How To Teach Kids Respectful Disagreement

How To Teach Kids Respectful Disagreement

Going over how to properly teach children to disagree using respect and kindness.

Disagreement is a part of life. Agree to disagree?

When children are small, they will go through a fair share of disagreements among friends and family members as they learn independence and form their own opinions about the world around them. It is only natural to not see eye to eye with a peer or even a teacher and coach.

It is appropriate for children to form opinions and express their ideas and thoughts. While they should be encouraged to express their thoughts and opinions, it is important that they understand how to this with respect.


Teaching your child how to calmly explain their ideas even though the person on the receiving end of the idea may not agree is an important skill which will make your child appear mature.

Have you seen an adult argue without grace? It appears very immature. I see this kind of stuff online all the time, and it makes me cringe!

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How You Can Teach Your Child To Respectfully Disagree

  1. Teach your child to use a calm and polite voice when talking to anyone and everyone. Practice this at home, and talk politely to your child.
  2. Set an example for your child. If you have an argument with your spouse, this is a good chance to show your children how to have a respectful disagreement. You could also teach kids respectful disagreement when talking to teachers and coaches.
  3. Teach your child to listen to the other person because their thoughts and ideas are also valid, even if they don’t align with the ideas your child presents. You can teach active listening by modelling active listening.
  4. Teach your child about what is going on in the world. The more educated a child is, the more that can offer in terms of insight on a certain topic. It is easier to disagree respectfully if you have a full picture of the topic you are discussing.
  5. Teach viewing things from different points of view. Practicing this kind of empathy helps them see things from another person’s perspective. Seeing things from a different perspective can help get a more clear idea of where the person is coming from, which could help ease the tension or overwhelming emotions during a disagreement.
  6. Teach your child to respect other opinions and the importance of not insulting someone for the opinions they hold. Insults and name-calling should never come about during a disagreement. If name-calling does occur, this is a sign of an immature argument.
  7. Try to talk to your child about the way that politicians talk to each other and discuss why they aren’t always polite. Talk to your child about comments that people make online, and overall monitor their media activity. We must teach our children to avoid online bullying and teach them respect.
  8. Let your child know that text messages, emails and DM’s all need to be polite. It can be difficult to express kindness in a message, so teach your child how to word their thoughts in a respectful manner. Teach your child that people read in different tones so it is important to sound respectful no matter which tone the reader takes on. It’s a challenge and it may take some practice.
  9. Teach your child to stay true to themselves. It can be difficult to get in your own way when someone else is practicing something different. Teach your child to be confident in their choices.

Language Kids Can Use To Respectfully Disagree

Here are some ways that children can respectfully disagree using calm and kind language:

  • “I want to understand your point of view better. Can you explain to me why you feel this way?”
  • “I see your point. However…”
  • “I disagree, but would like to know more about your point of view.”
  • “I can tell this is an issue you’re passionate about. Can you tell me about how you arrived at this viewpoint?”
  • “Since I’ve listened to your point of view, can I tell you more about what I believe?”

Let your child know that it is perfectly ok to disagree with someone else. If you have multiple children, you will notice that they don’t always agree on the same things, and sometimes sibling rivalry occurs. These moments are the perfect moments to teach your child how to respectfully disagree with their sibling.

What To Do When Your Child Does Not Respectfully Disagree

If you are facing a child who is not wanting to respectfully disagree then there might be some emotional regulation challenges to sort through first. If you are offended by your child’s behaviour then there might be some positive parenting solutions for you to look into.

There are also some awesome positive parenting blogs you can read and parenting books that can help guide you through some difficult behaviour.

I am not a huge fan of negative punishment, but we all go through power struggles with our children, especially when they don’t listen. All these problems can be solved with some simple parenting tweaks.

Remember not to shame children or use too much praise. No one said this parenting gig is easy, but with a little guidance, I know you can be the parent you long to be.

Teach kids respectful disagreement by modelling respectful disagreement, that is the best way.

If you struggle with getting your kids to listen without nagging, yelling, or losing control, join this absolutely FREE ONLINE CLASS that teaches parents how to battle common parenting struggles!

Elizabeth is a mom of 3 and has a passion for helping children reach their human potential. She enjoys helping parents raise confident and healthy kids by explaining how to handle situations using positive and peaceful parenting.

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