Children Should Show Respect, As Should Parents

Child and adult's hands covered in colorful paintAs a family psychologist, I’ve found that a parental concern even more common than the ubiquitous Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is disrespect. Whether it’s talking back, having an attitude, or refusing to listen, disrespect is often at the top of the problem list parents bring to my office. I typically search for ways to move disrespect down the list.

Valuing People or Valuing Power?

It’s difficult to suggest putting the topic off until later because respect is very important. However, we parents too often fall into demanding respect and forcing children to comply. With threats, punishment, shaming, bribes, and rewards, we use various forms of our power to get kids to respect authority. Our success has been our downfall. We’ve unwittingly taught kids to respect the power and control of authority, losing sight of the more important goal of respecting relationships and respecting each other as individuals.

We’ve taught kids to value power and control so much that they want it for themselves. When kids set out to gain this elevated standing, power struggles with their parents can grow. This explains a phenomenon I observe in my office: the more a parent identifies with power and control, the more likely they are locked in protracted conflict with one or more of their children.

As a counselor, respect for power and authority typically is not at the top of my list. We need to demonstrate respect for each other and for relationships, not for power and control. We need to win children’s respect, not try to demand or force it. Coercing respect might bring compliance but it doesn’t build true respect for each other. Respect is won by giving it and earned by acknowledgement of innate worth and equality. Children are our equals, not in skill or knowledge, but in human dignity. We should treat them as such.

Modeling Respect

Gaining children’s respect begins with treating them respectfully and focusing on the relationship. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Strive for cooperation, not compliance. Cooperation connotes mutual consideration and the freedom to contribute one’s opinion and influence. Compliance can be mindless submission and always requires less investment from the child.
  2. In general, don’t do for a child what the child can do for him/herself. Undue service is disrespectful.
  3. Be consistent in your expectations. Being lax one day and firm the next shows disrespect for the relationship—it demonstrates that your mood and energy level come before the parent/child relationship in importance.
  4. Separate the deed from the doer, stay problem focused, and work toward agreements via discussion.
  5. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Follow through. Respect kids enough to know they understand the issue. They don’t need repeated reminders, repeated explanations, or threats.
  6. State the problem as a social problem. Note how the problem detracts from intimacy and enjoyment of each other, and then ask for help in solving the difficulty. “When you two fight in the car, I don’t enjoy being with you and I don’t feel like taking you with me next time. What should we do about this?”
  7. Don’t talk down to children. Get rid of the cartoon voice and show genuine emotion.

© Copyright 2008 by John Petersen, Psy.D.. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Amyhop

    June 9th, 2008 at 4:29 AM

    This is so true! I see so many people who give absolutely no respect to their children yet demand it from them in return. How are children ever to learn how to give respect when they are never shown that themselves?

  • D

    January 27th, 2019 at 3:08 PM

    I recently got my mother mad at me she screamed at me during a game night we were doing after she had told me. “No just stop thinking that way and shut up”. So I retaliated with the same response and she flipped her lid and threatened me and told me she wants me to get out… no respect and I just snapped. It’s been an ongoing thing then she accused me of always yelling at her… and I never to very rarely yell you have to do something really harsh to make me yell. Well I apologized and she just sat there and ignored me as if I wasn’t there… ruined the night for everyone who showed up. I feel it was my fault, but I also feel like I’m tired of being told to be respectful when she is so utterly disrespectful to me.

  • Kaitlyn

    May 17th, 2020 at 7:14 PM

    I can relate to this so much. My mom shows no respect towards me while she demands I show respect to her. The other day me and my sister were fighting and my sister attempted to pour a glass of water on me, when I tried to stop her and push the glass of water away from my head my mom thought I was trying to pour the glass of water on my sisters head even though I never intended to pour the water on my sister. This led to my mom purposely pouring the water on top of my head, even after I explained what happened. Since I was angry, I went and refilled the cup of water and poured it on my mother the same way she did to me. She then yelled, told me I had no respect for her and then she told me to go to bed since it was pretty late anyway. I think it is very important for parents to show respect towards their children and I also think it is equally as important as a child showing respect towards their parents but, how do parents expect their children to respect them if the parents don’t show the same respects towards their children? It never made sense to me since children learn from their parents and parents are role models that influence the childs behavior.

  • Curtis Y.

    January 29th, 2019 at 5:39 PM

    I totally agree with all said, my question is, when the parent has modeled all the positive, resourcefulness, done all the things suggested that should be done, and the 21 year old son is disrespectful in every way towards his mother, uncles and other family members, what would you suggest in a situation like this ?? I know there are many important factors that has a impact on any answers, just using the criteria I stated, is there anything effective that could be tried ?? Thank you all for any responses I receive, I’m very grateful.

  • Kyle

    June 10th, 2008 at 9:13 AM

    I am so glad to hear that this drives you as crazy as it does me. I see so many “adults” who act more like children than their own children do and that is sad! Children deserve the same amount of respect as do adults and they will never learn how to give this to others if they are never shown that by those role models in their own lives!

  • Mohamed M

    December 22nd, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    kyle, EVEN IF YOU HAD A GOOD OR BAD CHILDHOOD THEY’RE YOUR PARENTS, when your mum was giving birth to you did you ever think of the pain she felt, did you ever have any good times with them, they’re trying so hard and striving till the day you grow up and can stand on your feet. You see ever parent has this natural feeling to care for thier child, GOD gave them this feeling. YOU SHOULD RESPECT THEM, go ask people without parents and ask them how much they want thier parents back. OVERALL you should show kindness to your parents always and never attitude. show respect to people older tham you as they have more knowledge of life than you. If you want to search youtube soldierofallah2 your mother and then your father. If your a person whos willing to see what the QURAN says about parents then search google its up to you

  • JayShaun R

    July 26th, 2015 at 2:16 PM

    Actually it wasn’t Kyle’s fault his mother was a pregnant with him that is no one’s fault but her own(assuming she wasn’t raped) therefore you can use that against a child. It’s also no excuse for treating child badly. The child can’t help that happen so no use holding it over the child we aren’t slaves that are forever in debt to our parents

  • Box

    June 27th, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    the parent is this even in question? My mother physically abused me, yet some of you think I should still treat her with respect. I will treat her with more respect then she ever treated me. I believe in God, and in the Bible it says that we are to to respect our authority, but it also says that God views us all as equal, and we are to strive to be as Jesus was. So I have no problem with treating my father with respect, but I will also treat him with as much respect as he treats me. It has come to my attention that somehow because our parents financially support us it gives them a get out of jail free card? NO! What if they lost all the money they had and had no job, and the child made twice as much money as the parent ever made, and years later the child makes up every cent, does that then give the child the right to treat the parent with no respect? Like I can’t in the slightest figure out the opposing argument’s logic, believe me I’ve tried. So what is the issue with the child being equal? Certainly at least you can answer where the line is drawn? How much respect does the parent treat their child? If an easy line is not equal, then what is to stop the parent from treating the child like an object? A book for example, dusting on a shelf, and the only real time it gets attention is when the parent is angry and needs an object to throw. And sure the parent may read it when others are around for appearances but not really out of respect for that book. I wish I could politically debate those who disagree with me, because I really do feel that this is unfair, and I would be very surprised if someone can explain the opposing argument to me. I have a lot more things to argue my point yet.

  • Why

    April 3rd, 2017 at 7:32 PM

    Why would you say that? My mother swore to kill me when I was ten. I don’t think she deserves any of my respect, yet she demands I give it to her. Honestly, I had such a messed up childhood, I’d rather have never be born to her than to live the life I am right now. Yeah, maybe she was in pain when she gave birth to me, but she made that choice, and I didn’t do anything to deserve that pain she’s given me for the last 20 years. So, let’s see, 5 hours of pain to 20 years? I think 20 years is worse. If a parent won’t have respect for their child, then I beg you; don’t have a child at all. So, don’t you dare say a parent deserves respect, no matter what. Because how would you like to be afraid that your mother might just kill you for half of your childhood?

  • Kendall

    May 23rd, 2017 at 7:06 PM

    You shouldn’t try to tell someone how to log their parents. I’ve been beaten where I cannot sit down . This made fall to my knees and cry and beg for grace. Also coming from a black family meaning all of spanking is the only way when u act up. And it continues in family from gerneration. This makes everyone embarrassed and never want anyone them to see. I have been beaten in front of all my friends as a child. Like yesterday my dad dented the wall after spanning me with a leather belt. This dent made by slamming the door

  • James B.

    July 25th, 2017 at 8:13 AM

    Sorry, but that is a religious based approach and this is a discussion not based off religion. I’m not going to disagree but think about it from the point of view belonging to someone who hasn’t read the Quran and doesn’t believe in god. In many healthy families children and adults co-operate and they treat each other equally. When adults respect children, the child respects the adult.That is how you children grow up to be mature and independant.

  • upstatesc

    June 16th, 2008 at 6:17 AM

    And what do we do about those who never received this as children and who then turn around and give the exact same back to their own children? It is a viscious cycle and sometimes it seems that there is no way to stop that circle. What can we do to make that happen?

  • Scott Earisman

    June 16th, 2008 at 4:26 AM

    Good article. What is curious to me is how often parents feel “disrespected” when expecting kids to be able to do things that they aren’t developmentally ready to do. Examples include sitting still, cleaning unsupervised for extended periods, and following sophisticated social rules.

    If we only knew as much about our kids as we know about football.

  • Jillian

    June 17th, 2008 at 10:48 AM

    There should be a license to parent- period! This should not be a right but an honor and there are so many who do not treat this as a privilege at all.

  • ashley

    June 18th, 2008 at 4:42 AM

    What about requiring people to take parenting classes? But then what do you do if they fail or if they just do not show up?

  • Intelligentleman

    May 30th, 2016 at 5:38 PM

    If they fail classes, they aren’t ready to care for rearing a living being. If they don’t show up, they don’t have the time commitment to raise a child.

  • Cynthia V

    June 20th, 2008 at 3:27 AM

    That is just it- we cannot require these sorts of things of other people. That is not right. Neither is bad parenting. But we have to step up and give at risk families the resources they need to become better parents and caregivers rather than punishing them outright and telling some that they are not worthy of having children when they have never even had the opportunity to try.

  • Ashley

    June 23rd, 2008 at 2:38 AM

    And much of this could be prevented if we simply paid more attention to the things our kids get from watching TV. There are so many sassy mouth kids on TV shows that our own kids try to emulate- we just need to switch those things off and sit down together for some one on one parent and child time. It is thru interactions like these that they will learn how to not only get respect from others but also how to give that same respect back to them.

  • Margo

    June 24th, 2008 at 1:25 PM

    You are right about the fact that there seem to be way more negative role models for kids on TV and in sports than there are good positive ones. No wonder so many of them talk to adults with no respect at all. Those are the behaviors that they constantly see rewarded on a daily basis.

  • Austin

    June 25th, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    What ever happened to disciplining kids for showing no respect? I am not saying you have to hit them but there needs to be a firm line drawn to show them that you are the parent and they are the child and instill this from early on in life so that they will recognize the importance of giving respect to others.

  • Jiffylube

    May 31st, 2016 at 6:10 PM

    But what if its a well resected child but the parents didn’t get discipline and are spoiled rotten. That’s the point . everyone needs to show respect,on the TV,in real life situations, and even at home. The parents need to fulfill this need or it all comes crumbling down.

  • Anon

    August 6th, 2019 at 12:05 PM

    I am in my 20s. I still live with my parents. My dad once chuckled at me and told me he thinks it is “cute that I think I live in a democracy or that we are in some way equal. Your mom and I are equal dictators and you’re like the little peasant girl.”

  • Nikki

    June 29th, 2008 at 11:01 AM

    Because there are too many parents who are more interested in being friends wih their kids rather than being the parent. They want to be perceived as cool and do not realize what a disservice they are actually doing to the kids.

  • Christabel

    May 30th, 2019 at 7:31 PM

    I agree because, Children should be respected the same way an adult should be. There are no limits are no limits in how old or young someone is. Everybody has been a child before but not an adult , so we should be treated with equal respect.

  • Monique

    June 2nd, 2019 at 4:26 PM

    i also agree because;

    Why should we suffer?
    Why should we pay?
    Why should we do this everyday?
    We are tired of doing this everyday
    Stop child labour

    It’s like they don’t know how we feel
    Because our age doesn’t seem that real
    But we feel more pain than they do
    And for what they’re doing
    They should be sued
    We are sick of doing this everyday
    Stop child labour

  • Sandy

    June 30th, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    In the words of Bill Cosby: Come on people! We have to get it together for the good of our kids. We need to give them what they need, which is love, care, and discipline!

  • John Petersen

    July 3rd, 2008 at 8:44 AM

    As the author of the article, I apologize for this late reply.

    Upstatesc, your question of how to step out of the cycle of disrespect is very important. Someone has to make the first move, unless they show up for counseling together and decide to take that step together.

    I typically look to the adults to lead. Someone has to be the adult in the situation. That is not to blame the adult for the cycle, but to lean on their responsibility and good will as a parent to move first. The good news is that parents, even most of the parents commonly judged to be bad or troubled, are willing to make changes. Every parent has a value/dream of what family could be. We tap into that and point out how mutual respect and cooperation will give the best chance of getting there.

    Other comments have referred to parenting classes as a fix. I routinely run parenting classes and can say that all types of parents benefit from them. But parents take away what is meaningful to them and not always what you or I see as meaningful. All we can do is honor that growth and encourage them to continue to grow. That is all I can do in my own growth as a parent and would not expect anything else from others.

    Lastly, there was a suggestion to discipline children for their disrespect. I agree if by discipline you mean teach and set a limit. The limit must be your own limit, what you are willing or not willing to do given the disrespect that exists. For example, when my children yell at me or are rude in conversation (usually a conversation about computer use or television) I will refuse to discuss it further until we can try again in a more respectful manner. The limit is communicated by controlling myself (ending my side of the conversation/argument), not by attempting to control the child. We can teach them experientially that disrespect erodes our good will and interest in cooperating (e.g, my willingness to share my computer). If done without threats or dishing back disrespect, our children perceive rudeness to be ineffective. If we discipline with disrespectful tactics, they perceive the parent, not their own behavior, to be the problem.

  • runninfast

    July 20th, 2008 at 11:08 AM

    For our family, like the article clearly states, consistency is the key. Earning the respect of your children is never going to happen when they percieve you to be easily swayed and convinced that inappropriate behavior is OK. Yes earning respect is a job that you have to focus on doing 24 hours a day but in the long run it will make you a better parent and your kids will be better for it as well.

  • Sally

    July 28th, 2008 at 1:53 AM

    I have taught in the classroom for over twenty years and of course I too have noticed a deterioration of respect for others in society in general. But that is something I will not tolerate in my classroom, not for myself or for others. For me it is important to make that clear from the very beginning, to spell out my very high expectations for my students, and I find that more often than not they will rise to the occasion to meet and even exceed what I had set out for them. You show children that you respect them and their abilities enough and believe in them and they will live up to what you knew they could be all along. I think that with the respect issue this often gets lost along the way. Many times children simply behave as you unwittingly expect them to and if you do not hold them to high standards then that is the level at which they will perform, both in the classroom and in life in general.

  • John Petersen

    July 28th, 2008 at 12:12 PM

    Excellent point, Sally. Children often live down to expectations. We can show respect by expecting them to contribute as essential members of the family and classroom. We can also expect them to act respectfully as a matter routine.

    Coming on strong with threats about what will happen if such and such disrespectful behavior occurs alerts everyone we don’t have confidence children will cooperate or we expect children to spark more problems than solutions. We can anticipate and expect respect and cooperation, and, as you point out, it benefits all involved if we are clear about our expectation. Also, let’s be clear about what we are going to give. How often did we hear teachers tell us, “I’ll show you respect because you deserve it, our classroom deserves it, and I deserve it.”? Never. We hear, “I’ll show you respect if you respect me.” which sounds more like the code ethics among criminal gangs.
    Of course, we need a clue about what to do when disrespect comes along, but we’d be better off setting up and expecting respectful relationships from the start.

  • Josh Spurlock

    April 21st, 2009 at 3:53 PM

    Respect is one of those things best caught, not taught.

  • Alex

    July 26th, 2009 at 8:43 AM

    This is a problem I have long struggled with. I am 20 and live at home. I commute to college. My parents have always demanded respect, and the punishments for not obeying their commands have always been harsh. When they speak to me it is in a highly condescending manner. In their eyes, they know all. I have tried to tell them how I feel, but any negative feelings or disagreement with how they do things is considered disrespect for them. They have consistently told me that I am not to speak to them as an equal. I love my parents, but I feel that we are on a road to a more distant relationship than we already have. The saddest part is, they don’t even see it. They truly believe that they know me on a deep level, but the truth is, I am afraid to discuss anything with them that is more than skin deep. At this point I feel trapped with no way of improving the situation.

  • John Petersen

    July 27th, 2009 at 7:38 AM

    Thank you for adding to the conversation. You offer an adult voice to what our children cannot say, but would want to say if they could. Humans, and yes this includes children, are never satisfied standing in an inferior position, as measured by respect not by skill, knowledge, age, or any other measurable quality.

    Given yours is an adult relationship issue, I’d like to point out there is an opportunity to ask your parents for some behavior change. If they aren’t going to buy into the concept of equal human worth, they may at least be willing to avoid certain language or behavior that is damaging the relationship. It is a place to start. Then limit your parental exposure to areas where they are willing to agree to respectful treatment.

    Going for a smaller victories keeps you away from ultimatums and keeps some parent/adult child relationship going.

  • Dionne S.

    July 27th, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    Mr Peterson, your response dismays me. Instead of Alex asking his parents for some behavior change, how about him meeting them halfway?

    He says their punishments for not obeying their commands is harsh. Why isn’t that answered with a question about why he’s not doing what’s asked of him first before assuming it’s all the parent’s fault? Respectful treatment is a two way street.

    I’m not related to Alex.

  • John Petersen

    July 27th, 2009 at 4:25 PM


    Quoting you, “Why isn’t that answered with a question about why he’s not doing what’s asked of him first before assuming it’s all the parent’s fault?”

    I appreciate the question. The short answer is because his parents never asked. That was the heart of his complaint. And I had the sense that Alex was looking for some constructive pointers, not someone else to take his parents’ side.

    My response to Alex was focused not on the harsh punishment but on the commanding and condescending approach he perceives they take. His perception is very important and valid. I don’t have to blame the parents to take that stance. In fact, I don’t think I blamed his parents at all. Generally, I take the stance that nobody is to blame and all are responsible.

  • Dionne S.

    August 16th, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    Thanks for the clarification and response, Mr Peterson. I wasn’t taking his parents side either nor undervaluing him as a person. I feel that ignoring his own admission of not doing what was asked is conveniently sidestepping that. Responsibility lies at everyone’s feet, I agree.

    I should have addressed the question to Alex so I shall. Thanks for responding.

    Alex, why don’t you do what’s asked of you and save all the animosity and aggravation? Or here’s an idea. You don’t need to continue accepting the home comforts nor the rules. Find out what it’s like to be a grown up by moving out. Your parents may be glad of the break too. You’re obviously a smart kid. You could pick up a job no problem. You can’t control their actions so take charge of your own.

  • Alex

    August 17th, 2009 at 6:18 AM

    I believe you have incorrectly assumed that I frequently break the rules. Actually, is is extremely rare for me to break a clear set rule. The problem lies in a lack of communication. I feel I am at a point where I should have more control over my life and more respect from my parents. As far as moving out, this is really not an option. I barely have the money to pay for college. I can’t see any justification in abandoning my education over roughness in a relationship with my parents.

  • Anon

    August 6th, 2019 at 12:29 PM

    I find this to be an interesting place to be. You mention paying for school and not being able to move out at the moment. Of course that is, in itself, a difficult situation, however, it is another outlet for older adults to beat into the minds of the younger generation that we are unequal–that the younger generation is bad. That the younger generation is entitled, too sensitive, doesn’t work hard enough, yadayadayada. They disregard the difficulty of maintaining a child-parent relationship past the age appropriateness for parental ‘guidance’, likely pay rent, pay for their own schooling, work a job or two while studying, and couldn’t afford to put enough money back into themselves to start a life that is truly their own even if they want to. The younger generation gets no credit for handling the demands society has placed upon them. People are fine with you standing up for yourself until you are standing up to them. Just remember that you have to be with yourself for the rest of your life. Every decision you make forever should be made with YOUR best intentions for YOURSELF in mind. You are the most important person in your life. You are allowed to protect yourself and to piss others off in the process. Don’t be afraid to do so.

  • mary price

    September 9th, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    your comment about us as parents having to “earn our children’s respect, and “children are our equals” is totally wrong! Since when do we as parents have to tip toe around our kids and walk on egg shells, so we will be sure to ”
    respect our kids,” while they trash, and verbally,and maybe physically abuse us as parents. Children are NOT our equals. Children need to obey thier parents, and listen to what they are told. The parent has a good reason when they tell thier kids to do or not to do something. Of course things change, should the parent(s)be totally abusive in any way then I would agree the parent loses the childs respect, and love.

  • Josie Polanco

    July 28th, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    I believe you are incorrect. You have to set an example. But you also have to be considerate of your child’s actions and emotions. It would not hurt to sit down and conversate with them what’s bothering them. And in my opinion, I do believe we are just as equal as “parents” or “adult” because one day they will be an adult, a parent, a someone. I’ll im saying is re-consider about your decisions before you see your children drifting apart from you and you lose them.

  • Wendy

    November 23rd, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    The article mentioned ‘ equal in human dignity’ , not skills, knowledge, privilege or rank. It doesn’t mean parents condone disrespectful attitude/ behavior from their children. It only means parents shouldn’t be abusive in anyway or demand respect ( even worse if they do it by being coercive or overpowering) when they are rude to their children in the first place.

  • parent

    January 7th, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    i agree, children should be a equal and thats us as parents should. you also do get alot of conflict when we force respect through power instead of relationships.

  • Punck

    February 6th, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    Do not agree with you

  • PsyFy

    January 31st, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    Ok. I am 18 now, still in high school and about to graduate. I get good grades, i am in honors classes, i haven’t been arrested and don’t smoke, drink, or do any drugs. I have a job, but don’t make enough to move out yet. Yes i plan on attending college also. As far as me doing chores, i struggle doing them sometimes because honestly, they are like towards the bottom of my list(art, playing and making music, school work,, studying, friends, girlfriend, etc.) Also, i am a calm and collective person. I’m the type that thinks about what i say. and i also believe i am well educated.

    My mom is a lawyer, survived breast cancer, has been taking care of 3 children (me being the oldest) on her own, she is now married for the 5th time (she is still not that happy with it though, im not either). i believe she has been through alot and overcame alot, and i honor that alot. im proud of my mom and love her. but she can be very controlling, and when i stand up to the pupeteer (her), and cut off those strings (her manipulation, and control over my life), then she see’s it as disrespectful, and says i dont love her and stuff.

    I’m in the same exact predicament as Alex. My mom is just like Alex’s parents! She is very controlling, and if its not done her way, its disrespectful. Now i am not trying to accuse her as the wrong person in this matter but it is very overwhelming. usually when i am at school, i am like “man i cant wait to get home”, but now, i am not even excited about going home. when me and my mom meet a disagreement, its disrespectful because i stand up to my point instead of ignoring mine and believing hers. when ever i try and talk to her about how she makes me feel, i am always the guilty one in every conversation. when i do what she tells me but do it in my own way instead of doing it exactly how she tells me, it’s disrespectful to her. i.g.( its 2:15 and im just arriving home from school and i cant wait to play some halo 3 on xbox live after doing home work. when i come home from school, she tells me to cut the grass. its like 3:00 and it’s blazing hot outside. so i wait until 5:00 to cut it when it cools down a bit. The end result is that i do what she says(i cut the grass), i just do it under the my concerns, still focusing on what i was told to do.)

    also, when my mom see’s something as disrespectful, she blows things out of proportion, throws away her sanity, and says what ever comes to mind, satisfying her emotions. like i feel its really annoying and inconsiderate. im very concerned about this issue, because i can see the end result of our mother-son relationship. i want it to be great. i feel she needs to start respecting my judgments and decisions.

    there are alot of details i left out, due to the space i already used. but please help, and please read Alex’s comment above because it fills in some of my missing details. im like in the same situation!!HEELPPP!!!!

  • John Petersen

    January 31st, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    I’m so grateful for what you have shared and I’m struck by how respectful it is of your mother. As you say, she has been through a lot, in on her fifth marriage, and may still be unable to count on men to follow through. I wonder if she needs to be in control, be able to count on things, and needs to watch her back lest she be let down by men again. You seem to hint at this and you respect her position, and so you are more than half way there.

    If there were a way for her to understand your situation without defensiveness or feeling disrespected, you could then offer her a commitment she can count on but one that allows you some freedom and respect as well. For example, agree to chores a week ahead of time. If you’re going to cut the grass, you offer the day and time, so you have a larger voice in the matter (while still offering your appreciation and respect for her position). When you honor the agreement, you protect your freedom and dignity and she is not tempted to “throw away her sanity.”

    Of course life gets in the way and you’ll fall short at some point. A graceful recovery is the key at such times. Lead off with a gesture of respect and understanding, mention you’d like a chance to make it right, and ask that she trust you and stay calm about it.

    Catch her being good and mention what you appreciate about her and what she is doing. Note improvement and talk to her about the change you notice. Highlight and thicken the differences between fighting for control and cooperating to protect freedom and respect.

    Best of luck and, again, thank you for your wonderful post.

  • RKL

    May 11th, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    I am a married father with 5, ranging from 19 year old son, 17 year old daughter, 13 year old daughter, 11 year old son, 3 year old son. Your statement above all others caught my attention. May i ask you a simple question and offer you a pondering thought all in the same response?
    Would it hurt you to mow the grass at 3:00 when it is blazing hot outside instead of coming inside to play games until 5pm? Have you ever asked your mother, “Mom, when you were my age, didn’t you just come home from school and jump on a social media device (what ever you want to insert here for the platform) and ignore all chores until you were ready and the weather was ideal to do them? I would love for you to post her response here 100% truth no less. I to am faced with what you are going through, but I am your mother in this situation, minus all the pre-marriages. We adults like to sugar coat and blow-smoke at the truth of the matter when it comes to our youth today. I do not think it does you/them any good. Example-
    Son comes home from college, we are family of 8 if you count the poodle…there are things that need to get done on a daily basis or the household will be in a mass dis-array by the end of the week. He has a few chores that he is responsible for. Some of his chores, link to chores of others in the house, (his has to get done first before they can complete theirs) some of his chores do not. Lets use your grass cutting at 3pm as an example if we may. Here in Missouri it is hot during the summer. Son comes home from college 2:50 pm, doesn’t want to do his chores today, or chore cause it is too hot outside. So he fluffs them off until 5 pm. (its much much cooler then). So he proceeds to play video games until 5pm. Third child comes home, 1 hour 45 mins later than him, due to school let outs. Third child sees first child playing video games but knows that first child hasnt done his chore for the day. Third child asks first child, hey big bro, what you doing? Why are you playing video games before doing your chores like dad asks? Of course first child responds, “It is much to hot outside, i will do it when it cools down.” ****Lets stop right here just for a moment**** WHAT in reality just happened here and what lesson was just taught? Maybe you don’t have siblings…so same scenario, no siblings other than your father.
    You come home, dad expects you to mow at 3pm, its to hot, you instead play video games until 5pm when it cools down.
    DAD…is in the heating and cooling business, people depend on him to cool their place as not one likes hot weather right?!?!? 3pm no mow, 5pm mow cause its cooler right?!? Ok dads at work, man its a scorcher today. A older customers AC went out day prior, same day, what ever, customer really counting on your dad to get that AC fixed. Well, dad tells his boss, you know what boss-man, its MUCH to hot today for me to be in this customers attic to fix their duct-work, or outside to mess with the unit, I am going to head back to the shop and play some video games until it cools off. ****STOP AGAIN**** You can take out video games, put in ANYTHING you want, I was just putting that…***OK GO*** What do you think would happen to good ole dad? How do you think the customer would feel? How do you think the boss would feel or the owner of the company would feel?
    Here is the point – I am going to make this as easy as it really is and for some reason we have a hard time explaining this to our youth…
    The world/life is not always going to be easy. Its not going to cool down 85 degrees just for psy to mow the lawn. We parents see this, have shielded our children from this for the most part. Agreeing on responsibilities should be treated the same in youth as it is as an adult. As it sets the tone. We allow you to slack on respect/responsibilities in youth, it sets the tone for you to do that in life.
    Have you ever asked your mother about what chores she had, and what would happen or what she would endure if she hadnt done them as expected? We parents had parents too right? If I told my dad that I would mow the lawn at 3pm, it was to be expected. Guess what, come hell or high water i mowed the lawn I dont care what the scenario is that you throw at me. Why? 1)Respect- I respected my dad because he worked loooong hours to get me where I was at and to provide for me in a world that is harsh. 2)Honor- I honored the fact that he would want me to mow his lawn in the first place. Some people treat their grass/landscape as if it were a child of their own…(no joke) 3)Commitment/Trustworthyness- If I told him I would do something, it means a lot to me for him to know that he could count on me to do it and follow through, no matter what. 4)Self Gratification- I would mow and make the yard to be the best of the best. Take OWNERSHIP of having my hands in something that looked so neat. Not only for my father, but for myself.
    By you sidestepping your arrangement/agreement, you swipe away the very core of what our youth lacks today. Guess what though. At the end of the day, your mom still loves you, and I still love my son. I tell you what. I will start asking my son for his opinion more, valuing his input, you take ownership of your commitments and maybe we can start making the world a little bit better together instead of blaming each other?

  • Trace

    February 18th, 2010 at 10:12 PM

    i have so many problems with my parents because i think i deserve respect as a fellow human being, not a slave. I totally agree with the compliance vs coordination thing. I wish my parents had enough sense to try it. Great article.

  • Paul

    July 28th, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    This is rediculously true. Parents focus on “demands” and that they “demand” respect and feel superior to the children. How are you (as a child) supposed to give respect to your parents if you are treated like s**t everyday from your parents, and that they demand respect for you. Every parent that falls under those rules of treating your children like that should really treat children as other people… because THEY ARE. Burn in hell if you treat your children like that. It also creates depression within the childs mind, thinking they are nothing but a slave to the parent. Which is rediculous. Just remember, in the end you will be judged. The way you treat your children now will show its affect in the future. All I am saying is TREAT them like you would want someone else to treat you… that’s it!! No stupid “oh because im the parent B.S.” We are all human, all seperate people, all have emotions, all living on the same Earth. PARENTS have absolutely no power over the way the child lives their lives. LEAD THEM in the right direction. But don’t put them down, treat them like s**t because darn well they probably don’t do that to you. What goes around comes around.

  • Pulpo Paul

    October 7th, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    This is rediculously true. Parents focus on “demands” and that they “demand” respect and feel superior to the children. How are you (as a child) supposed to give respect to your parents if you are treated like s**t everyday from your parents, and that they demand respect for you. Every parent that falls under those rules of treating your children like that should really treat children as other people… because THEY ARE. Burn in hell if you treat your children like that. It also creates depression within the childs mind, thinking they are nothing but a slave to the parent. Which is rediculous. Just remember, in the end you will be judged. The way you treat your children now will show its affect in the future. All I am saying is TREAT them like you would want someone else to treat you… that’s it!! No stupid “oh because im the parent B.S.” We are all human, all seperate people, all have emotions, all living on the same Earth. PARENTS have absolutely no power over the way the child lives their lives. LEAD THEM in the right direction. But don’t put them down, treat them like s**t because darn well they probably don’t do that to you. What goes around comes around.

  • Robert

    May 10th, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    Good day! I have a problem with my mom these days, i do not know what to do. She always want to have my respect but i do not feel the respect that she is giving me. :(

  • Dana

    July 9th, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    I’m a teenager to a rather excellent home. But I argue with my parents often because of my tire from them doing EXACTLY what this article is preventing. Only my younger brother has been diagnosed with ADHD, but all 3 of us are siblings of the same parents, and they are rather demanding. It is rare to even hear a sorry for an overreaction. Often, when I argue a point that they might actually be wrong, I am told to stop being a ‘smart-mouth’ and that [their wrong] isn’t up for discussion anymore. I wish I could get them to read this. This is the main problem in this household.

  • Dana

    July 9th, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    Also, could someone explain these missing ‘rights’ of speech and opinion that I supposedly don’t have with my parents?

  • Ben Allen

    October 19th, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    I live in a suburban upper-middle class Progressive home in Wisconsin,
    and when I refuse to let my parents go through my stuff they start
    taking away priveleges and demanding my respect. It wasn’t even
    for anything like drugs, my mom wanted to go through some of my
    papers. I told her that I have a right to my privacy; she says I don’t
    and pulls out the parental trump card, “I am your parent and you will
    respect me.” The respect that was left shot itself. Anyway, my dad has
    done this too. How can I get my parents to respect my privacy and
    acknowledge that if I have to earn their respect then they have to earn

    P.S. I already go to a psychologist.

  • Savannah

    November 19th, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    I’m 16. In general, I have a really good relationship with both my parents. However, often I’d have fights with my mum. I suppose I’m not very respectful with how I handle it but I dont know how else to act because I dont agree with the way she speaks to me in these cases, with her angry demanding tone, and her attitude towards me and I just get really fired up. & she’s not even speaking to me that way for a good reason! I did nothing wrong to start with!! Then later after it cools down a bit, sure she’ll be speaking nice again, but firm, but demanding an apology from me, where I can really struggle to do that believing she also needs to make some sort of apology for the way she treated me. And then it fires up again & it just causes this big issue!! I agree that the whole demanding thing really fuels the issue quite badly!

  • Vivi

    December 30th, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    I just broke up with my bf because his daughter was disrespected with him every time they were visiting me. I have rules at home with my kids when they are upset trying to fix the problems talking, no screaming. But my bf’s daughter was swearing, fighting and screaming at me also! I decided to become a “teaching respect helper” talking to her, showing love and respect for her, but really teaching respect is not only the father’s gf job, also both parents are supposed to help, which wasn’t happening. He told me his daughter has EDHD but I noticed she is a real smart girl just need someone to listen about her feelings. At the end, I’m just a human being, I raised 2 kids now in College and I have 2 teenagers we spend all day together, a lot of work for a single mother. (Still sad since I love him.)

  • Dumki Dobeys

    February 2nd, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Kids are too dumb to tell whether their parents are telling the truth or lying. After long, it’s too late to correct the problems ingrained in their brains. Stupid people should be sterilized so they cannot breed.

  • Mark S

    April 7th, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    That is the smartest thing I’ve heard today.

  • j.M.

    October 16th, 2016 at 7:04 AM

    I’m guessing you don’t have kids. Or if you do, they probably hate you.

  • Abdulhakeem Shuaib

    March 9th, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    I’ll be 21 this sept and my mum still treats me like a 12 yr old boy. Always finding every little reason to shout at me. She separated from my dad before i was born and dis is the first time i’m living with her and her husband up to 8 months. now i cant even eat peacefully and my dad is also married to 2 wives bt he seemed to understands me better. my mum always thinks shouting and nagging at me is the best way to correct me. pls tell me wat to do, cos i cant concentrate on my work and my studies again. thanks, i’m waiting for your advise!

  • Maria

    March 12th, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    To Ms. Mary Price, you are a perfect example of a controlling and hypocritical parent. Before you demand respect from your kids, YOU need to show them what respect is before they practice that respect. Like the article said, children are our equals NOT IN SKILL AND KNOWLEDGE, but in HUMAN DIGNITY? Did you happen to miss that part, or did you overlook because it was inconvenient to you? Parents SHOULD earn a child’s respect. They deserve it just as much as you do.

  • John

    March 30th, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    all people are made in Gods image, and are equal at the throne of grace, children are oblagated to repect their parents has the Bible commands, but the parents have an oblagation to love, cherish, and respect their children has future adults, and therefore, however the parents treat their kids will be reflected when they become adults. all the world dictaters (Hitler, Nero… etc) it all started with what they were influenced with when they were children, granted it could have been friends, the wrong books etc. but it probably started with their family i.e. their parents. what ever the the parents tell their children at younger ages will be obsorbed and interpeted than consequently, used. What parents really don’t realize, is when they don’t give respect yet demand it, the kids don’t really get a good picture of respect.The dictionary definition is:esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: you don’t see alot of that coming from a kids point of view when he never gets privileges or respect from his/her parents. A related proverb would be: “if you treat a rose well, it will bloom, if you neglect it, it will whither and die.

  • Andy

    April 6th, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    My relationship between my dad and I isn’t good. A good reason why some parents demand respect and give none back is their background. When they were a child, that was the way their parents treated them. When those parents bore children they decided to treat their children like that. The sad part is, in our modern society people still act like this. Those parents need to realize that they need to treat everyone more fairly, especially their kids.
    My dad was a very disagreeable man. He would always talk like all his ideas are correct, and the worst part is he would never apologize for his wrong action.
    Anyone with a dad like that?

  • Julian

    June 18th, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    I agree but I don’t a agree the human being deserves mutual respect. As for children yes they should respect their parents but parents should show them how to respect by treating them with respect first and parents including being overpowering because it will backfire in their faces. GOD guide you all including me if He is so willing.

  • kimi

    June 19th, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    my mom and dad are making me write an essay on respect and this makes so much sense to me….I just wish I could tell them this but the moment you talk down to them about them not understanding they blow up.

  • Nick

    June 20th, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    my parents are making me write a paper on respect too, when I tried to show them this they said all these people needed to be less selfish and have more perspective.

  • Joel

    October 28th, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    Thank you so much for proving my point! It kills me that my parents think themselves above me and think that they don’t have to respect but that I have to respect them. It was incredibly wrong of them and thank you for posting this article to really teach my parents a lesson.

  • Lisa

    November 3rd, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    I’m just beginning to realize why I come home (whenever I do) with as much dread as excitement.

    Whenever my dad says something hurtful, I’m expected to suck it up. I think it’s been like that for a long time, and became difficult to follow when I was in my teens and dealing with post-trauma stress. I’m supposed to suck it up even now. To the extent that if I show I’m hurt by something he’s said (my face is like an open book lol), he will accuse me of being a whiner and an attention seeker…and this sort of behaviour persists even though I’m an adult and married. It’s almost as if my opinion is to be shot down by default and there is nothing I can say that will be considered with anything other than contempt. And since we come from a culture where your parents are to be treated almost like your gods – to the extent that even when they start earning, children are conditioned to doing almost everything as per what their parents say.

    I become the bad person because I fight back if he insults me. My mother usually doesn’t see what he is doing as wrong, and always makes some excuse or the other, and eventually winds up blaming me for the way
    he acts.

    He keeps bringing up my childhood and how good I was then – mostly as a reminder that if I’m ever to be considered ‘good’ I should go back to being that obedient 6-year-old. But now I wonder if it was just because I was so scared of fights back then that I kept quiet.

    Eventually when we do begin talking again, he makes sure I recognize the entire thing as my fault – not his – and never apologizes even if he knows he’s said something hurtful. Seeing my rocky relationship with my family, I dread how I’ll bring up my kids whenever I do have them — will I want to control them like my parents did, or will I be so lax in the fear they’ll see me the same way? I really do hope I can find a middle path somewhere…I would never want my child to feel that her self-worth and self-esteem will forever be tied to what her mother or her father think, and that her opinions being different from mine means they are of no value.

    I can only hope and pray that I use my experiences as a lesson on what mistakes I could possibly make as a parent, and therefore be a bit more careful.

  • Another Anon

    November 19th, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Thank you.
    As “the child”, the total lack of number three and number five really drives me up a wall. Being a very compliant and serve-to-please “child” I feel bad for the total lack of respect I tend to feel for my parents. However as the egotistic and stubborn equal in “human dignity”, I feel very indignant for even trying to comply to such a bipolar and detrimental parenting style.

  • illi22

    December 9th, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    I am a combo of some of the above posts.

    I have been “disrespecting” my mother after all the shit I went through, both past and now. And I would not call this “disprespect” more of “stand up and fight for yourself” kind of thing. Yes fighting back to tell her her how she is treating other people is “disrespect”. One thing for sure, keeping quiet and obeying all the time blindly can put you in a vulnerable position as you will have no control for yourself and life. I used to do that as a teenager as I thought if I just listen, she’ll be happy. Nope! It gave her the opportunity to run me over like a toy object.

    -She gets mad at someone, she takes it out at me. I got accused and lashed out for things I haven’t even done!
    -She makes statements that isn’t even true and rants all the time, making her sound like a negative person, and makes excuses like “I’m paying for your education, I can treat you anyway I want”
    -If someone accomplishes or has a new talent, or lives life in a certain away and finds that I’m not like them, she gets upset and lashes at me. I can recount how many times I felt like throwing her out the window.
    -For one certain instance, I told her how I felt uncomfortable only to get threatened to be beaten as she thinks it gives “discipline”.

    From our culture it’s the norm, and it’s no wonder why suicide is very high in our culture. It will also cause broken relationships and resentment. Truthfully, though I don’t want to do it, she’ll have to suffer her consequences and actions if she keeps it that way. Also probably why her family is dysfunctinal.

  • MATT

    December 10th, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    I have been separated from wife and my 2 kids because I simply did not move to New York City near wife’s 2 refugee brothers who live in Montreal Canada/another man eas involved. In 1992 I traveled to Middle East and unfortunately married this idiot wife who was in the market to marry an American citizen to be able live near her 2 refugee brothers whom she had not seen for many years. Last year after I refused to move to New York she ran away with my 2 kids to a local shelter and falsely accused me in violence. To begin with I tried hard to put her in school and started English from scratch and assisted her like her personal driver & translator everywhere every day. I paid for kids’ daycare so wife could go school and get some education& sense of humor, but she was never interested in school nor one minute work in America. Finally divorce judge ordered visitation to me and she refused to let that happen and she did contempt court order then my attorney filed motion for her contempt and wife agreed to a setup of every other weekend visitation before the trail. Since I’ve got visitation about 3 months ago my kids never talked to me or answer my greetings/questions, like hi, good morning, love you, thank you etc. I am a disabled senior with Dystonia, Tardive Dyskinesia and other health conditions but me and my brother give them the best services they could get every visitation time and each time we pick them up my 16 years old daughter wanted dress and shoes for dancing $140.00& other expensive electronics and school projects and dining at expensive restaurants, they don’t want to go any fast foods or frozen foods. They never said thank you dad or brother or uncle for all treatments & what we done for them. I only receive $700.00 a month SSI&SSA because I was short 2 points to get full retirements. Wife gets all the government benefits including, food stamps =$600.00, TANF= $250.00 free housing, free utility and gets $5000.00 yearly Pell grant(recently started cosmetology class as dropped it in 1999). Wife and her brothers at Canada bribing my kids by buying/poisoning my kids mind against me and their brother from ex-American wife who is an American hero by being deployed several times since 2005 to Iraq & Afghanistan &my family. Wife’s brothers buy some games, toys and clothing for my kids and promote hatred towards me and my family. Please give me some advice. Thanks & God bless you & have a Merry Christmas& Happy New Year

  • Troy Boyle

    August 27th, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    I disagree vehemently both with modern psychology and modern parenting. I am a traditional man and I agree with traditional parenting. Clearly defined roles and expectations. I am sick to death of hearing about this absolute conviction that modern psychology has of the emotional health of children being supported with buy-in and respect and non-coercive parenting.

    I WANT obedience in my children. Not “mutual respect.” I want and demand immediate unquestioning compliance and deference. This is the proper behavior of children. “Yes, sir.” should be their only answer until they are men and women themselves.

    I think modern psychology is breeding a nation of weak, self-interested brats. Consumerist, arrogant, lazy “what’s in it for me?” types. When I look across history, the generation that I admire most is the generation that served in World War II. Selfless, respectful, men and women that did what was right when it was needed. And they were raised with the child-rearing methods of the 1920s.

    Today’s crop of self-centered authority-averse “psychologically healthy” adults wouldn’t have stood a chance. We’d have failed and all be learning about how Hitler won the war.

  • Lois1117

    December 18th, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    I must say I agree with a lot of your believes in raising children. as I was raised by a World War 2 vet. a wonderful man but firm, you let you know from the very beginning. not to ask him more than one time, I had a very wonderful childhood. I did not get to be the parent nor did I want to be. I knew who was in charge and it was not me. kids nowadays do feel we owe them so much. back in those days though there wasn’t so many broken homes. there was a man to stand behind a woman. A team, my father discipline does not my mother. I have race 3 children, my boys 38 and 36 how about we showed me respect.On the other hand I have had trouble with my daughter, and still do. I know she is 25 but when I’m in a store with her and ask her to stop talking, in a way I find offensive I believe she should stop.She I believe she can be who she is, I don’t know if we will ever get along. but I have to commend you, on your honesty.The wishy washy parents, get wishy washy kids. thank you Loisl

  • Karey

    February 27th, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    I agree completely with you. I am 36 raising two girls 18 and 13. My dad worked we did get the opportunity to ask why we had to do what he said. He would beat, not spank us, I am sooo glad we got that diseplin from him. I have 3 biological brothers and sisters raised by my mom and dad and a half brother whom was raised by grandparents. He has been in and out of prison since he was 18. He is now 38 and I highly believe it’s because he controlled his home. We as parents have to teach our children what the real world is about. As adults you work your whole life, you are told what to do, you don’t get to go to work and dictate what your going to do. You have speed limits that are required by the law. You don’t get to change them to fit your needs. Teachers put together assignments, you don’t get to pick and choose what work you want to do. Kids today think parents owe them. Well news flash people, America is falling fast because we have ALLOWED our children to dictate our parenting and our rights of parenting. If children get in trouble with the law, parents are held accountable. The law has taken our rights from us and given them to the children. I don’t agree with beating your children, but spanking them shouldn’t be a bad thing. There are always consequences in not doing as your told, let us teach our children, let us raise our children to be good, respectful adults.

  • Karey

    February 27th, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    Sorry that was we did not get to ask why

  • vina

    July 4th, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    That Does not mean verbally abusing them and hurting there feelings but instructions expected and giving them your best because of it .

  • Willam

    August 28th, 2016 at 12:31 AM

    Yea Troy my dad was a lot like you, so by the time I was 16 I was both mentally and physically superior to him…we got into an argument where he punched me in the face because I proved him wrong on about 20 different things in front of our whole family. I proceeded to beat the almighty hell out of him and robbed him of authority and even now I have very strictly told my children to not take his advice on anything…My mother on the other hand has always respected me and never called me an idiot for disagreeing, therefore I treat her like an adult and allow her to help guide my children

  • bruh

    May 8th, 2020 at 6:05 PM

    What’s wrong with not wanting to do something if there’s nothing in it for you?

  • John Petersen

    August 27th, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Thanks for the leaving the comment, Troy. I guess your first two sentences say it all. In many ways that is the end of the discussion.

    Two observations for the rest of those reading. One, this notion of mutual respect within families and the research on it predates WWII. Second, Troy’s comments are less than respectful.

  • Kelly

    October 12th, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    I’m 17, and have good parents that I can respect. I can’t say I can automatically give respect to other adults in my society, though, because of their attitude and logic. They’re nothing like my parents.
    I know a lot of young people who were bullied or have parents that ignore them, and it really irritates me when adults angrily (and noisily!) demand respect, even when their kid is depressed, and assume that “all kids have it easy these days.” They don’t even take the time to find out whether their kid is being bullied or has about 4 APs to study for (it’s pretty common in my school to have that many APs). And the bullied kids often suffer because not only do the adults in school barely help, they’re also more prone to disagreements with parents since they’re more sensitive to what people say. Parents out there, please think twice before calling your kid a brat if he’s had a bad day, cause something might be happening that you don’t know about.
    There’s also the fact that a lot of people I know have been trying their best to earn good grades, playing football to the best of their ability, and some hoping to earn a little respect from their peers and family. There’s always that one parent who’s never satisfied with that, and that can really damage someone’s self esteem.
    I hope the people reading the comments see this, cause I want young people and their parents to get along better, not be torn apart because of misunderstanding and a misinterpretation of respect. Thank you so much, if you read this :)

  • J

    November 25th, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    I am sixteen years old. My parents are divorced and have two very different ways of dealing with me. My mother has, over time, begun to focus on the relationship rather than having power and being an figure of authority. My father, on the other hand, has always been very focused upon power, and as such treats me badly whenever we have a disagreement. He might be older than me, but judging from our previous interactions and his childishness (he gives me the silent treatment) I have come to believe that i am the adult in our relationship. Are there any suggestions on how to bring about change?

  • Lois1117

    December 18th, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I was reading your post and thought I could help. first of all it is wonderful that your mom has decided to work on your relationship. I am the mother of three children. I pretty much raised all my children the same. but they are individuals, none like the other. my boys are 3836, and my daughter is 25, she has not had an easy run of things, and picked the wrong type of men to date, pretty much leaving her abused. I wish to God that you would stop treating me like they treated her. my boys never did that to me. if someone is calling you names and as an adult, that doesn’t show a very good thing for a child. try to sit down and talk to him. don’t yell tell him how this makes you . I hope it gets better for you Lois

  • CeCe

    November 25th, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    You know what, Troy. Try living like a kid because apparently you don’t know what it’s like. We have our bad days and come home to parents DEMANDING us to do things for them. We can’t help but say no, then we get grounded because we were being “sassy”. We are people too. You parents don’t own us. We control ourselves, YOU don’t. We need equal respect with child and adult. Not just, us children treat you like royalty and listen to every command you demand. If you really knew what it’s like then your opinion would drastically change. Try living in our shoes for once. No we shouldn’t have to call you sir. Just because your “grown up” little adult doesn’t mean you have all rights. News flash; last time I checked you guys didn’t rule the world. I got really opiniontive I don’t care what you say. You guys are disrespectful to us too.

  • MARY C

    December 6th, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Children are an inhertitance from the Lord. A parent is to give unconditionall love both in word and deed. And children are to honor their mother and father so that they their days may be blessed. These are not our choices but God plan of order that bring him Glory and us the blessings due to obedience.

  • Logic Rules

    December 5th, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    There are two kinds of respect. First, there is the kind that all human beings are due regardless of their chraacteristics or behaviour. This is what I call basic respect and entails not inflicting harm or abusing others, respecting dignity, and so on. Second, there is the kind of respect that is earned, that compels us to do more for certain individuals, to trust them, perhaps to do as they request, and so on. Of course children are automatically entitled to the former, but may only earn some aspects of the latter – a child who lies is not to be trusted and a child who proves honest will earn that trust, but no child will be obeyed. However, I find that children are oft denied the first kind of respect as they are treated like property and not persons by their parents and by society. It is not respectful to use corporal punishment on children (it would be assault on any other human being), it is not respectful to shout and scream at a child, and it is nkt respectful to use demeaning language. And I find it curious that parents think that it is logically possible to teach children universal respect for others if they do not show even the most basic respect for the child (a rule is not universal if the child is an exception, ergo the rule is false and don’t think the chikd doesn’t see such deceptions and injustices), unless, of course, they terrorize the child into obedience, in which case the lesson learned is not respect – it is that power and fear rule relationships and that the more powerful person has the right to use said power to dominate.

  • Angela

    January 27th, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    How can my niece and nephew realiZed how their father who didn’t treat right to my sister. The kids don’t respect their mother and full support father. Father already brain washed to kids when they were kids. Now they are in college. I am trying not to hurt kids feeling how their father is bad to us. It made us sad that they are blind about their father who always deny on everything. He pointing us a lot wrong things however look at himself too. I know all I have to let it go and someday kids will wake up and realized how father who didn’t treat ex wifey and family in laws. I want rebonds with my niece and nephew.

  • Sick of it

    April 13th, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    I’m 21 years old and due to being sexually abused by another student at 13 (which my parents are unaware of), and then later abused at 20 in the same manner. This sent off my insecurities until I became suicidal. I have been battling depression since and ended up in counseling at school. Despite this, I go to college, work hard to get paid internships, and try to manage my finances. My main support comes from my family. My parents made a deal that’d they’d loan me a certain amount for me to pay back after I graduated and got a job.

    The problem is, my blind respect for them as a child has made them think my respect should be a guarantee since they help me with college. Since my depression went downhill, my health, and some of my flawless GPA followed. I ended up managing 2 surgeries between my senior year.

    I still managed to get two very good paid internships and both times I financially supported myself until I went back to school. My family has yet to ask about my mental issues, though they know I struggled and am seeing a therapist. I’d like them to take an interest but they insist on using financial threats to control every area of my life if I don’t do as they say. They literally think they own me with that money.

    A reoccurring one is my boyfriend of a year, who is largely responsible for healing many of my self-worth issues. Everything I have done and battled from is very worthy of respect. And this is the one luxury my parents will not give me. I am frequently not good enough for their them, grades, health, money, job, or my choice of boyfriend. My therapist tells me much of my emotional inadequacy began at the abuse and compiled with every event at home that reinforced this notion that “Nobody cares for you or will ever help you when you need them.”

    To all those “I DEMAND RESPECT” vomit messages, f*** you people that extort and force respect from children. I used to respect my family when they treated me as worth something, but the new message is that “I am never good enough for their approval.”

    If it hadn’t had been for my own strength to get help on my own, I’d have killed myself by now. They wouldn’t even have a daughter to extort respect from.

    You NEVER completely know what is going on in your kid’s life unless you make an active effort to know, respect, and love them. So cut the s*** and treat them like human beings, and not like your underling spawn.

  • John Doe

    May 9th, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    You need help. Not from a therapist. You need help from God. Parents want what is best for their children so that you can be on your own soon. We as parents, would hate to be wiping your butt until you’re 40. Grow up and respect your parents. They have better things to do and think of besides trying to control your every move. Until you learn to respect them, you will never be a great person. That is true no matter how successful you are.

  • vina

    July 4th, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Your right i am 17 and i realize you can’t do anything without god and listen to the first command honor thy father and mother. But when your mother doesn’t even act like a mother. Calls you names: b**ch, etc doesn’t go to church over 5 years its so hard to do that. So don’t think she’s being selfish because some parents were not mature yet neither has finished maturing.

  • zera

    May 2nd, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    If,you say that children should and must obey their parents just because of their authority,are you trying to say that because of this,child abuse is justified?That child trafficking is justified?Before they are your children,they are fellow human beings.If all you are going to do is continuously demand their obedience and respect just because you are their parents,what difference would it be from communism?You do not like others doing that to you either,so do not do that to your child.

  • sands

    May 13th, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    To teach your children respect you should show it and expect it in return. So yes when they disrespect you or others they should be pulled up for it, but if you set a good example then they will understand what it is your asking from them. Don’t you think you may have taken this to an extreme? Yes I demand respect from my kids, but I get it because I show them and others around me respect. They learn from my example and because they are still children and are still learning it is up to me to teach them and correct them when they are wrong. I’m a Mum that’s my job.

  • John Petersen

    May 13th, 2014 at 5:39 PM


    THank you for your comment. You make very good points. I do not think I have taken this to the extreme. Recall the context is families where disrespect is high on the parent’s list of problems. They demand the child change before the parent. A position of power is not enough to gain respect if respect is damaged in the relationship. I think you likely are speaking from a position where respect isn’t damaged and you are already giving respect. In that situation, I agree it is important to speak up when you are disrespected. It is best to speak up about the hurt that causes you.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  • lou

    June 20th, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    My child is 13 in a few weeks. I’ve had a lot of problems with him startin from refusing to go to school to smashing up the house. Of course he is noisy, but I have other smaller children that are in bed when he is doing this and he does it more to wake them which is tireing on its own, let alone the damege and playing up. I ignore him a lot of the time and punish when he calms down. Also today he had an out burst so I told him I’m sellin his counsel to pay for the damage. This will start up again tomorrow no doubt. I’m stuck, I don’t know how to stop him and not involve the police. He is my son as much I want him out sometimes. Helpppp.

  • donna

    December 23rd, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    I am raising my nieces 2 young girls. My older kids all girls 31 26; and 24 hate how my husband and I discipline them . a chart on fridge with checks for poor behavior smily faces for good behavior. Now they don’t talk to me and its Christmas! I never gave them consequence they are rude and disrespectful I love them and it hurts. Can’t allow there negative behavior around the young nieces

  • Katie

    July 16th, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    My dad does not respect me at all. Im 17 years old and I yearn for the day that i can finally pack my things and leave. I want to be treate like the young lady i am and not a servant. His idea of kids is free house maids for 18 years. I do what i am told because he is my father and i honestly have no problem doing chores. My problem is how he treats me. He claims i do nothing around the house and all i do is sit on my phone all day. I wonder who he thinks does his laundry and how dishes magically appear clean after he tells me to do them. He hits me for the dumbest reasons and he yells at me and he actually try’s to make me feel bad about myself. Im contemplating never talking to him after i move out. We got into a huge fight because i told him i wanted respect but he told me im not his equal i am his child. Im 17 years old i take care of myself and the rest of my family

  • Marianne

    July 21st, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    I am so saddened as I read your story. First, you should not be abused by your parent. Hitting is not allowed. It is considered abuse. You don’t mention a mother. Is she alive? Or are your parents divorced? Since you are living home, I would agree some chores should be taken on to show responsibility. You shouldn’t have the burden of cooking, cleaning and being a full time maid. Your fathers treatment is not healthy for your self esteem. Value yourself and never let a man raise a hand to you. You have that choice. Say no to abuse. I hope you turn 18 soon. I hope you don’t suffer further abuse from your father, if you do please see a school counselor or someone you can trust. Department of Children & Families could be an online resource. They will take action and you most likely would be removed from the hostile environment you are living within. Keep your spirits up. Please do not allow being abused by any man, or woman. Seek someone you can trust to talk to, find a job and save your money. Best of luck to you.

  • Katie E.

    July 28th, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    I totally agree to what you have stated above. In my culture, respect is demanded by elders, which me and my sister do not like. We recently have an argument with our mom and aunties about respect. When we tried to explain our side they got mad at us for disrespecting them. Aside from that, my sister, 17, is starting to show dislike towards them that whenever they lecture her, she gets angry and responds in a manner that again, show more disrespectfulness according to them. I want to be that bridge between them and my sister because I believe that these are miscommunications that when not resolved properly, may cause a dilemma.

  • Ellie

    August 5th, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    I am 22, i used to feel i have the best mom on earth until few months back when i realized my mom loves me but has always disrespected me. She isn’t having confidence in me, takes me for granted, abuses me verbally, feels i am worthless and now i am facing the cousin rivalry, she ridicules at me in front of my relatives. I am tired of explaining her things and proving myself. The only way out of this is getting separated from her and i don’t wanna do this. Need help

  • Kay

    August 8th, 2014 at 3:09 PM


    I totally relate to yr story. I am 33 and I just discovered how abusive my mother was and still is. It makes me miserable and depressed. I should probably leave far away but I just can’t.
    I would love to interact with u and have mutual support !

  • Ellie

    August 15th, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    I am able to ignore such things but sometimes i really cant. I have stopped sharing things with her, i hardly speak to her now. I tried to explain her dat though i am younger to her, i too need respect but in response she only made fun of me. Since my childhood though i have been good at studies i never felt i was, all i wanted was my mom to confirm this fact which she never did.Coz of all this i never felt confidence in anything. I don’t know how to explain my point to her. I am extremely close to her, i cant afford to lose her.

  • Brizza

    November 13th, 2014 at 5:50 AM

    I completely understand where you both are on this matter. I’m 27 and have moved away from my mother on several occasions because she can’t grasp the concept of mutual respect. It is a BIG thing for me, so much so that I try to teach my daughter via conversations and occasionally spanking. Which is probably why my child listens to me more than to my mother or anyone else, her constant screaming gets so aggravating. I recently left my job and had to move with her about 6 hrs away from the city I’ve lived in my whole life due to an unhealthy living arrangement with my significant other. Even though I almost had a nervous break down a few weeks ago she insists on verbally attacking me and insulting me then throws in my face how I should go back to my bf since it was a “healthier” living situation. The thing with her is that she does not like for people to speak up for themselves, clearly it is disrespectful if you do so. I’ve tried several times to talk to her about this but she reverts to her disrespectful self after a few days. I feel as though I’m between a rock and a hard place, you see, i am also wrapping up my undergraduate degree and have had the heavy burden of a single mothe For many years. Since I’m about to graduate, I’d simply like to focus on that but it’s SO dang hard to live with her. I honestly feel like I have no place to go & that no one understands. After all, she is my mother and “the bible days to honor and obey” them – but at which point does it constitute abuse? The sad part is that you both probably love your mothers as much as I do, but they make it incredibly difficult to want to be in the same room at times. I’d like a peaceful, (reasonably) stress free home life. Why can’t she just chill? She also can’t seem to grasp that I am an adult and she has to respect my decisions. Apologies for the long post.

  • kaidence

    April 9th, 2018 at 6:45 AM

    you r right

  • Estelle

    September 9th, 2014 at 4:36 AM

    Oh , I have so much to say to some of you kids . I was abused mentally and physically as a child and adult by my mother, my father stood with his hand up in the air, like I cannot do anything . My siblings never cared. I got married , happy family. But still what she could do to me she would, with them waiting on. Father got 4 stage cancer, not one of them would take care him , so who to,took care him for 5 years 12to 24 hr days. After he died the three of them used me , humiliated , said horrible thing to me. All the horrible years then this I had to disconnect from them. To my biggest surprise and pain , my own family, husband an daughter went against me ,,I was broken . I was diagizoded wih Ptsd . How do you like that, they knew what was done to me ;

  • Chris B.

    September 11th, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Hey guys. I don’t talk about this much. I never got anything out of it. But my mother played with my minjd. She put her hands on me. I was young. I’ve called the cops and went out of my way to tell people was going on. But my mom was a public speaker. She knows how to eff with you and get away with it. She’s a freaking mastermind. I always ended up back with her eventually because she somehow got people to think I was insane and it was all in my head. The only people who know are my brothers only because she made them lie to the police when I called them for help after bashing my head into the bedframe for turning my back on her when she told my that Jesus was sending me to hell. Today I’m 20 years old. I live with my dad in New York, how you ask? I simply got older and left on my own. My dad knows deep inside AND I KNOW THIS, That my mom was fucking insane. But he lets me going on that I was the one in the wrong. My littlest brother moved in last year claiming my mother hit im with the medal handle of a broom. He had the bruise to prove so. My middle brother knows what happened to me but lives with my mother both claiming I’m a crazy, pathological liar. They get along just find. Over the years I tackled to get the truth out, I even went to multiple therapists but it never worked for me. It drove me into deep depression to the point I was suicidal. I went through four winds. At this point I stayed silent. I told people what happened in one sentence “My mother abused me.” That’s it. I would get mad and ignore when people questioned it. I just went back to silence. 4 weeks later they let me go. After I had an issue with my dad because he kept coming in demanding I show respect to his girlfriend like she was my freaking mother. He claims she does so much. I played the your right I’m sorry I love you Lisa game. Thats my dads girl. When I got out things got bad real quick. I never really noticed Lisa and my dad holds it against me. I started smoking weed, Lisa hated it. My dad started trying to force me to do it his way or leave. I was 18 in high school. I said no. He told me to get out and don’t come back. I said no. And got in his face. I was drunk. He punched me in the face, and grabbed me in a choke hold. I tried to just push him off saying get off me. But he just said stop fighting until I hit the floor. I looked up at him and said I thought you were my father. And he said yeah well I thought you were my son. I left the next day. I eventually graduated High School and went back to my mom. At this point my mom never touched me. But she still let me knew that I better keep quiet. In my mind she threatin me or else she would make me look like someone I’m not. After two weeks I had to leave because my mom tried using me to get money out of my dad but he refused to pay. He called me and told me he didn’t think I would graduate High School and he would take me in as long as I stay home. Never go see friends, respect them. And go to a school they have set up for learning a trade….now I know it’s good for me but I don’t want to go. It terrifies me. I don’t know why I think ita being around all these xities kids in one school. I’ve been bullied before. As of most people. I tried talking to my dad. But he said no your going. They put me on medication I recently stop taking it after learning it was by force. I said dad I’m not taking these, and I dropped it in the trash. He lost it and kept saying who do you think you are. I have one week to leave. But this time I didn’t leave and he hasen’t said anything about it. I went to him after a couple weeks and said something about it. He said if you don’t want to take it than fine…..thats about it I’m waiting to go to the school now to start my own life and get away from this hell….and to be honest with you guys this is the most I’ve ever said and probably the only one in a long time. I don’t know how I do it. I always thinks about how easier itd be to just boom* shoot myself in the head. Itd be the only way I would do it. But I haven’t done it. Somehow I stuck with my life and I’m still going. I guess hope keeps me going…..thanks if you read. Hopefully someone will understand me one day. Bye guys. Never give up

  • Tara

    October 21st, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Take care of yourself. Stay away from those who abuse. Write or call to communicate.

  • anna

    September 16th, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    should parent’s be friends with children and they just act like parent’s ???????

  • Katie

    September 24th, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Please share this link and ask your friends to share. Our journey has just begun but the message is already so big and so powerful helping kids who have completed the workbook and awakening their love and strength within. Our mission is to create a world where our children “Lovemore and Fearless” and how we need to do this is by bringing it in to our education system and supporting our children to come together and recognize how we love our self ultimately reflects how others treat us. Instead of separating the bully and the bullied and having the parents deal with the situation, bring the two children together in school and make them have to work together for 2 days and complete a small essay on how similar they really are. “I Lovemore Fearless” education piece teachers outline for grades 3 to 5 is almost done meeting all curriculum requirements. Please share and help us print, produce and get this message into all our schools and programs. Lets stop the increasing suicide rates and depression and anxiety our children are now battling more than ever.
    Blessings, Katie
    We are whole, we are complete, we are perfect most of all we are “LOVE”

  • max

    October 2nd, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    Just another article of how to build kids self esteem/ It’s all hogwash/ Thw only thing in this article is developing a relationship with kids. Problem is that too many adults, have this idea that ‘oh no our poor children need empathy and they need understanding for leacing food in their roo for the 200th time. Or for lying for the millionth time because they want mor time on their iphone. Kids have it so good now a days and look at all the problem especially with the schools. kids doing violence at school and parents , officials and police all say the same poppycock crap…. Lets help them, build them up and dont punish too harshly. Garbage Garbage Garbage, its the DR spock Soccer Mom society of rasing up a bunch of little foul mouth self centered facebook brat kids who are pulling the wool over everyone so it becomes all about them and zero about responsibilty. A belt, a bible, a hug, and a parayer and good probelm solving is whats needed today to get rid of this tween narcisistic teen run homes when it needs to be Parent run HOMES… love is important but too much of it and you;; raise a siisy named tyler who combs his hair like beiber and listens to marilyn manson records and niki minaj-good luck to all the passive parents-ill never be one.

  • Val

    January 11th, 2015 at 5:21 AM

    Unfortunately, you sound like of those parents whose children end up commiting suicide. I’d rather have a gay happy child than a dead one. It’s very possible to have respect for your chidlren and not be a permissive parent. It’s not so black and white as you insist. I have four chidlren and my teenager is an honor student in marching band so that blows a small hole in your theory sir. I feel sorry for you and how you were treated as a child and I hope one day your chidlren/child can receive the connection from you they and you deserve. Good luck.

  • John Petersen

    October 2nd, 2014 at 10:12 AM


    Thank you for your comments.

    Allow me a few points in response:

    Love is not lax and permissive.

    Relationship building is essential but not in iteself sufficient.

    See points 2, 3, 5, and 7 in my article. I think they speak to the fears you have about permissive parenting.

    Many parts of your comments come across as condescending and contemptuous (disrespectful) and obscure some possibly important words of caution you were offering. In many ways I think you just confirmed the main thrust of the article – respectful engagement is essential.

  • Andre S.

    November 19th, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    As for my dad, I know he loves me very much and I do the same. Yet whenever we guys go into a disagreement and words starts to flow, he often ends up reminding me that me and my mom are living in his house, he also says that we are only interested in his earnings etc. He even says that I am only studying because he financially backing me up and without that I’ll be absolutely nothing and quite a few more things like that.

    Don’t know what should I conclude from all these, do you guys think that he just says all these at the heat of the moment or are these feelings that he inherits deep inside him and it comes out in those times when we are quarreling. But then again he has been saying all these for almost the last 7 or 8 years. I don’t really know what to conclude.

    Even though my mom always says to me that he is just saying all these at the heat of the moment and he has nothing of that sort inside his mind but I am not really sure.

    What you guys think of it though ?
    Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks!

  • Andre 2

    December 12th, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    The same thing happens to me. It’s really frustrating. I do my best to make him happy but sometimes he just says things that tick me off, and then a whole fight ensues. You see the problem with my dad is that even when he has a right to be mad, he loses his reason but just telling me a bunch of condescending things like that. He needs to change as much as I do but because he is “the parent” he refuses to acknowledge that fact. Even though he knows he also has problems with controlling his anger.
    Literally today we got in a big fight that if he had expressed himself properly I would’ve been a lot more aware of my mistake.but he chose to talk down to me and treat me like a monster. Told me I am a joke, that I’m nothing. he blamed me for his marital problems and the fights he’s been having with my mom. He told me that he’s been putting up with me for so long and that he’s sick of my shit.
    On the way home in the car I addressed him about how he can expect me to try to respect him when he says things like that. He told me rudely “that’s your problem, you’re trying to put us on the same scale. I’m the dad,regardless what I do, you have to respect me.”

    I was wrong today about losing my cool, but respect is a two way street. I’d love to hear about how you deal with this issue and are more respectful because I struggle so much with my dad and dealing with his anger spells.

  • AR

    December 1st, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    I understand the duress of being a role model, and I agree with many comments on this page. Respect is earned, not given. Demanding respect because of an age difference or simply punishing a child/youth for a natural reaction (I’m talking to you, grounding fetishists) is ignorant and cowardly, not to mention immature. Of course, it varies from culture to culture, but the common scope, the basic principle, is still the same. To those who demand respect – sycophantic obedience – and are fixated with groundings and corporal punishment, I leave you with these words:

    You’re all fools.


  • Mk

    December 15th, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    Interestingly I am becoming more confused of being a parent. After reading I am also condescending and contemptuous although not proud of it.
    I am not sure how to address a 16yo that there are certain household rules and chores that harmonise the household. Total lack of respect for the household rules i feel transfer the disharmony to others. I to have also told my son 200 times not to eat in his room. Any rule seems to be broken although I don’t believe intentional. The priority of the youth of today seems to be the electronic gadgets that we supply them in which they are distracted from family/life interaction.

    My father/son relationship much to my disgust has been in a rapid decline. According to my wife it is all my fault.

    I feel there is no lines of accurate communication/consideration between my wife,son and myself. I do realise it requires input from all of us.

    I would much appreciate some guidance.

  • Mary DS

    January 3rd, 2015 at 11:02 AM

    Thank you, Dr. Peterson, for thoroughness in your article, your remarks, and your authenticity to seed words that build and value people, tall and short. This build is continuous for all, and our journeys yield more hope with a foundation of individual value, voice, and reflection.

    Your article came to me as I searched for relevant words at a critical juncture for my fiance and I. His bent is towards commanding respect from my kids before providing the space for friendship and knowledge of the other to spring any shoots of health.

  • Jordan S

    January 4th, 2015 at 6:25 PM

    I know that I should respect my parents, and I do respect my mom, but my father constantly insists that we ‘owe him’ for doing anything for us. This goes from adding a friend to the wifi to driving us to an event. Whenever we fight, he gets incredibly cruel saying that my sister and I are pathetic, pigs, etc. He also doesn’t allow us to call him anything but ‘dad’ or ‘sir’. He’s always provided for us and uses this as manipulation to get us to do as he says. I really have no respect for him and he doesn’t understand that he’s pushing us away.

    Any advice on how to get to a healthier father-daughter relationship with him?

  • Tommy

    January 8th, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    @Jordan S I believe that your parent is just at point in parenthood where he only sees how many things he has done for you, but without viewing this situation from your perspective.I think it is best if you do not I repeat DO NOT sit down and talk with him. TO improve your relationship between you and your father, you should use the method of “owing him back.” Using the fundamentals of Phsycology, your dad is using “you owe me” as an expression to say that in the future he intends on you becoming a wonderful person in which you can repay him. However, the way to improve your relationship and make good riddance of the whole ” You owe me,”thing is by taking it literally and give him something. Perhaps a present or cooking breakfast in the morning. Then after the deed tell him ” I no longer owe you.” This will most likely result in him to laugh, autonomic phsycological function, and no longer say “You owe me”. Every time he thinks about saying ” You owe me ” he’ll flashback to this event and no longer say it. The result may vary based on personality so dont expect a perfect result.

  • harlen

    January 11th, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    I really enjoyed your post! However I am at a complete loss as to how to help my son with this. He is the sweetest kid in the world until he gets mad or when he father is around. We have three boys 6,5,and 1. But we only have this problem with the older child. He was diagnosed with ADHD, mood disorder, PTSD, anxiety/depression. He is on three different medicines. Since the meds our lives have improved. We are able to enjoy things more and he is not getting kicked out of school anymore. However, my son was hospitalized a year ago for three weeks in a child psychiatric unit. About 2 months after that him and his father whom he loves very much started falling apart. He does not listen to him anymore and just says its because he doesn’t want to. He yells tells us no he has zero respect for us half the time. I’m just so lost as to What to do. Any ideas are helpful! Thank you!

  • Nicole

    January 10th, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    What is a cartoon voice? Just interested to know incase I’m doing this?

  • John Petersen

    January 12th, 2015 at 3:49 PM


    Thank you for responding. I can’t comment on your son’s situation directly because I have not evaluated him or his family situation. But I will share with you one idea that has given me a lot of mileage. Please share it with his treatment providers for guidance and consideration.

    When a child gets angry in a pattern similar to your son’s, he is probably responding to my effort to hold a limit of some kind. If so, don’t get sidetracked onto his anger and disrespect. Instead hold the original limit. I let that be my sole focus if possible. This can get complicated depending on the cicmstance so work with your professionals on it.

    Using a benign example, I say “no” to her request for a cookie and she gets angry and uses inappropriate words. I’m going to not address anger and language at that moment and focus on the “no” to the cookies. I’m not going to let her ramp things up into a power struggle. My calm and respectful “no” is stronger when I don’t engage in a contest of will and dominance around language. Besides, I can control a cookie. I can’t control her. Make sense?

  • John Petersen

    January 12th, 2015 at 3:51 PM


    The cartoon voice is the high pitched, sometimes immature voice we use to try to sound kind or speak on a child’s level but really comes off as condescending or too eager to please, like we don’t take the child or ourselves very seriously.

  • John Petersen

    January 12th, 2015 at 3:56 PM


    Sounds like when it comes to conflict, he mistreats you verbally. I don’t know how to stop him but I typically suggest that one not continue a conflict when it is cruel. It is rarely productive at that point and typically is damaging. Disengage if possible and re-engage at a better time. Maybe you will consider hiring a professional counselor to help you engage in respectrul dialogue with him.

  • Stephanie

    February 13th, 2015 at 7:42 PM

    I really need some help.
    My relationship with my mom has normally been pretty good, but lately, we’ve been getting into a lot of arguments and fights.
    If I make a mistake, she asks me to tell her why I did it. Whenever I reply, she always thinks I am talking back to her, when I was just answering her question. I can give you a billion examples.
    She thinks that a parent-child relationship is anything but equality and that the child must never talk back, roll their eyes, disrespect, or be rude to their parents. Now that is perfectly fine. But nowadays she thinks that everything that comes out of my mouth is a sign of disrespect. If I disagree with her on something, I am being rude. If I prove her wrong on a question my sister was having trouble with, she thinks I am disrespecting her, if a make a mistake, like if I knock something over, she thinks I am disrespecting her. The tiniest act of unkindness (like not smiling) makes her think that I am disrespecting her. She also thinks that parents can treat their children any way they want. She thinks that parents can call their children vulgar names, hit and slap them, throw objects at them, lock them up, ignore them, and interrupt them. Her excuse for this is that parents were the ones who brought them into the world, and they provide them for their necessities. In other words, she thinks she can take her anger out on me and I can’t do anything about it. I think respect goes both ways, but she thinks the complete opposite. She always says that I treat her like a slave, but I can’t find one example of how I’ve showed that.
    I have tried and tried to find a solution, but I can’t. If I try to talk it out with my mom, she takes everything as an insult, gets even more mad, thinks everything that comes out of my mouth is a form of talking back, and interrupts me. If I try to go to my room when I know a fight is about to start, she always yells at me to get back.
    My parents forbid me from telling anyone (a counselor) about this. I guess I’ve already violated that.
    Sometimes I think my mom is the one who is always acting like the child, because I am the one who is always cooperative accommodating, and the one who apologizes.
    But it’s not like I hate her. I really, truly care for her. She’s done soooo much for me, but she just takes that as an excuse to treat me badly, and I don’t think that’s fair.
    Please reply, and thank you.

  • Chris

    February 14th, 2015 at 12:04 PM

    Hi, I think it is not about reasoning back or answering a question, how do you reply? is it in a polite manner, low tone or abrupt and snappy? Mother wants respect and it is both sides. Analyze why she feels you are disrespectful. Ask her. Your thinking is different from what a mum thinks. You love her so ask her. When both parties are in normal state of mind things can be solve. If not, you will need special help. Sometimes it is not what you say but how you said it. Timing is important too. Try some ways and win her as in applying for a job. See if you will get accepted. Goodluck.
    Relationship needs strategy too.😊

  • jacob e

    February 16th, 2015 at 11:29 AM

    Most kids(and far too many parents too) mistakenly think that respect is an entitlement. It is not. Like trust,respect must be earned. And you need not like someone to respect them(although it helps,it is not a requirement) I know several people I would never socialize with,because they have a personality that grates on my nerves. But I respect what they do,and what they have achieved,and the results of that achievement.

  • sjordan

    April 29th, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Respect is something that should be given automatically to everyone. If children are taught this it would allow for a better world. If everyone respects each persons beleifs and values, this does not mean that you have to agree with or like them. But you should respect them. If you dont like them than dont be around them. But everyone should automatically Have respect for one another it should not have to be earned because we are all equal. Not respecting someone says that they are less than. And we are all the same!

  • daniel

    March 26th, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    That is the problem,Jake,Teens think they should have everything they want just for the asking,without having to earn it. I hear kids say all the time,in an attempt to justify rude behavior and bullying. ‘I can do what i want,i’m rich’. No,your parents are rich. You have NOTHING that is not handed to you.

  • Sandy

    April 2nd, 2015 at 6:21 AM

    To all the teens on this page you can have your right to be secretive, or privacy an do as you wish when you pay your own way. Living under your parents roof when they are paying for the roof over your head the food that you eat does not give you the right to do as you choose . parent today have to be responsible for there children until there 18 in Canada sometimes longer if the child lives at home for post secondary education. Kids today feel entitled time to wake up smell the coffee a long as we’re footing the bill you live by our rules when you move out pay your own bills then you have the rights of any other adult but if you phone home short on rent then you lose your adult rights because I am not helping without a solid explanation and if I fin you have lied to me there goes your rights. what all of you are asking is the rights and respect of an adult. So you should move out pay your bills then you can have your paid privacy it’s your right. It’s not my place to pay the bills so you can have privacy your no old enough and clearly not mature enough cause complaining about how we parents owe you a private life. What you need to do is get your own place pay your own bills then you can have all the privacy you want.

  • jack

    April 4th, 2015 at 1:41 AM

    As I parent I think it is so important to give your kids personal privacy to an reasonable extent. When kids are going through the teen stage in their lives it’s very important for them to develop trust and if they can’t trust even their parents who can they trust. I find that usually when people can’t trust someone it’s because they assume that they would do the same shitty th

  • Alesia

    April 10th, 2015 at 1:15 AM

    So true

  • Brandon

    May 31st, 2015 at 7:06 PM

    Sandy, I understand where you’re coming from, to an extent. We, as children, understand that our parents have to pay for our lives and well being; however, that does not give them the right to be in total control. It was not our decision to be birthed into this world, and so we should not be treated as financial burdens that have to deal with that issue hanging over our heads. Also, yes, from infancy to 18 (plus however long we stay within the household), parents are to be given authority over kids, but, again, you cannot pin it over our heads that you paying the bills and groceries and such are what give you that authority. We, throughout that age, do not possess the means to pay, or even help pay, for bills and taxes. We especially don’t have the means to move out to live an individual life. That needs to be recognized. I agree that children should recognize the hardships that parents go through to raise them, but we should not have to go through feeling like burdens for our parents, whether it is financial, emotional, physical, etc., when we did, and do, not have the power or the say in why/how those issues arrived.

  • Ryan

    June 5th, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    As a teen, I understand that to have adult responsibilities and have the respect from adults as well as earn trust and respect I ought to pay the bills. The problem is, I am not the legal age to work, so it’s rather hard for me to balance trying to do good in school to possibly get a scholarship in the future and do odd jobs around the neighborhood. Yes, adults have jobs and balance their kids, but school can feel like a part time or even full time job. Also, if I can’t get a real job, then I won’t have enough money to pay bills, etc. etc. Believe me, I would if I could. Thank you for the reasonable, civil, and logical post, Sandy-san.

  • Alesia

    April 10th, 2015 at 1:14 AM

    Growing up my parents always told me to respect people as if hey we’re my parent, like my mom or dad. Now growing up I never really look at at like that, but now that I am older I do. Simply because with a person in possibly an authoritive position I look at them as if that was my mom and dad because I would want nobody to disrespect them. Now is that a good or bad thing, to typically compare that too.

  • Don't want to say name

    April 22nd, 2015 at 5:50 PM

    Ok well my dog has been pooping lately it pretty annoying. My mom told me to clean it. It was after school and I was really tired so I decided I would lay down for a few minutes then get on it. She walks in the house and sees me lying in bed and she starts screaming at me to get out of bed and I sigh and get out of bed and go to the bathroom real quick. So for some reason she picks up the phone and calls my dad and he’s screaming at me though the phone curse words and crap saying I’m disrespecting her and now he’s making me write a four page paper and my mom won’t even talk to me about it and when I do she calls my dad and says I’m being disrespectful and my dad says I’m gonna regret it when he gets home tonight and i don’t know what he’s gonna do and I don’t wanna find out. 😁😰

  • Mary DS

    April 29th, 2015 at 6:30 PM

    We are all the same? I disagree. We are uniquely and precisely different, which is why getting along at times, sjordan, is uncomfortable. Disrespectful? It doesn’t have to be, no, but perhaps just lacks what someone else might consider respect-out-of-the-box.

    Experiences shape. Experiences cause discrepancies and bumps. Experiences are what we have, question, and are moved to find answers to.

    What will make the world a better place would be to reach out to others, realizing that what someone responds with, be it anger, ignorance, ego, joy, sadness, or just plain ol’ not-your-cup-of tea, may just be a call for a moment of caring, where we toss respect and our demand of it, out.

    Now, that’s where we are all the same, sjordan. We all want to be cared about. Just care. The rest comes.

  • Sanaa

    June 15th, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    It is amazing how many people have this problem with their parents! I came here to wrap my head around my relationship with my dying mother and I am comforted and disturbed by the number of people who feel insignificant to their parents. I am 32, with a daughter of my own. I have been molested and raped from age 6 to 10; my mother knew about it and blamed me.

    She constantly insults my brother and I; my older brother was removed from the home due to her abuse. I have told her flat out that she is abusive, disrespectful, and inconsiderate. She tells me to “grow up”, that she is my mother and I am supposed to shut up and listen, not speak.

    My older brother killed himself because he felt so unloved. I too have attempted suicide, and my younger brother is terminally ill now. No matter what we say to her, she is NEVER WRONG. I can be minding my own business, and she’ll walk up, insulting me, or asking me why don’t I do this, do that, respect her more, etc.

    She openly says that it is her job to correct me, not realizing it is also her job to love me. No child requested to be born, so parents have the duty to celebrate the life of the entity that the brought forward – by choice. When parents don’t do that, they send the message to their child that it is okay for the world to disrespect you and fail to love you because your creators don’t.

    It seems that majority of the mental health issues come from a person feeling a lack of love and respect from their parents. My mother deliberately does mean spirited things, like turning off the lights on me while I’m cooking at night in the kitchen, telling my daughter to do the opposite of what I told her to do, answering my daughter when it is clear she was speaking to me, moving my things, not telling me where she put them, etc. So now her health is failing and it is a tremendous challenge for me to have to take care of her as she constantly accuses me of being “mean”, “evil”, “disrespectful”, you name it, when the only time I speak to her is to ask her what she needs (I get a response that has nothing to do with the question and is VERY condescending) or in response to her walking up to me talking at me, often when I am clearly in the middle of something.

    No matter what I do, it’s never good enough, and I find myself emotionally and spiritually exhausted after every interaction with her. I don’t feel loved, I feel like I was born to be her slave. Our relationship affects my relationships with everyone else, to the point where I don’t want to get close to anyone else for post traumatic fear that they will treat me the way that she has. At one point, I had no desire to have children for fear that I would be a mother just like her, but I am different, and my mother absolutely disagrees with the way that I raise my child because I show her respect.

    She thinks I don’t spank her enough, when I don’t need to; my daughter responds very well to action-consequence lessons. If I didn’t feel guilty about leaving her to suffer alone, I would have disowned her a long time ago. I just sit and take it for the most part, because I will be free at some point and I won’t have a guilty conscience because I did everything I was “supposed” to do (grocery shopping, massages, cleaning, laundry, working 4 jobs to help her, dishes, hauling stuff to the garage, etc.)

    My marriage fell apart because she had rubbed off on me and until I went to counseling, I didn’t realize that I was treating people like she treated me. It took a lot of time to stop hating myself and her. Now I just do my job and look forward to the day that all of my sacrifices pay off.

    She talks about us like we’re HORRIBLE kids to other people, never mentioning the way we help to take care of her, when she stopped working over 30 years ago. So our family thinks we’re terrible, disrespectful kids, taking pity on her manipulating, attention-seeking complaints. They have no idea how she treats us behind closed doors. If I wasn’t a writer, I don’t know how I would have survived being her “child”, which she still sees me as, although I have been married, divorced, have a child of my own, and am over 30.

    To the teenagers here, I wish I could tell you that it will get better, but some people are set in their ways. Both of my parents are Scorpios, maybe that has something to do with it. Neither accepts me for who I am; they never have positive things to say about us. Find a coping mechanism and ask your God for strength, because it is one rough ride!

  • TW

    June 27th, 2015 at 6:48 PM

    I read this and I started to cry because this is so similar to how I’ve felt. My mother has this thing about “You’re the child, I’m the mother. I deserve your respect.” That has always been her motto. But what she doesn’t realize is that I don’t have respect for her because she has never shown respect towards me. I listened to her as a child, but ever since my teenage years, my respect for my mother has steadily declined. Even now, though, I’m afraid she will see this and rip me a new one. I’m paranoid of her.

    A parent-child relationship is a two-way street. I’ve learned this after becoming a preschool teacher. Children respond when you get on their level and lay out the consequences. If you make good choices, you get good consequences, but bad choices give you had consequences. Children NEED a choice, not a dictatorship. We as adults need to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry”. We expect that of them…so we should do the same. Children learn from example, so showing them respect will teach them respect. Even when a child is testing your patience, a firm but kind voice with a heart of love will make a difference. No need for yelling or making yourself seem bigger.

    Yes, I know my mom was the one who birthed, nursed, raised and cleaned me, but her idea of motherhood has been twisted over time. She believes that because she is the mother, that means automatic respect. No. A mother is someone unconditionally loves her children and would put her life on the line for them. A mother is tender and warm, always ready for hugs and kisses. A mother rears her children with gentility and respect, teaching them wrong from right. She need to establish that trust and respect with her children from the beginning.

    It is balanced, just as it is between husband and wife. A family is a unit. Everyone is needed to complete it and to drive it.

  • therese

    June 27th, 2015 at 6:38 PM

    I disrespect my mom because she does not respect me as well. You cannot really demand for respect if you are not respectful also. My childhood was ruined because of her. She would lock me up in a room and beat me up with a belt or bamboo stick everytime I do something wrong as a 5-10 year old. I remember when I was 10, it was my first day of having menstruation and she kicked me in my stomach!! Until now, I’m afraid I may not be able to conceive.. She would also embarrass me infront of strangers. I would always ask myself why she didn’t do it to my 5 other siblings…

    I’m 18 now and my dad still supports me. It is unusual in our country to not support their children when they reach 18. Parents support their child until after college graduation.. my parents are separated but my mom lives in our house. And she keeps on yelling and cursing infront of the neighbor’s kids. It is an embarrasent. I don’t know how to deal with her but I love her so much. :(

    I wish my kids will not disrespect me. I will, in my own ability, do everything to discipline my children. I will not be abusive like my mom and like other parents. Children have feelings too just like adults. Any kind of abuse will have a long term effect on the kids.

  • shayla

    July 14th, 2015 at 9:25 PM

    I’m 17 and my families thing is that you’re a child until you’re 21. You are to respect your elders and you are not to be seen or heard until you are at least 21. You have a dress code (no shorts or tank tops until summer after you turn 18) you go to college or you change your last name. If you break these rules you are banned from the family. The only thing they aren’t strict about is religion. They even choose what you go to school for.
    Most kids who live where I do (indiana, USA) Have more respect and choices in life. I just want to feel like I matter in life.

  • Mary DS

    July 15th, 2015 at 9:29 AM

    Shayla. You matter. You matter. It is hard to turn that into solid knowledge, I know. Yet, you do matter. It’s baby steps. It’s being kind to yourself. It’s steadying your mind and trusting your heart. Reach, write, think for yourself in the moments in between. Gain in knowledge. Rise, Shayla. Progress yourself internally and externally in baby steps. Set your antennae to your voice, your heart, and the voice of the universe consistently and lovingly repeating how much you matter.

  • Linda

    August 6th, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    I am amazed on how many articles there are on how adult children should respect their parents but there are very few articles on the opposite. Adult parents respecting their adult children.

    I have parents who do not respect me.

    I have made a lot of mistakes in my 20 some years as an adult from marrying the wrong person and getting divorced to putting myself in debt and having issues keeping myself financially stable. I have a triple whammy of being dyslexic, ADHD inattentive, and also being severely dyscalculate (dyscalculia).

    And because of my choices and and mistakes, my parents have had to help me on several occasions often financial..But they take that assistance and they hold it over my head and use it as a weapon and use it as a reason to not treat me with respect.

    Because of this my parents often are exceedingly critical, negative and my mother is extremely controlling and very snide. She has pushed me to the point of wishing I wasn’t her daughter because obviously I am not the daughter she wanted.

    I am not the financial success they had hoped for and I am not the family success they hoped for. On both sides they have made me feel like I am a embarrassment and a failure. And they have done a lot to either cut me down mentally and emotionally because of this.

    I cannot have children due to medical reasons so my parents are not grandchildren and I am an only child and I am not married and not dating anyone now.

    I did teach overseas but I wanted to come home and they have done nearly everything in their power to make me fee unwanted and unwelcome since my return heart 4 months ago.

    I am not speaking to my parents now. I have moved and not told them.

    This is where I am with them now. I don’t even want to celebrate the upcoming winter holidays with them or see them. This breaks my heart and I don’t know how to get them to hear me because they just don’t want to listen.

    I can’t be their daughter anymore because I just can’t handle the pressure of their adult expectations because I can’t even touch the bar they set in their minds as to what they think I should be. I just want to give up.

  • Chris

    September 13th, 2015 at 6:41 PM

    Parents seem to think they deserve respect simply for being a parent… But in my opinion they should have to give respect to get respect my parents and more specifically my dad expects to go through life unquestioned by us as his children otherwise we’re being disrespectful and to me it seems that he should have to show me the same respect I’m expected to show him

  • Amanda

    October 14th, 2015 at 5:38 PM

    I have a 14 year old stepson who really thinks he can just do exactly what he’s been told not to do and when I get upset he says he can treat me the same way this among other things. What do I do?????

  • wajuna robert

    October 22nd, 2015 at 6:40 AM

    My father is a kind of a man who listens to his children’s advice and always if something happens he feels so free and happy to consult me or any other child or all of mother on the other hand thinks that what ever she does is correct and when i try or any other child tries to condemn the act she starts to cry saying that she will commit suicide,this always scare us from giving her advice and if does a mistake we just keep quiet and look for a way to fix that and make her happy because we love her,but inside me/us we know that she is not doing the right this something good?

  • Hmmmm

    November 25th, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    Let’s say you give your children the type of respect you suggest, but that she–at thirteen years old–does not wish to abide by the rules you have set out to protect her. No unchaperoned “dates”. No attending unsupervised parties. No dying her hair in one of the colors of the rainbow. (Granted…the last one is far less concerning than the others.)

    Then, she gets mad. Attempts controlling via a bevy of appalling behaviors. You can’t ignore her, because she then begins to talk of being depressed and suicidal.

    Again…please keep in mind, the nature of the conversation is, a discussion takes place, rationally, and she doesn’t get what she wants. She then punishes us for not allowing what we see as dangerous–except the third–behaviors. You don’t seem to allow for punitive punishments…or rewards…and ignoring her does not get her to accept our decision.

    What now?

  • adeel

    November 29th, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    Ha ha ha if you think this is sad then you have seen nothing yet I have been treated like a punching bag a thing on which they can put out all there anger at they treat me like a slave as compare to my brother and sisters I am 17 and yet I am forced to do jobs they never loved me and never will tryed so hard to get along but nothing changes do you know the funny part I never talked with my father with disrespect its not prity to be treated like a slave then a son every child wants things do you know what I want its sucide I have tried my best to make my family respect me but now I think its pointless

  • The Team

    November 29th, 2015 at 8:54 AM

    Thank you for your comment, Adeel. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • Mary DS

    December 3rd, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    Adeel, I would definitely take the information provided by Team. It is not weakness when standing up for yourself. You’re in a crisis and will need to find the strength to combat for the life you were given– the one ahead of you, sweet Adeel.

  • nikki

    December 10th, 2015 at 3:15 PM

    Hi i have a question and concern for me im a mom of 2 kids 1 being 22 the other 20
    We’ve all had a very long struggle with my husbands and my own family members as of recent falling ill to dimentia/Alzheimer’s.another stroke and a slew of other complications .thats in the last 3 yrs (my side).
    My husbands his mom cancer 9 months of suffering and finally has passed.its a few wks shy to the year anniversary.
    No my father in law initially diagnosed with kidney failure initially said needed dialysis now being told it’s possible bone cancer I was raised to keep this type of issues amongst grown ups and the ill.
    But his family or his dad is very needy and therefore stress is laid upon my husband and myself. Him being the only child adopted really. My concern is he takes his stress and puts it upon my children.
    But what is too much I don’t feel my children even though adults should there any of the guilt and stress that we are and has been in mind you still morning the loss of my mother in law as I’m sure they are too but the thing is I was diagnosis having a nervous breakdown due to this and I just don’t want the same for anyone else in my family I feel so they’d seen enough of that and grief and loss five years to last them a lifetime what should be asked of them and what shouldn’t or basically how should we go about this with them they all know already but I feel as though it’s too much for someone so young to walk around with on there shoulders any advice I really appreciate it at this point as a parent and I don’t feel it’s healthy and I just want to know what is right and what is wrong thank you and I appreciate any help or advice

  • The Team

    December 10th, 2015 at 4:14 PM

    Dear Nikki,

    Thank you for your comment. The Team is not qualified to offer professional advice, but if you would like to discuss these questions with a therapist or counselor, you can use our site to search for a mental health professional in your area by entering your ZIP code here:

    Talking to someone can often be helpful during times of illness, grief, and loss, and we hope you can find answers to your questions.

    Kind regards,
    The Team

  • nikki

    December 10th, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    Sorry for so many typos im trying to type quick before im noticed doing this at all .

  • Katrina

    December 16th, 2015 at 11:18 PM

    Thank you ! I often heard growing up, “When you respect me, I will respect you!” “Look how you are making me feel.” “Look what you made me do” and now that I am an adult. “When you are a better daughter I will be a better mother.”
    That is a bunch of BS. My own three children are not responsible for my emotional health, my love and affection for them is not contingent on them being a good son or daughter first. Actually it isn’t contingent on anything, that is what unconditional love is. This is not to say I don’t have expectations from them, but I don’t hold them to a higher standard than I hold myself. If I can’t show respect, compassion, empathy, and dignity to my children how in the heck am I supposed to expect those in return. Peace starts in the home. Love starts in the home. Empathy for others begins at home. Compassion begins at home. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound a cure. Start early. I cross my fingers my children will continue to bestow these qualities throughout their lives and may we break the cycle of abuse and emotional neglect in my family.

  • Cori

    December 22nd, 2015 at 6:50 PM

    I have the same problem with my parents especially my father. He thinks just because he’s my father he has a free pass to treat me any kind of way. Whenever I give him an honest answer he calls me “disrespectful” because I said something he didn’t like. I’m an adult by the way, 32 to be exact and I am still going through. It’s ridiculous how some grown ups can’t say anything to their parents without being called disrespectful. More than likely old school parents uses this as a weapon to get their way and it’s sick. I don’t hate my father but at the same time I don’t have a lot of respect for him because he refuses to admit his flaws and mistakes. It pisses me when parents think it’s OK to yell, cuss and beat their kids, then have the nerve to expect respect. It doesn’t work that way, you have to treat your children like fellow human beings to get the respect you so desire.

  • Kristin

    December 25th, 2015 at 5:28 PM

    Well… I live with my mother and my stepfather, both very loving but not understanding. They say they are. And they say they have been in my place at one point of time but I don’t see any scars on their arms or legs. They give me the whole ” we are your parents, you should feel safe talking about things with us.” And I do but I always come to regret it in the long run. So I know that I is Christmas but my stepfather has told me what he wants for Christmas from me is two paragraphs of what respect means to me. Well I haven’t don’t that yet or I wont be to nice. My thing is.. They don’t respect me as a daughter. They give me the “I’m the adult and what I say goes.” Well I can deal with that. But what I can’t deal with is the fact my younger brother who is 16 can go spend the night with his girlfriend and have sex (my parents both are very aware of it ) but nothing will be done about it and my other little brother who 14 can go out with his friends and smoke marijuana can still go out be with his friends. But when I ask if I can go out with my friends my parents say ” who, and where??” I tell them and they say no because the think they are a bad influence on me and don’t like how they have treated me in the past ( in the past was a year and a half ago) but my friend has changed and we both have quite smoking together and have been going to church when we can. What do I do??? I want to tell them that they are pushing me away but the last time I did. I was grounded and sent to my dads house for 3 weeks..

  • Aurum R.

    December 26th, 2015 at 5:49 AM

    Tell them how you feel. If they ground you or play any cards associated with narcissistic parenting, then call them out on it. If they play another card, then stand your ground and tell them that they are building their power, their relationship with you, on fear and deception. Call them out on their hypocrisy and don’t be afraid to give them a taste of their own medicine, such as banning them from entering your room or even grounding THEM for lack of respect and consistency, if it will make them realize the errors of their ways. Failing that, I recommend counselling for everybody.

  • Aurum R.

    December 26th, 2015 at 5:45 AM

    It saddens and angers me to read about how many children’s and young adults’ lives are being compromised by their parents and guardians. Playing the “do as I say, not as I do” card is a sign of narcissism and hypocrisy, while grounding is a sign of being unable to use logic and reason to settle the situation peacefully. Grounding is also a sign of cowardice, a temporary solution to a larger problem. These people must think back on their own youth and try to remember how THEY felt when these terrible, scarring sanctions were administered, and then they must wake up and face reality. It’s not too late. You can still change for the better. You just need to learn to swallow your pride.

  • Joline C

    February 23rd, 2016 at 5:47 PM

    As a novice practicioner I find any advice appreciated and great resources and posts are difficult to find.

  • Paige

    June 24th, 2016 at 1:32 AM

    I am 15 year old and since if been at this school I have seen people my ages smoking and leaving because they have become pregnant, i am not the one to judge, it is the desitions that they make and that they feel they are ableto make. it is illegal but i hear conversations that the parents give them cigarretes and alcaholletting them do what they want, i beilive i am growing faster and more mature than my peer group and others in my school- this has made me feel very isolated. My mum swears profusely and talks about drama in the family/ friendships a lot. this is her right and i respect that. I cant help but feel this site is aimed at all children/ teenages, i am extremely grateful for all that my mum has done for me and as a twin it is only normal to have fights every now and again. Not all parents are always right, for example, i askedif i could have vegatables with my dinner and she said no quite agresivly as ‘she had had loads yesterday’, i made the desition to ignore this as i believe i would like my health to be its greatest as i am currently going through GCSEs. this has happended on may occasions. Parents act on what they feel is right and what they feel is wrong and theycant be expected to be right all the time. I believe there are morals and imorals to arguments on both sides. for example i belive smoking, drinking alcohole and swearing is wrong and i have never done this. My mum also tells me i do not know anything because i am a child. this is totally wrong and i belive should be worded differently. i make the effort to do everything i can to hold a successful future and calling people my age children lowers self-esteem,this has taken my ability to communicate in social activities and i fear i will not be able to have the confidence to find a job. I have got t the point where i wish to move out and feel traped. My mum does not give me the power to do anything iwish, i come home and do my home work with revision often 8 hours a night with only dinner break. It is and understatement to say i try my best at school yet i am told to clean vigourously around the house. My boyfriend left our houseafter i had gotten to school. When i got home mum had told me to hover the whole house and tidy the kitchen (our house is quitr big ) and said that she had been tidying the house all day. My boyfriend said she had not moved since he got up at 10 till he left at 2 and mum pickes us up at 3. I stayed up untiln 11 completing my homework. Its not fair to judge young children i belive its nurture that reflects on a childs actions even from the peer groups at school.

  • Shelly

    August 20th, 2016 at 5:32 PM

    I’m always amazed when someone suggests ways to form a closer relationship with your children and points out their need for love and respect and security people freak out and get angry, “That’s all wrong. That’s why kids are so horrible today.” Where do they get that kindness, respect and love equal permissiveness. Not one word of this article suggest that you let your child do whatever they want and that you cater to their every whim. It’s actually just the opposite. All you have to do is look at a dog that is beaten down and screamed at to understand this. They don’t respect their owners, they fear them and rarely are they fully trainable because they are terrified of doing wrong. Most of the really great kids I know were all raised in homes where they were loved and respected, not issued demands and harsh punishments if they even thought something different than their parents.
    I had a mother who used to frequently say (in response to people saying they wanted their kids to grow up to be happy), “I don’t care if my kids are happy. I just want them to be good.” We did grow up to be good adults, very depressed adults, but we are all good respectful people. We’ve all attempted suicide. We’ve all been in therapy and we are all on antidepressants, but by God she demanded we be good and we are. My mother is dead and it makes me sad to think about the relationship we might have had if she had cared if her kids were happy. She never understood she could have good AND happy.

  • Willam

    August 28th, 2016 at 12:39 AM

    My dad treated me so poorly growing up that since I was 14 I’ve made it my goal in life to make him feel worthless, every time he says something I immediately do my best to prove him wrong in every way, I refuse to raise my voice and stoop to his level, instead I just smile and laugh at him whenever he gets angry and tries to fight me, when he hits me I just stand there and laugh while he does it, this is a very unhealthy relationship that I want to help everyone avoid if they can, so please respect your children a little bit so they don’t end up trying to make you miserable

  • mack

    October 3rd, 2016 at 9:59 PM

    coming from the mind of a kid- we are disrespected but you now what else bothers me, we have no imput whatso ever on what goes on in our lives. just because were under 18 doesnt mean we shouldnt have thoughts. i mean its our lives not my parents.

  • mack

    October 3rd, 2016 at 10:05 PM

    but what saddens me is that my mom and dad were kids once to. and well, it had to have rubbed of from somewhere

  • mack

    October 3rd, 2016 at 10:06 PM

    and adults are always saying don’t interupt me. well guess what you do it all the time. where do you think im learning it?!

  • Bryan B

    October 12th, 2016 at 10:03 PM

    Modern families contain parents who are more driven and focused on their careers and less focused on the success of their family. The problem arises when parents fail to teach their children the correct way of behaving toward adults.

  • Pat

    December 3rd, 2016 at 12:02 AM

    I have a 34 yr old son. My husband died when he was8. Who was an alcoholic . Probably spoiled him rotten , which I know is my fault. He has 2 kids and wife. I am always there , when his children were born,, was there maybe a little late, but I am 6 hrs away. I feel not only does he not respect but does not care. Had a flood had my house, I means pipes froze I had water almost everywhere, did he ask if I needed help,
    Last thankgiving he was at my house asked if he could give a personalized ornament to one of his friends for Christmas When iI asked he had taken gift, Said he was too busy! Then hung up on me. Now in Sept was my 70 bd. No card, no gift which is usually fine but this was my 70th I expected something more than a call. In feb took a trip to Spain, do u think I would have a call and returned to no call. Does he care?? Need advice!!!

  • William

    December 19th, 2016 at 11:37 PM

    My girlfriend wants me to spank her 2 daughters (5 and 8) but I don’t want to do it the way she does. She uses a belt and takes off all their clothes (including underwear). She whips them very hard and very long, sometimes 20-30 or more lashes! They are very well behaved but I think this kind of spanking hurts too much. I am also uncomfortable being around the girls when they are naked. I hope I can influence her to discipline differently, but she insists I must spank them this way too. What should I do?

  • Paige

    December 28th, 2016 at 3:39 AM

    I’m pretty sure that is abuse. I would get help perhaps contact someone that can help her with the issues she is trying to face. If they are well behaved in your opinion then this doesn’t set a very good example for children they may have in the future.

  • SS

    February 6th, 2017 at 11:44 AM

    I’m 24 years old and have suffered from generalized anxiety disorder and depression. I am the first generation in the USA and my parents have worked long and hard to give me the things I have today. However, with that said, I respect and applaud them for creating a life in which I can thrive in but I do not respect their means of disciplining me. They are racists, egocentric, individuals that know how to be responsible financially but not emotionally. I’ve been abused by both my mother and father for not following traditional norms, for having male friends, for having friends outside of my race throughout my life. I couldn’t focus on school as much as I’d like because they consistently would put me down, criticize me, complain about what I did to maintain my happiness, and wouldn’t give me any room to breath or learn from my mistakes. They were over controlling, constantly hovering, and didn’t teach me the value of making my own independent choices. Now I have a hard time trusting myself to make choices for me, choices that would help my future, and overall being true to myself. I wasn’t taught to respectfully stand up for myself. Because I’m engaged in my homework or other priorities, they think I’m abusing them. They use threats such as saying “I brought you into this world, I can take you out” when to be quite honest, I didn’t ask to be born. I became very suicidal and depressed because I couldn’t relate or connect to anyone about what I was going through. They call me a liar, when they haven’t created a safe place to tell the truth. They told me that no one would want to marry me because I am not compliant to do what they want when they want. Both mom and dad see the other person in me, and constantly berate and abuse me physically and emotionally. But instead of holding themselves accountable for how they feel and what they do, they take it out on me. For example, my sister was being hit because her garbage can was dirty. Isn’t that what garbage cans are for? My mom isn’t happy because no one cleans as obsessively as her. It seems to me that my parents are more interested in maintaining the norms instead of cultivating relationships that are genuine with their kids. Because of the abuse I’ve been through, I allowed myself to be abused by other men, physically and emotionally. The only thing that gives me solice is the comfort of knowing that one day I will have a happy healthy marriage with children and I’ll do my best to support and nuture them into being great and phenomenal people.

  • Aurum R

    February 14th, 2017 at 1:39 PM

    I’ve been seeing quite a few comments where people have been playing the classic authority/ownership card – your house, your rules. Allow me to make a few corrections: Yes, it is your house (legally), but your children (whether infant, adolescent or adult) also have a right to a say, so it’s your house, everyone’s rules – cohabitations are supposed to be democratic.

  • Maureen

    March 1st, 2017 at 2:18 PM

    I totally agree with this. My parents always demand respect in return but they never respected me. They don’t respect me enough to listen to what I have to say and what they say goes. They are also very controlling parents.

  • Anonymous

    April 8th, 2017 at 9:30 AM

    If I tell my case, we are three children 2 daughters and 1 son(only Son) of my parents. From the very beginning i started understanding the things i.e. families financial condition I did anything anything or everything which was required to support my parents. I remember that I even gave every single penny that i collected in my piggy bank that i used to collect in my childhood days whenever they needed and truly speaking i never spent anything from that on my own. I had always supported my Dad in my childhood days too wherever required in his business. As I came into job too I supported my parents in any or every way. But it is always said time doesn’t always remains good for a person and so was with me too. There was a time when my mind wasn’t silent because day and night there were cases happening with me which didn’t even let me sleep at nights. But then too i was handling the other half that is my family half just away from every thing and trying to do anything required at the best for them. But yes It is said that the disturbance somewhere makes an impact on your personal life some times. So did happened with me. And my most dear father who knew everything happening with me on the other front, didn’t supported me and said that it is only your daily thing. Rather than discussing the issues/problems with me he started separating out from me.
    Is this what should be done with children when they love you the most throughout their life. Then why is it always said that children’s are wrong. Why?

  • Chuks

    April 12th, 2017 at 9:25 AM

    I hear you mr anonymous, like me, you have very selfish parents. please do not be so downcast. children are not always wrong. I refer to Ephesians 6:4 and it says Fathers, (Parents) do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

  • Chuks

    April 12th, 2017 at 9:33 AM

    So, i advice you ignore them and wait and look upon the Lord like i am doing right now. in my case they insisted that my wife is a witch craft and i must send her packing. i refused to divorce a woman that through her, God gave me four lovely kids. is this one disobedience/disrespect or selfish interest? Please i need an answer.

  • adam

    May 14th, 2017 at 10:29 AM

    I think while this article seems positive and light showing , it is loaded with wrong Ideals .
    Everyone nowadays has this new age parenting style. ” think what the child is feeling” ” respect the child” ”
    “understand the child” ” treat them with respect no matter what” ” love them unconditionally ”
    The very last one is the toughest. It must have come from new age parent thinking. Loving a child no matter how they are, if it be disrespectful towards you or your spouse ( non biological parent) or BD should be handled properly . If the children don’t listen or manage to forget what they were told to do yet get mad when you repeat yourself then they clearly remembered having an exchange of words regarding the matter ( chore or ” do not ” list) that you had set them up with. Not punishing a child is the worst thing you can do . They will just sit there and assume ” oh mommy will just talk to me but not take things away , I can deal with this… ” whether children have many things that they can call theres or not, you should take things away. even if that means you take everything away. put a child in a situation they don’t like . do it. only praise a kid when they do what they were told . don’t be a new age parent.

  • Same

    May 18th, 2017 at 11:50 PM

    I think that a lot of people are misinterpreting this article. It’s not trying to excuse excessively rude behavior that is clearly disrespectful. To me, this article pertains to teenage children and adult children. I’m surprised that I came across this article, because I typically have a hard time finding other people who feel the same way as I do. I am an 18 year old college student and I still live with my mother. She is always using the excuse of how she pays the bills and how I live under her roof to speak to me disrespectfully. Whenever she speaks to me, it’s always in a demanding tone which makes me feel as if I don’t have a say in anything. And whenever I try to calmly express my feelings to her she takes it as a sign of disrespect, when that is in no ways my intention. Just because parents provide for their child doesn’t give them a right to treat them any kind of way; the child didn’t ask to be born and cost you money for the rest of your life, so that shouldn’t be something to hang over their heads every time there’s a disagreement. I had a disagreement with my mother today, because she has been asking me for the past week if I remembered to take my vitamins. She insists she asks because she cares about me and my health, but I feel as if it’s a sign of distrust. And I decided to share my feelings with her today (and I will admit that I said it in a sassy way), and she pulled the “its my house” excuse in a yelling voice. I acknowledge that I shouldn’t have raised my voice in the first place, but let’s be honest if someone asks you the same thing every day it starts to get annoying. There was another instance where she had opened my mail and got upset because I asked her not to. And I think I’m entitled to the privacy of my mail especially since I don’t open hers ever without her permission. Parents are supposed to be role models and I think it’s unfair that I am unable to express my opinion/feelings in any way without being threatened to be kicked out or guilt tripped about living in the house. I 100% agree with this article and I have read all of the comments, and I appreciate everyone who understands the viewpoint of the child. Also I have a question: My mother never advocated the importance of chores, cooking, and cleaning to me or in our lives in general so today I don’t really have any of those skills. And recently my mother has been trying to instill those traits in me and she nags at me about how I never help out around the house, but she’s never asked me to/required me to do any of those things before so I din’t have the urge to do so. I feel bad for not helping out, but at the same time I don’t really “know” how to (if that makes sense). I just want to see what other people think about this. Am I entitled to fulfill her demands or not?

    *I know that I’ll probably come off as just a bratty kid to, but these are just my feelings and maybe another person in my position will be able to relate.*

  • James B.

    July 25th, 2017 at 8:54 AM

    I do relate. As a child, my parents, well educated, open minded people, didn’t believe children should be treated with respect. That was because they were raised with little mutual respect themselves. I understand what you are talking about and you should talk to a professional about child abuse. Always try and talk to your mother in a calm, helpful tone. Explain to her nicely why you think she is being unfair. I don’t offer proffessional help, but I can voice an outsiders opinion, one with lots of experience.

  • Emma

    June 16th, 2017 at 4:06 AM

    I think I could cry right now. I have this issue with my Dad who’s demanding that I respect him over and over in many little ways and big ways but has not done much to nurture that respect. Over the years of underfunded child supports, hateful comments about my Mother for reasons she can’t help, for near-neglect and for allowing his new wife to put my self-esteem and confidence through a blender multiple times I’ve lost all respect for him as a person and a parent, and I despair over the fact that we’re blood related. He’s consistently told me that I’m not his equal and that I never will be his equal, that one day he’ll be a weak old man and I’ll be stronger than him and then we still won’t be equal. He treats me like a child when I’m trying to be independent and tells me to act like an adult when I (rarely) depend on him. I’m too scared to stand up to him and I’m too scared to cut him out of my life too (divorced parents). But I’m so so so happy that it’s not just me being a bad daughter and that there’s actually an opinionated disconnect between us. This article is a definition of all I’ve ever wanted from my Dad, and thank you thank you thank you for writing it so that I now know that I’m not just a horrible daughter and that I value true mutual respect.

  • Travis

    July 20th, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    My step dad always makes me say yes sir and no sir to him and yes ma’am and no ma’am to my mom. Actually, I have to answer all adults with yes sir or yes ma’am. I don’t like it but I have no choice in the matter. My step dad is really strict and he won’t budge on this topic.

  • Point of view

    August 25th, 2017 at 3:09 PM

    Thank you for the article. However, I don’t fully agree with everything in the article. I believe that Adults should be granted an higher level of respect from their children. Adults should respect children, but on a lower scale. If it was an equal respect, than parents/adults would not be able to properly discipline their children or children would not properly adhere to the discipline of the parent/adults. We are equal on how we are valued, but on the standings of authority here, it is not and it shouldn’t be. Thank you.

  • Reece's Pieces

    September 3rd, 2017 at 7:50 PM

    Point of View, I disagree that there should be different levels of respect based on being either an adult or a child. Respect is respect regardless of age. It is earned, both ways, and has absolutely nothing to do with discipline, outside of the receiving party being better able to understand it and therefore more effective. Respect is purely about relationship between two individuals, regardless of who holds the authority, age, etc.

  • kaidence

    April 9th, 2018 at 6:44 AM

    this is a good thing to learn from.Parents should’nt get so hard on kids because the kids just ask a guestion or say something just say yes,no or idk.

  • Sharon

    May 1st, 2019 at 1:02 PM

    I don’t know where to turn. My daughter and her children moved in 7 years ago. My grandson was 6 now 13. We have conversations about anything he wants to discuss. He doesn’t have everything he wants but he has what is considered basic stuff for this generation. He is smart, athletic but his disrespect for authority is almost unmanageable. We restrict privileges it works for a while, then we are back at it. I can tell at times when he is really trying and feels bad about things he has done or said But yet he if things don’t go the way he feels they should its a problem , it can be as simple as the way I choose to go to the grocery store. Or the instructions for a group project at school.

  • lilly

    July 9th, 2019 at 2:45 PM

    I feel for all of you as I had an argument with my father this afternoon. we don’t have much of an relationship anymore as throughout my teen years I was berated after berated. yes, I whole heartedly agree children should obey and respect there parents but it SHOULD ALLSO BE RECIPORATED AS WELL. back to the story, so my dad was yelling at me in a nonpolite manner saying he was going to spank on akll over my body or whatever, then he started to treat me as two and ask does he speak English so I understand. at that moment I broke and walkec away from the conversation so I don’t do something nutty. but what my father failed to understand thart it is my falt getting this in this predictement and now he’s trying to kick me out

  • lilly

    July 9th, 2019 at 2:49 PM

    and also pls answer this reply and prayer and asking God through difficult situations like this Really helps.

  • Travis

    February 5th, 2020 at 7:42 AM

    We recently went to my step dad’s bosses house for dinner. When we got there my step dad’s boss was giving his kids (3 teenage boys) really short military style haircuts on the front porch. My step dad asked his boss to cut my hair the same way he was cutting/buzzing his kids hair. I started crying because I like my hair the way it is. I freaked out because I was not asked or told anything about this. If I knew he was going to make me do this I would have refused to go. My step dad was yelling at me and forced me into the chair. My head is shaved so close it looks terrible. My girlfriend hates it. I’m so tired of having to yes sir and no sir him. He wants me to be just like his bosses sons. Military haircuts and military manners all the time. What should I do? My mom sides with him on everything. I will say that as long as I comply with all his rules, then he is really nice to me.

  • Stefano

    June 8th, 2020 at 2:54 PM

    Tell your mother how you feel… gently, if possible. Organise a sit-down meeting with her and your stepfather, and try to draw some common house rules for ALL of you to abide by. Make them aware. If they still act in their current manner towards you, then it gives me no pleasure in saying this… but spare them no respect until they show it to you.

  • P

    July 17th, 2020 at 8:24 AM

    I totally agree with this. My parents always demand respect in return but they never respected me. They don’t respect me enough
    to listen to what I have to say and what they say goes. They are also very controlling parents.

  • Caroleann

    October 21st, 2020 at 4:13 PM

    Thank you for putting this out there. I agree with your opinion and I hope more people would come to agree with this as well.

    Every parent in this world strives to do the best they can to raise a good child. From controlling toddler tantrums to managing their teenage years, they can be a constant challenge.

    Have a nice day!

  • Caroleann

    November 30th, 2020 at 12:59 PM

    I can’t simply go without leaving a comment. This post is a great read.

    Parents play the most crucial part in childhood development, which shows the most impact once the child grows up.

  • asap1

    February 18th, 2021 at 10:00 AM

    yeah the my house my rule card is extremely annoying what they purposfully dont mention is that you have a right to live in their house untill your 18 we didnt ask to be born it was their decision or lack theroff or in some parents veiw mistake

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