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Fed Up With Disrespectful Parents

Updated on May 4, 2010

 Yeah,  you read that right.  Disrespectful parents.  I daily witness interactions between parents and children, and I find that parents who respect their children are a rare breed.  No wonder we have so many anxious, depressed, and angry adolescents.  Not to mention disrespectful.  If a child is disrespectful, he often takes the blame for it.  But what makes a child so disrespectful?  Is it the child's natural inclination, or does it come from years of being disrepected by adults? 

I have witnessed so much disdain for children that it breaks my heart.  People treat children in ways they would never dream of treating an adult. 

Parents Lie to Children

I work in a health clinic where children are weighed and receive finger pokes to check hemoglobin status.  Almost 100% of parents lie to their kids. The child, upon realizing that he is about to get poked, starts to cry and get upset.  The parents almost ALWAYS say, "Oh, it's not going to hurt."  Why?!  Of course it's going to hurt!  The child knows it; he's gotten poked before.  Sure, he'll be upset even if you tell him the truth about the pain, but it's better to tell the truth than to lie. 

If you lie to your child about whether a shot will hurt, he will begin to not trust you.  Then he will be scared about everything.  Because you haven't been truthful with him, he won't ever know what is safe and what is not safe.  I firmly believe that is why so many children are afraid to get weighed.  All they have to do is stand on a scale, but some kids are absolutely petrified.  They scream and cry and refuse to stand.  I don't believe this would happen if parents told kids the truth about what is going to happen at the doctor's office.

Parents Deny the Validity of Their Children's Thoughts/Feelings

Even more upsetting is the way parents talk to their children. They ridicule and belittle them. Now, most of the children I work with are under the age of 5, and these poor kids just can't win for anything. No matter how they act, their parents ridicule them. For example, a child is upset because she's getting a finger poke. First, the parent lies to the child about the pain. Then, the parent gets upset and sometimes yells at the child for crying. The parent acts as though the child is intentionally misbehaving, when the child is actually scared. Lying to the child about the pain will not help, as the child knows it will hurt. Yelling at the child will not help, as the child cannot control her fear response. The child needs to be told the truth and then comforted as much as possible throughout the procedure and after the procedure.

When the finger poke is over, many children are understandably still upset and often still crying. Many parents will get angry, and tell their children "It's over. Stop crying." Or, "See?  All that crying for nothing."  But the child is not crying for nothing.  There is a reason.  The parents are telling the child that he shouldn't be feeling the way he's feeling, that his reaction is bad, that they are upset with him for having the feelings he has. There is no comfort offered, and the parents appear to have much disdain for their own children. What a horrible and isolating experience for such a young child.

Another one that gets me is "See, your little sister didn't even cry."  First of all, babies cry less often than older children, as they often don't know what's about to happen.  Older children have been to the doctor several times, and they know the drill.  They have a lot of time to think about and anticipate what will happen, and therefore are more scared than the younger child.  But secondly, why are these parents trying to make their children feel bad about themselves, to dash their self esteem at such a young age?  Even the older kids we see are no more than 4 years old.  One time, a mom was thoroughly disgusted with her child, who was just shy of his third birthday.  She ridiculed him, saying, "How are you going to go to school acting like that?  Do you want all the kids to laugh at you?"  What the hell?  Did this mom actually think her child is the only one who cries about pokes/shots?

Worse yet, there was an incident in which a mom was upset with her child because she had been crying all morning after being told they were going to the clinic that day. The mom kept saying that there was no reason to be upset. Then, after the poke was over, this poor child was finally smiling. Her mom still ridiculed her, saying "Why aren't you still crying? I thought your finger hurt." Good lord. If the child had still been crying, the mom would be mad about that. Now that the child was happy, the mom was ridiculing her. This child just couldn't win, no matter how she acted.

I bet that's how a lot of children feel - like they just can't win.  And if they can't, then why even try?

What Parents Should Do Instead

Always tell the truth to your children, please. If you want to have a good relationship, you must tell the truth, just as in any adult relationship. You child will not trust you, and won't tell you the truth, if you don't tell the truth with him. You don't have to go into details that are inappropriate for the child's age, but still find something truthful to say.

Secondly, please respect your child as you would an adult. Validate their feelings.  Listen to what they have to say.  Don't ever make fun of them, mock them, or ridicule them. It's okay for them to feel what they feel. If you are upset about something, the last thing you would want is for someone to tell you that you're overeacting or that your feelings are stupid. So don't do it to your kids.

Don't expect your child to respect you simply because you're an adult. If you want your child to repect you, you must first respect him. You are the model for him to follow. You must act as you want your child to act. If you don't respect him, your child will quickly become frustrated, resentful and/or suffer from low self-esteem, and parenting will become much more difficult.


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      food stamps. 2 years ago

      From me. Not for me. My ex receives child support from me.

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      Lisa 3 years ago

      Thanks for posting the article. Growing up as the middle child, I felt very unloved because of the abuse I received from my parents. I wasn't the favorite daughter and I know I could never shine in their eyes, so I became my own cheerleader, but this took years. My father was put up for adoption when he was five years old and remembers the transaction or the process. His real mom & the woman that adopted them were frenemies. All the hatred he held for his real mom he took out on me. He would slap my face and my nose would bleed. When I was a " little girl" I didn't want to eat eggs one morning for breakfast, he chased me through the house, jumped over a sofa just to give me the beating of my life. My mom was no different, she's from the school of "your husband does what he does and you remain married". I didn't look, talk or behave like my parents or my sisters and for that I suffered many years of physical, emotional and psychological abuse. I took the brunt for the woman that put my dad up for adoption. By accident, I knocked my sisters food over onto the floor and my mother called me "dirty mouth fuck". It's was horrible. This treatment from my parents created a precedent in the household whereas my sisters were physically abusive toward me as well. I was smart, sometimes I'd yell back in defense of myself when my mom would go into a rant about respecting her. I told her she had no respect for me and that was something she didn't believe in. She felt entitlement as a mother to do with you just as she pleased, the old school, backward, ignorant way. I'm almost fifty years old now, with a wonderful and understanding husband and daughter. But as Paul McCarthy put its been a "long and winding road".

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      Luna 3 years ago

      After years of being told I was too stupid to go to college and become what I wanted to be (Artist, Teacher, Nurse), I lacked talent, I was too lazy to study, I would never make anything of myself, or the worse yet: Use your looks to get by in life (this coming from a woman who dropped out of school because she had to get married), I'm now the caregiver of the same parent who still uses and abuses me. She demands respect, but never returns it. She demands appreciation (for what?), but never shows her appreciation. She still ridicules, insults, and talks down to me. Even though her own mother has been gone for years, she has never spoken a kind word of her, in fact most of what she says about her own mother is so unkind and vicious (she shows the same sentiments about her late husband) that it sometimes shocks me that this woman raised 5 children. Sadly, she only pretended to be maternal while we were children. I realize that she didn't really raise us. She screamed and belittled us into growing up without ever showing any examples of responsibility, respectfulness, or affection. Now that she's a senior, she paints a pretty picture of what our childhood was like, not realizing that we all grew into adults with some serious issues. She shows the same indifference to her grandchildren. I lacked the confidence to educate myself until I was 50 years old, while divorcing my 4th husband. Yes, I have commitment issues, but at least I'm not like my sister with substance abuse issues, or my wife-abusing brother, or my passive older sister. I made the choice to care for my mother during her final years, not because I was instilled with a great sense of loyalty or the virtues of patience, these are things I taught myself, but because it's the right thing to do. If my siblings had a choice, she would be in a nursing home. I wish all young parents could see how they interact with their children, hear the things they say to them, and understand that the examples they set for them can shape the generations who follow them.

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      Essie 3 years ago

      Egypta -

      What FreezeFrame34 was saying was that they were grateful their mother did not go that route. My mother has been disrespectful, verbally, emotionally and psychologically abusive (and when we were toddlers / pre-adolescents, also physically) and to this day, despite confronting her about past traumas, still tries to pulls the 'disrespectful child' card despite the fact I'm almost thirty.

      By recognizing the positive reward of her own experience, FreezeFrame34 is doing nothing wrong. In fact, I'm happy for her. I think we all wish ours had done the same.

      Being a controlling, insensitive bully does not a good parent make.

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      Egypta 3 years ago


      I believe this blog is to relate to people with disrespectful, abusive parents, rather than to brag about ones happy rainbow mommy life. Just saying.

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      mommy now 3 years ago

      Thanks for writing this. I too observe the irony that parents try to instill good values in their kids by being disprespectful and dishonest to them, then wonder why it backfires. Kids aren't that dumb, they see that things aren't right. My mom was a gym teacher, and she thought I should just skip all that nonsense kid stuff and just "Grow up already!" She tried to conform me through conditioning my opinions and interests with punishment and reward. She even told me what my favorite color was supposed to be. I was labeled with a behavior disorder when I was very young for being bossy and anitsocial towards other kids. Just where does my mother think I learned that nasty behavior from? I think she threw more tantrums than I did, but she was somehow excused from her behavior because she was an adult. There is such a thing as bad moms. I am in my 30's now and she still tries to control everything from how I do my job at work to what color of clothes my daughter wears and she doesn't see anything wrong with it because she "knows best". Give it up!

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      stephanie 4 years ago

      i know you guys feel, and honestly ive left this article up on the computer screen so my mom might have the chance of reading it (with no luck yet). my mother says she "respects" me by doing things i need to get done that i don't have time for, like running a few of my errands every now and then. Which i do appreciate by the way! and actually, this is NOT respect. This is doing someone a nice favor. Respect is your atittude toward someone, in which her attidute toward everyone in my family is just plain mean and disrespectful. She talks about my fathers mom and dad in a negative way, how she wants a divorce from my dad (which she has said more times than i can count on both my fingers and toes), how dad dosnt bring in enough $ (which he does) how he goes fishing ALL THE TIME...we ALL have hobbies and things we like to do - so God for bid one of us does something she dosnt like or agree with. We all have our own ways we like to do things as well, and my mom calls me OCD because i like to do my own thing, my own way. When i do these things, they arnrt hurting or disrupting anything or anyone whatsoever in the house. She degrades me and my dad, and my little brother, saying that we are a worthless fa,ily and she wishes she was divorced. I wish she would devorce my dad, because bless his heart he is the only man in the whole world to put up with her constant BS! She has a problem or a smart a** comment about anything one of us says or does. No one can joke around her because she has no sense of humor, gets raging mad, and takes everything the wrong way, as if we were insulting something she did or said. When she gets mad at me, she takes my keys, takes everything out of my car, throws it ALL OVER MY ROOM, then threans to sell my car. Bitch i pay for it! But its all bluffing. I think she says these things to get us to feel bad for her, but its not working with me anymore. Im 18 now and ive been putting up with it my whole life, and im sick of it! I have lost all respect for the woman. Whenever we are getting along good, ill say something that she takes the wring way and BOOM! explosion. So im tired of it. Im not trying to be nice anymore to her beause whenerv i do, it blows up in my face. I want her to move out so our house can be peaceful. If it was just my dad, brother and I, my life would be perfect! I know it sounds mean to say, but its true. i,m not ready to move out with my boyfriend yet, because i feel im not ready as of now. Maybe in a year or so, but i don't want to rush things between him and I. All i can do is sit in my room all day because i don't wanna be around her. Then she comes in asks me what's wrong and if i tell her, she gets pissed and trys to tell me MY OPINION IS WRONG! like what kind of mother tells her kid that? She asked me if i wanted to go on vacation with the family including her this summer and i said no, because all they do is fight and argue when shes around and that's exactly what i said to her. then she gets mad saying its not true we don't fight....WHAT! yes we freaken do all the time. Sooo basically from this i have problems when it comes to venting my feelings about this bc whenever i have vented before ive been told i was wrong about everything that i feel. I do not like my mother at all she is a disrepectful witch to her whole family. and i CANNOT WAIT to move my butt outta my house!!! That was alot to write but i feel better now that i have vented all my feelings to this computer screen. You guys should try it!

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      danny 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for understanding us. I hope everybody reads this. People should be prepared to be parents. They should be responsible people. Anyway, IMO, I think if you really love somebody, the question of responsibility wouldn't even arise. Why? Because if you love someone a lot, you would want the best for them. Not what you think is best, but the best for them. Best for their future, or in this case we would want the best for their emotional development (especially the little children). Because when I was young, I got abused a lot. So I know how it feels. They pretend to be nice in front of others, they belittle little children in front of others, they make us look bad when instead we are just acting naturally when you get sad. To much to tell. To much pain. I just hope other children get a better life with their parents.

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      pamama 5 years ago

      Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I just had a knock-down drag-out with my mother (almost literally). I have children of my own now and I spent probably fifteen minutes trying to explain to my mother how her behavior with them made me feel undermined and disrespected. She just shrugged me off and told me that to fix it all I had to do was do things her way. Same with myself. My hair, my clothes, my house, my laundry, my dishes, everything. Every time my mother's ever given me a compliment it's always been because I did something the way she would, or the way she told me to do it. More often I get negative feedback from her because I haven't done something (especially my appearance) the way she wanted me to. Today I'd had enough and I wouldn't drop it. When I came right out and said that her ignoring the way she made me feel was hurtful she laughed at me, got right up in my face, and told me not to come to her house and be disrespectful. I was so hurt by her cavalier attitude that I pushed her away from me. Long story short, I was quickly dismissed and then received a bunch of manipulative emails trying to guilt me into apologizing for asserting myself with her. Story of my life. My girls (twins, 4 months old) are napping now and I googled "disrespectful mother" in search of some solace and comfort. Almost every link returned offers advice to mothers on how to deal with "disrespectful daughters."

      One of the biggest things in my house (until my mother left my father and I, replacing us with a new boyfriend and his kids) was respect. I was taught that I had to respect everyone, especially adults, no matter what, always. No questions asked. But no one ever taught me that I ought to demand as much respect as I was expected to dole out. It's led me to be molested as a child (I wouldn't have dreamed of saying "no," after all), treated poorly by peers and in romantic relationships, and it's led me to doubt and disgust myself as an adult.

      I can promise right now that if I do nothing else as a parent, I'll teach my daughters the importance of demanding the respect that I expect them to show others. It nauseates me to hear mothers talk about their "disrespectful" children in one breath, then turn right around in the next and dismiss or belittle them. These mothers are simply getting exactly what's coming to them. Children learn by watching the examples they're given. I plan to set a good one.

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      mookie36170892611 5 years ago

      I agree with all of you because I can relate. People like to talk about the kids being the disrespectful ones. It's good to know that somebody had the guts to address this forbidden topic. I'm in my late 20s and my parents, especially my father give me a lot of crap for not living up to his expectations. He tries to take away what makes me happy and act like he doesn't understand why I don't like him. He's always demanding respect but doesn't show me any respect by disregarding what I have to say or my feelings.

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      FreezeFrame34 5 years ago from Charleston SC

      My mother always told me that she would always tell me the truth and she expected the same in return. She also NEVER made a promise she couldn't keep. I learned a lot from her and trusted her with my whole heart. I treat my daughter like my mother treated me. If you want to be respected, then you have to show it too.

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      FreezeFrame34 5 years ago from Charleston SC

      My mother always told me that she would always tell me the truth and she expected the same in return. She also NEVER made a promise she couldn't keep. I learned a lot from her and trusted her with my whole heart. I treat my daughter like my mother treated me. If you want to be respected, then you have to show it too.

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      Seana 5 years ago

      I love this article. I wish my mother knew all this! It has got so bad with all her ridiculing, criticizing and disrespecting me that once I move to England for university, I'm never coming back because I don't want to see her anymore. No matter what I do for her I haven't done it right. And the best about it is that she never says anything to my little sister(age 15) even though she never leaves the house and I'm never here to do much. She spoils my little sister and won't even give me £3 to get something to eat when I'm out.

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      Juan Gomez 5 years ago

      My dad is a disrespectful, abusing, spiting (on me), evil, unholy, rude, fool. I really hate him.

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      key 6 years ago

      I love this article, i always here about disrespecting kids , but never the parents . Sometimes these parents would even throw bible verses at there kids. But these same parents would never read the verse that comes after children obey your parents . The one that says parents don't lead your kids to wrath. No adult parent never reads that part. All in all i love this article and keep it up. It brings hope.

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      nikki 6 years ago

      canislupis13 i totally understand now imagine if the stepmom was your real mom that's what i deal with.

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      Kads 6 years ago

      This relates to my life situation perfectly. I have always been told I am disrespectful, but how could I as a kid be responsible for how my behavior developed? My parents are from the third world and clearly didn't know how to bring me up. Now im 26 years old and still they belittle me and lower my self esteem with the way they speak to me. Im not treated like an adult and they wonder why I avoid them!

      If you want your children - no matter what their age - to treat you with respect, you need to treat them with respect as well. Its a 2-way relationship.

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      kyblueyes 6 years ago

      Several years ago my younger sister was diagnosed with leukemia. (She's okay now - cancer free for almost 2 years.) If we had lied to her about any part of the treatment process she would never have trusted us the next time she had a procedure done. Kids need honesty but they also need the comforting arms of their family to get them through shots, pokes, or other procedures. I can't even imagine making fun of my little sister for what she went through. She handled the pain & procedures a lot better than I would have.

      I can't imagine doing your job. I don't think I'd be able to keep my mouth shut when dealing with these "disrespectful parents".

      Thanks for sharing this article. Voted up!

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      chocolate 6 years ago

      finally i found an article that blames the parents instead of kids, and yeah i dislike my parents and sometimes i hate them for being like that parents of today are very freaky and old-fashioned, things arent gonna be resolved with verba, violence, curses and backbiting your kids, ignorant bitches

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      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To HeatherVegRD: Great hub! The average parents believe that the "art" to being parents is power play. Their thought is not to guide children nor to respect them for the beautiful individuals they are but to mold them into the parents' likeness and to control them.

      The average parents, like it or not, are subconsiously abusive to their children. The average parents believe that their children have no rights nor say because they are children and know little. The average parents feel that they are "better" than their children. The average parents talk down or at, but not to their children. Forget about listening, the average parents often discount what their children have to say especially if they have different opinions than that of the parents.

      However, I believe that parents in my generation (Baby Boomer) and younger tend to listen to our children more than the older generations, especially the G.I. (World War II) generation who believed that they are right all the time and that younger people were misguided, unknowledgeable, or just plain wrong. That was why the Generation Gap occurred in the 1960s. I remember I used to argue with my parents constantly because they were so atavistic while I was a very unconventional person.

      My father remarked that I was nothing like them. Thank God, because if I was, I would be a boring drone. Great hub, I liked it immensely.

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      Gemma Penn 7 years ago

      Having suffered ridicule from my parents, particularly my mother, for as long as I can remember, I know the consequences this kind of treatment towards a child can have first hand.

      If I was at a party with my parents I would be told, right there on the dance floor, that I was dancing weirdly and should dance "more like this". As I became older and interested in quirky, bohemian fashion I would have my outfits literally belly-laughed at when I attempted to show them off. My feelings have never been taken into account or validated and I've been made to feel ashamed and disgusted by my own feelings.

      So please please listen to your children and build them up instead of knocking them down. Always make time for them and be tactful and constructive. Otherwise, chances are you'll end up with a destructive, disrespectful, angry introverted and/or depressed child with cripplingly low self esteem that will carry over long into adulthood.

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      Cierah 7 years ago

      Oh my goodness thank you so much for this. Finally someone gets us. When parents act like that it only gets worse as the kid gets older. At 7 I was so self conscience because my mother always yelled at me saying I walked funny. Then when I got older she hated that I didn't like talking(after years of being told I was wrong whenever I talked at home). Then after that she hated that I was antisocial. Its just a depressing cycle of ridiculousness.

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      canislupis13 7 years ago

      I love this article. My parents are divorced and I have a stepmother who always told me I was disrespectful and who would tell me in round-about-ways that she thought I was a spoiled little brat. Her own daughter is about the laziest, most spoiled kid on the planet.

      No matter what I did, she had a problem with it. I always got straight A's in school. She would even twist this around. If I couldn't figure something out, she would say "Straight A student!" My dad never did anything, why I don't know.

      I distanced myself from everyone except my mom and my friends, spending most of my time in my room. I didn't want to be around my stepmother. She was just very disrespectful to me, calling me "Little Princess" and "Genius". She would tell me she was the adult and I was a child, so I had to respect her and do what she told me. And yet she would lecture for half and hour about me being disrespectful to her. So I love your part about not treating kids differently just because you're an adult.

      I never disrespected anyone but her. Not my dad, my mom, my teachers, neighbors, no one. Maybe that should have told her something.

      So all in all, good article about a problem that needs to be adressed. Most things kids learn, they learn from their parents.