6 Ways to Raise a Well-Behaved Child

Raising a well-behaved child is important, but can be far from easy.

Cheryl Butler
5-minute read
Episode #410

As a parent, I believe one of the greatest compliments you can receive is to hear that you have well-behaved children. Even better, when you are asked, “What’s your family’s secret?”

In the 23 years I’ve been a mom, I’m proud to say that I’ve heard both those comments time and time again. I wouldn’t say that I have one big secret or a magic formula for having respectful, well-behaved children, but I think parents definitely play a large role in this outcome so today, Mighty Mommy shares six ways to raise a delightfully, well-behaved child.

Tip #1:  Have Clear Expectations

Children thrive if parents can have clear expectations for behavior and enforce those standards consistently. Consistency puts action behind your words; it shows your kids that you do mean what you say.  Determine what your expectations for your kids are on everything from how they perform at school to curfews, household chores and even things like using profanity and what their bedtime is during the school year. Be specific and then make the consequences equally as clear. For example:  If your tenth grade student does not keep his grades at a B Minus or higher, limiting use of his cell phone during the school week will be extremely limited.  When you are precise with your expectations you are teaching your child that his behaviors, good and bad, will result in privileges and consequences.  See Also:  6 Gifts to Help You Raise a Smarter Child

Tip #2:  Model Appropriate Behavior

We want our kids to treat others with respect and kindness but what about those times when you’re out shopping and someone cuts you in line at the deli or cuts you off in traffic? Are you able to keep your cool and grin and bear it, or do you fly off the handle and make a rude comment (loudly under your breath) to the elderly lady who pushed her way in front of you at the deli counter? Do you lay on the horn when things don’t go your way when you’re driving?

Remember that you always have an audience when your kids are in your presence (or within earshot of you!). We’re human so we’re going to get irritated and speak harshly or display a temper now and then, but just as soon as it happens and you catch yourself, stop and apologize in front of your kids. “Mommy is really sorry that she just got so upset when that lady cut us off in the store. Even though it wasn’t her turn, I shouldn’t have made a mean face at her.” By explaining why you’re sorry to your kids, you demonstrate that we need to be held accountable for our action. 

Tip #3: Be Affectionate Often

When a child hears phrases like “I love you,” or “How’s it going?” or notices that you stopped what you’re doing when she enters the room and is greeted with a loving smile, it means the world to a child. And even though they would never admit it, the same goes for teens and college aged kids too. When you display affection to your kids and other family members, you’re validating to them how important they are to you, which sends the best positive message you could ever deliver.  This in turn lays a solid foundation when you’re teaching respect and enforcing rules in your home because you’re doing so in a loving atmosphere so your kids will want to do things to continually earn your respect.  See Also:  5 Ways to Raise a Happy Child


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.