Understanding Disrespectful Kids: How To Get Respect From Your Child

understanding disrespectful kids

Do your kids disrespect you? Whatever Happened to Respecting Your Parents? Nowadays, “Honor thy father and mother” is just a suggestion. Here’s how to get respect from your children?

Respecting Your Parents

Inside the Reconnection Club, my online school for parents of estranged adult children, a member recently posted this comment:

“As a Baby Boomer, I was raised to respect our elders. Now I hear ‘Respect has to be earned.’”

I often hear variations on that lament from estranged parents, and understandably so. They’re confused and frustrated with their adult children’s apparent disregard for the basic rules of social conduct that the parents learned when they were children… and could have sworn they passed along.

Don’t Let Anyone Get Comfortable Disrespecting.

It’s especially confusing when we realize that, in reality, respect has always had to be earned. But in the olden days, we showed respect even when we didn’t feel it, and when it hadn’t been earned through respectable behavior.

The question of respecting parents (“Honor thy father and thy mother,” in Biblical terms) arises in part because of the ever-present confusion in our society between behavior and emotion.

Is respect something we do? Or is it something we feel?

Related: How To Build Resilience In Children Who Have A Low Tolerance For Frustration

The Appearance Of Respect

It may or may not be obvious that respect can be both an action and a feeling. And lately, the two go together more than they used to.

In the past, we demonstrated respect for adults through language like “sir” and “ma’am.” We avoided speaking the truth if the truth might make the adult look or feel bad. Both children and adults showed respect for our elders, whether we actually respected those people or not.

Surely you remember thinking, even as a child, that certain adults didn’t seem entirely worthy of respect – from you or anybody else – because of their behavior. Yet you were polite to them because that was good behavior, and you wanted to be good.

In those days, outwardly respectful behavior toward elders was expected both at home and at school, and the message was consistent. With the exception of Rodney Dangerfield, adults who didn’t earn your respect through their behavior received (at least the appearance of) it anyway.

But respect, as a feeling, has always been earned. We can make ourselves act respectful toward our parents and others. But we can’t make ourselves feel respect if we don’t already feel it. Those of us who are very lucky both love and respect our parents. It feels wonderful to do so. Most children want to respect their parents, even if they don’t always manage it.

Today’s Youth And Respect

The difference in respect nowadays is not in the internal feelings of younger adults and children. It’s in their behavior.

For a variety of reasons, respectful behavior toward parents seems to be optional now for young adults in the U.S. They can get plenty of what they need without offering respect in return.

This can be infuriating to their parents, from whom young adults are freer than ever to estrange themselves – adding injury to insult. (Yes, that is what I meant to say.)

Related: How To Build Resilience In Children Who Have A Low Tolerance For Frustration

How To Get Respect From Your Child(ren)

This new reality suggests that the best way for parents to receive respect from their adult children is to first practice respect for themselves and others, rather than relying on the child to initiate.

This isn’t a new idea. Confucius advised, “Respect yourself and others will respect you.” Meaning that self-respect, and not just elder status, is required if you want the genuine goods.

Ralph Waldo Emerson came at it from the angle of being the change you wish to see in the relationship. He said, “Men are respectable only as they respect.” He was referring to the Golden Rule of treating others the way you would have them treat you.

Thomas Paine agreed: “Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself,” he said. This goes beyond respect to dignity, understanding, the benefit of the doubt, etc.

It’s easiest for parents if their kids show them respect, without the parents having to demand it. But when that doesn’t happen naturally for whatever reason, demanding respect is a sure way not to receive it.

Instead, follow the advice of the great thinkers who came before us. Be the change you wish to see in your relationship with your child. At the very least, make sure to respect yourself first.

Please share this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.

Written by: Tina Gilbertson, LPC
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission
understanding disrespectful kids pin
understanding disrespectful kids get respect pin

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

Child Parentification: The Cause, Signs, and Recovery

Clear Signs Of Child Parentification In Adults

Ever felt like you were the parent instead of the child? That might be child parentification. Let’s explore its causes, signs, and how to recover together.

The term child parentification was coined in 1967 by family systems theorist Salvador Minuchin, who said the phenomenon occurred when parents de facto delegated parenting roles to children.

It can happen when one parent is physically absent or when a dysfunctional family is under stress because a parent cannot perform their parental responsibilities.

Usually, this is due to a phy

Up Next

6 Signs You’re Ready To Start A Family

Signs You’re Ready To Start A Family With Your Partner

You want a baby, a little one to call your own, yet you’re not sure if you really are ready to start a family? Being a parent isn’t as easy as it seems. You can’t just wish for a child then boom, they’re born.

Before even starting the process of family planning, you need to first figure out whether or not this is truly something that you want.

While for some couples around the world, having a baby is their ultimate dream. That’s not always the case for everyone else.

Some can’t decide if they actually do want kids or not while others are already excited and some are straight up terrified. It’s also no secret that life changes forever when there’s a little one in tow. The question �

Up Next

Why Introvert Extrovert Couples Make Great Parents: 8 Compelling Reasons

Reasons Introvert Extrovert Couples Make Great Parents

You know why introvert extrovert couples make great parents? They’re the perfect combination of yin and yang. Introvert extrovert couples work really well because where one person lacks, the other makes up in spades. And this approach reflects in their parenting skills as well. They have different ways of looking at things, and they give the best of both worlds to their children.

In this article, we are going to explore some of the major reasons why introvert extrovert couples make a powerful team when it comes to the battle of parenting their children.

So, if you are someone who is in an introvert and extrov

Up Next

Zodiac Signs As Moms: Discover Your Celestial Parenting Style Here

Zodiac Signs As Moms: Powerful Parenting Styles Unveiled

Do you find motherhood as exhilarating as it is demanding? The zodiac signs as moms bring unique parenting styles to the mix!

Motherhood is a unique path where the 12 zodiac moms bring different cosmic energy. Our personality is shaped by stars and the 12 zodiac signs are therefore associated with certain motherhood traits that differ from one another.

Thus, fasten your seatbelts, and let’s venture on a whimsical journey through the world of astrology to find out who these celestial zodiac moms truly are.

Zodiac Signs As Moms

Up Next

Under The Narcissistic Veil: The Struggles Of Sons Of Narcissistic Mothers

Sons Of Narcissistic Mothers: Understanding Their Struggles

Having a narcissistic mother is, safe to say, one of the most traumatic things to go through. Sons of narcissistic mothers look at the world and relationships in an entirely skewed way, and this is due to the lessons they have learned growing up with a narcissistic mother.


The worldview of a young man whose mother has narcissistic personality disorder becomes skewed.

NPD is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance and a lack of empathy, among other traits.

Once one have been gaslit, they may always suspect the people they are close with may be ho

Up Next

How Men Suffer From The Lack Of Maternal Love And Affection When Raised by Unloving Mothers

How Men Suffer From The Lack Of Maternal Love

It is a commonly accepted belief that motherly love and affection are essential for the healthy development of a child. However, research suggests that a lack of maternal love and affection can have particularly negative effects on men.

According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, men who reported having a lack of maternal love and affection during their childhood were more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression and anxiety as adults, compared to men who reported having a warm and loving relationship with their mothers.

Similarly, ano

Up Next

Shadows Of The Narcissist: 9 Subtle Behaviors In A Child Of A Narcissistic Parent

Subtle Behaviors Of A Child Of A Narcissistic Parent

If you have been raised by a narcissistic parent, you know how tumultuous and disturbing your childhood has been. As a child of a narcissistic parent, you must have been through a lot of painful and humiliating things while being forced to mirror them constantly.

Growing up with NPD parents can have far-reaching consequences that can shape your relationship with the world and the people around you.

The first step towards recovery from narcissistic parents is understanding them. Whether it’s their early developmental trauma that triggers such behaviors or their fear of watching their children become independent, being informed about NPD parents mitigates the passing on of generational trauma