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Respect -- It's Earned, Not Given. What Hogwash!

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A young person said to me, "respect is earned, not given". This was in context of respect between parents and children. My 1st response was "hell, no". My second and third responses, and every response thereafter were the same.

I however decided to leverage my friend, Google, to find out "public opinion" on the topic. But a couple of quick disclaimer first; a majority doesn't make a wrong, right; and I don't seek majority votes if my inner voice tells me I'm on the path of right".

Well, to my complete "lack" of surprise, sure enough there were NUMEROUS images and quotes about people talking about respect "needing to be earned, not given". Some posts were so outrageous that I wanted to go find the people posting them and shake them until their teeth rattled.

And so I surmised that this topic is quite complicated.

This blog would become SEVERAL pages long if I were to dissect the "RESPECT" issue from the perspective of various relationships such as the employee and the boss, the brand and its consumers, the teacher and the student, and so on. Yes, teachers deserve respect, no matter what. No brands don't deserve respect automatically, they must earn it, and so on and on.

But this blog is about the word respect in the context of the relationship between parents and their kids.

Now, first, I exclude all parents who are NOT fit to be parents from this conversation. My opinion below is strictly based on parents who love their children, who want to show them the right path, and who want to make sure that their children become good human beings. So, here goes.

Parents have to make UNPOPULAR decisions all the time. Here are just a handful of examples:

  • "No, you will only take one candy instead of a handful from the candy dish (at the doctor's). Yes, it's free, but it's not good for you."
  • "No, I will not give you100 to buy pot. Yes, I know it appears as if it has many benefits, and many states are regulating it, but I am the mother/father and I don't believe in encouraging pot usage in my children."
  • "Yes, you must get home by 11, because you are 18, it's my home, and you are my dependent, and cause I say so"
  • "No, you may NOT sleepover at so-and-so's. Why? Cause I said so dammit"
  • "You did WHAT? OMG, you are so grounded until you are 30!"
  • And on and on. If you are a parent, you know exactly what I am talking about. In my 27 years of being a parent, I've said all that and more, and more than once.
Now all the above could potentially be taken as "you don't respect" me. But when you are a dependent to your parents, they tell you what needs to be done, and you do it.

(Again, if your hackles are getting raised here, read my disclaimer above about what kind of parents I'm eluding to in this post.)

I grew up in India, and forget words, one glance from my dad was enough to make me sit my ass down and shut up. But nowadays, kids want "respect" and want to give "conditional respect" to the ones who gave them birth. And that's perhaps cause we've gone from being a parent to our children; to wanting to be their friend.

We're parents. We're not in a popularity contest.

Yes, I know that parents are not always right. Parents are not always infallible. But I know that parental intentions are ALWAYS true. It was so with my parents, and it is so with my husband and I.

So all those kids who hide behind "Respect has to be earned, not given" when their actions are questionable, their behavior is rude, their decisions are suspect, their friends are more important than their parents, and they think "respect" means parents agreeing to everything regardless of consequences; read my lips:

When it comes to parenting, it's not a democracy. And if you don't agree, wait till YOU are the parent! Karma is a b****!!!