Respect is an important topic to teach children, and adults seem to be getting less of it from children as time goes on. A lot of parents allow their children to speak to them in a disrespectful voice and with disrespectful words, and this carries over to how they treat their teachers and other adults. The other day a friend of mine told me about a new low in being disrespectful. She told me a story about children running around a cemetery, and taking flowers off of graves.
Cemeteries are uncomfortable places for a lot of people, and to children they may even feel creepy. If you take your children to a cemetery talk about it before you get there. Do not just talk about how you are visiting grandma’s grave and whatever your religious beliefs of spirit and body may be, but also about the behavior that is expected when entering a cemetery. Tell your children that they will see grass and open space, but a cemetery is not a park that they are allowed to run through. It is a place where people go who are typically very sad because they are visiting someone who is no longer living. Explain that people put flowers and meaningful objects on loved one’s graves, and that they are not to be touched under any circumstances. They need to walk slowly and to keep their voice just above a whisper.
Speaking to children before they encounter any kind of new situation is always helpful. They respond well to rules and boundaries. It may seem obvious to us as adults on how to behave, but remember that young children need guidance in new situations. Take advantage of these types of situations to create a teachable moment.