differences and expect that they will respect yours.

no respectIf people are behaving badly towards you and hurting you or your feelings, then you cannot, and must not, respect their unkind behaviour.

Bullying and harassment should never be tolerated.

And of course you will not behave in an unkind way towards others, including spreading nasty rumours or gossip.

See our topic Dealing with bullies for some ideas on how to deal with this behaviour.

Earning respect for yourself

Earning respect from yourself is probably harder than earning respect from others.

Remember those values again?

  • If you aim to be an honest, caring person who accepts that everyone is different, always tries hard and is willing to share and help others, then living up to your aims can be very difficult.
  • Don't give yourself too hard a time if you sometimes make mistakes. Mistakes are what we learn from.
  • Earning respect from others is easy if you live by the values we talked about at the beginning of this topic. People will soon know that you are the kind of person who can be trusted to do the right thing, behave in a caring way and respect others' rights to be themselves.

Respect family
Equity for everyone
Say sorry, please and thank you
People deserve respect
Ensure that everyone's rights are respected
Carry respect into all of your life
Take time to respect yourself
- Joel

Dr Kim and Kate say

Dr Kate and Dr Kim 
"Make respect part of your life.

As you grow older and move out more into the world you will meet lots of different people. We live in a very diverse society and if you have learned to respect others then you will be able to fit in well with that society."

 Check out the Related topics list under the Feedback button to find out more about why Respect should always be a way of life.


Outside everyone is different
Inside we're just the same.
Everyone has feelings.
How many can you name?
The way that you treat others
Is the way that they'll treat you.
So respect each other's differences
And they'll respect yours too.

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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