A to Z Challenge

Monday, March 4, 2013

Teaching Respect - Part One

Okay, so what do I have to bring to the table as someone who would write about parenting? Nothing but my own humble opinion. I am fortunate to be a stay at home/work from home mom. Because of that, I have spent many hours involved in my daughter's schools and outside activities. I helped a friend run a very large girl scout troop for many years. Just like most everyone else in this world, I have two eyes and two ears and I observe.

As I was plopping myself into bed last night, I started thinking about mommyisms, which can be daddyisms too, I am not thinking these are things only for mom to take care of, nosiree! It's just that these are my opinions - so my mommyisms. There are things that I notice watching and interacting with the kids at my daughter's school. These things I've been noticing for years, but it seems to me they are worsening. Somehow, parents are seriously falling down on the job, in my humble opinion and missing out on teaching their children about respect.

Respect, to me, is a huge topic with many facets, today I only want to tackle how children talk to their parents. This is where learning respect starts. If you have no respect for your parents, why should you respect any other person?

I once witnessed the most adorable little girl at the park turn into a little banshee of a beast. She sat in the swing, legs pumping, her mother pushing her from behind. Mom stood chatting with her friend, while pushing her daughter. The little girl decided she'd had enough and said, "I'm done. Stop pushing me." Her mom, engaged in conversation didn't hear and gave another little shove. That little towheaded cherub turned her head around, scrunching her face into the ugliest gargoyle grimace and screamed at the top of her lungs, "Stop pushing me! I told you to stop!"

My jaw dropped. This little tyke looked to be around 4 years old. I couldn't imagine any of my children EVER screaming at me, unless they were hurt or scared. The mom, still in conversation with her friend, stopped the swing, and let the child run off to play. No words of admonishment, no look of horror, nothing. It dawned on me that this is an everyday occurrence for this family.

Watching that unfold before me, I felt saddened. This little girl never said please, never said thank you, and screamed at her mother! How will she behave with her teachers? How will she talk to other children's parents when she is allowed to visit at their homes?

This is just one example. I see it all the time, children bossing their parents around and parents blithely obeying their child's demands, or looking embarrassed by their child's behavior but not doing anything about it. You are not their friend, you are their parent! Take charge and teach them a valuable life lesson.

I dunno, maybe it's just me, and I've already become an old fuddy duddy. Back in my day, (Yikes, I am getting old) I would never have raised my voice to my parents, and not because I feared a belt to my backside either. It was just something taught, something expected. Respect is a retro concept that I would love to see come back in fashion.

I have two daughter's that are now college age. You know that old "Ugh, teenagers," thing that lots of people say, with a roll of their eyes? I never felt that way about them. Not to say we always see eye to eye, or have our disagreements, but they are never sassy with me. Or, if they forget themselves and start with words or tone of voice I find objectionable, all I have to ask is, "Who are you talking to like that? I'm pretty sure you didn't just speak to your mom like that." Every time, they get a sheepish look and apologize. They have a boundary, and realize when they cross it. Now, this goes both ways. As a parent, I do not use a snotty tone of voice with them, nor do I yell at them. I expect them to treat me similarly to how I treat them, with love and respect.


  1. We were pretty big on respect too. Our daughter is 23 and we raised a polite, responsible adult.

    1. I know I kind of got on a soap box...but it's something that's really bugging me.

  2. I don't have kids, but my oldest nephew is the best example of a perfect gentleman. He is always kind and says thank you. I've noticed more and more parents let their children yell at them, and I can't stand it. My parents would never accept that from me.

    It's nice to meet you Millie! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

    1. I'm glad its not just me noticing this...drives me crazy. Nice to meet you too Ashley.

  3. The "ugh, teenagers" thing is the same with the "terrible two's." For my kids, that stage lasted one day with my son, and two months with my daughter (she is decidedly more stubborn than he is). When they threw a tantrum, I shut it down. And now people comment all the time how well-behaved they are.

    There was one time I was babysitting this two-year-old, and when his mom came to pick him up, he didn't want to put down my son's toy bus. His mom started tugging lightly at it, saying, "Pauly, it's time to go. Put the toy down." When she finally got it out of his hand (after spending too long pleading with him), he shrieked like a banshee, then punched her with all his might. She whined, "Pauly, don't hurt me."

    My jaw dropped, and when I glanced at my son (who was at the time a few months shy of 2), he was gawking at the kid like he was an alien. It was a super-cute face, and perfect for the situation.

    1. It's scary, isn't it? I find it completely bizarre that people give their children so much control over when they eat, what they eat, what they play, when they go to bed, if they'll help do chores, etc. etc. Everyone is trying to make happy children, funny thing is, these kids usually don't seem as happy or as well adjusted.