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Teaching Kids to Respect Their Teachers


Remember kindergarten when your daughter’s teacher was a saint in her eyes? Back then the teacher knew everything. Your daughter adored her.

In middle school, well, not so much.

As kids mature and reach an age of discernment, they also learn to be critical. They might begin making fun of their teachers or testing their boundaries in new ways. As parents it’s our job to teach our kids to respect authority—even if that authority supposedly smells like cat food or hums out of tune.

Here are a few important points to share:


God commands us to respect authority. Why should we respect our teachers? Because God says so. Plain and simple. Respecting your teacher is obedience to God.

“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you” (Hebrews 13:17).


Christians should love others. How do we show the world that we are Jesus followers? By praying? By reading the Bible? By singing worship songs and attending youth group? Those are all great activities, but they are not the mark of a true Christian. Can you guess what is? Loving others—including your teachers.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).


We all have flaws. Whenever your child is tempted to point out a habit or character trait she dislikes about her teacher, gently remind her that no one is perfect, yet God loves us all. Encourage her to accept her teacher’s human faults just as God accepts her own.

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7).


Pray! Perhaps your daughter feels her teacher treats her poorly. In that case, you may need to consider addressing the issue with school administrators. But first spend some time with your daughter in prayer, asking God to give you both wisdom and strength to forgive. Then ask God to bless and equip the teacher to guide students in an honorable way.

“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28).


Throughout the school year, keep an open line of communication between you, your daughter, and her teachers. And be aware of how you represent God in each of those relationships. The best way to teach respect is by example!

What to Do When Friends Are Unkind

Girls. They’re smart and fun and creative and sweet.


And not so sweet—sometimes.


Ask any woman who’s been through middle school and she’ll tell you girls can be catty, critical and downright mean to each other at times. The tween years are a prime season for developing close friendships, but even the best of friends will sometimes stumble through spats or judgment slips.


So what’s a girl to do when friends are unkind? Here are some tips for guiding your daughter through rough patches.


  1. We all have bad days and grumpy moods. Encourage your daughter to give her friend the benefit of the doubt and always forgive an unkind word or action. Why? Because Jesus forgives us. And He commands us to do the same for others.

    “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

  2. One of the best ways to repair a rift in a friendship is to pray about it. Your daughter can ask God to instill more kindness, selflessness, patience and forgiveness in her own heart first, then also her friend’s. As a bonus, she may discover it’s harder to stay mad at someone she’s asking God to bless.

    “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:28)


  1. Examine yourself. So your friend was unkind, but what part did you play (if any)? Did you do or say something to upset her? Have you been a good friend lately? Be careful not to suggest your daughter is to blame anytime someone is mean to her (that is NOT the lesson we’re going for here), but do encourage her to consider what Jesus says in Scripture:

    “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:4)

  2. Confront—kindly. Help your daughter muster the courage to address the problem directly with her friend. Not in anger or by playing the victim, but simply by explaining how the friend’s behavior made her feel. Sometimes girls don’t even realize what they said or did was hurtful. It’s much better to get it out in the open than to let hurt feelings fester.

    “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” (Matthew 18:15)


Decide if this person is really a friend. Is her unkind behavior an occasional incident or a constant problem? True friends will love as Jesus loves. If your daughter has confronted her friend gently and honestly yet the mean streak continues or turns to bullying, encourage her to pray and forgive—but then let go. Her time and energy are better spent on friends who build her up, not tear her down.


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