How to Respect Family Members

Respect is something often extended to strangers, like politeness, but not used at home. Showing respect for family members can require extra thought but shows great character.

Extend courtesies. If basic politeness is good for strangers, it's good for home use, as well. Remember to say please and thank you, hello and good-bye, good morning and good evening. These are basic rules of etiquette that, when extended to family members, show your respect for them.

Defend the clan. There's no need to go out and stir up trouble on behalf of your family. But when you're in public, watch what you say about your family members. When confronted with criticism by others, defend your family. After all, their bad traits, when brought to light, reflect poorly on you also.

Leave them room to grow. Respect sometimes requires walking away, even at home. For example, respect your sister's choices in boyfriends, even when you don't approve, by allowing her space to make her own decisions and being there to support her when they don't turn out so well. Skip the "I-told-you-so" out of respect for your sister and your family connection.

Maintain contact. You don't have to agree with family members to show them respect. Disagree at will, but maintain contact. Respect a family member's opinion, although you don't agree with it, by continuing to interact with that person. Once you've said your piece, though, you may want to avoid the disagreeable subject.