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Youth and Respect--Or the Lack Thereof

Updated on September 3, 2012

What are we doing to the future?

I read a hub by fellow hubber LovetheLola just moments ago, and I felt moved to add my two cents to her already well-written article.

The children these days have a complete lack of respect for their elders or anyone in a position of authority. Bad attitude and lip is what you get now. Even the older young people, those in their early 20s, who should know how to behave, are disrespectful of their surroundings and anyone in their vicinity. I do believe the root cause is the government-mandated, non-interventional parenting style that we have had to adapt to, and that we have allowed our government to force upon us, lest our children be taken from us on "abuse" charges. If I had acted even one-tenth as disrespectful as the young people today, I would have had my butt beat and I would have been unable to sit in any comfort for a couple days, at least. In fact, I can remember getting my hiney jacked good a couple of times for even a little backtalk. I thank God every day that my parents taught me respect with a somewhat stern hand, because the mistakes I did wind up making in my life would have been multiplied ten-fold.

Not a day goes by that I am not a witness to disrespect by a child to either their parents, another adult care giver, a teacher, office staff, bystanders, or just plain anybody. And in some instances, it is plain to see, instantly, the reason behind it. For instance, the other day at the office I was working in, we had a family of 3 come in. Father, mother, and young adult son (20-ish). Dad was an overbearing, sarcastic individual--to us on the phone, in person, and then to his wife after the appointment was over. But during the time in the waiting room, son sat on one side of the room, slouched in his chair, legs apart, cell phone in hand, speaker on, while mom and dad sat across the room. Dad and son conversed, such as it was, back and forth across the room. Mom chose not to utter a sound. The visit completed, mom and dad approached the desk to pay. Son sat back down to slouch and wait. When told how much the visit came to, hubby turned to wife and said, "You knew about this $x payment?" Before she could open her mouth, he put his fingers up in her face and snapped them at her eyes--you know what I'm talking about--and then said, "Huh? Did ya?"--and the son chuckles. Papa is proud of himself. Mom looks at me like she wants the ground to swallow her whole. But this is what I am talking about. How is the son to learn respect for total strangers when his male role model has no respect for his own wife? If father treats all around him with contempt and smug arrogance, how will son turn out?

Then there is the instant gratification that our children have come to not only expect, but to demand. And no matter the cost. Mom and daughter come to the office for a fitting for a product. Girl is maybe 13. Girl gets her fitting, then mom is talking products and pricing with the clerk. Mom hears the price of what girl wants, she tells girl they need to look at other alternatives. Girl says, "I told you I want THOSE, didn't I!? Duh!" Followed by an angry and completely disrespectful face that would have gotten me sent sailing across the room when I was her age. Lo and behold…what happens next? Mom caves. She shells out mucho bucks for this snotty little brat of a disrespectful child just WHAT? So brat-child can go tell her little friends that she has no respect for her mother and she can still get anything she wants? So any respect her friends may have had for her mother basically just went out the window?

It is hard to hold one's tongue in those situations, let me tell you. But LovetheLola and I seem to handle things in a similar fashion. I have gotten pretty good at the glare thing. Without moving a facial muscle you can glare at someone and make them aware that you do see exactly what they are doing and exactly what you think of them.

I see so much of that every day. And I do mean every day. From the trip to the grocery store to witness the snotty children telling their mom no and stomping and screaming--then getting candy as a bribe to behave--to the office where I see old people trying to open the door and young people walking right by, leaving them to struggle, just so they can get to the desk first.

In fact, I nearly fell over the other day when a young 20-something guy was actually sitting far from the entrance to the office, looked back toward the front of the office and saw an old woman approaching the door to come in, with a walker, and he actually got up and rushed to the door to hold it open for her until she was all the way in. Everyone in the office was smiling and impressed and complimented him for his behavior. The sad part is, that should just be what comes naturally, not something so alien that we are in awe of being witness to it. We say we wrecked the future for our kids; that we failed them. People, these children we are raising are the future of this country—the future government, the future business owners, bosses, doctors, lawyers, police officers—you name it. We simply must stand firm with our children and instill in them the respect they are so sorely lacking today—respect for their elders, for authority, for each other, even for themselves—or we really will have failed them.


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    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

      I have to agree with your thoughts in this hub, as well. Kids have no respect for parents that don't respect themselves. We can't let our children have WHATEVER they want, and we can't let them boss us around, otherwise they'll grow up to be totally insufficient brats. Voted up and useful.

    • visionandfocus profile image

      visionandfocus 6 years ago from North York, Canada

      I so totally agree with everything you say in this hub. What you describe is horrifying to witness. There really is nothing worse than a disrespecful, ungrateful, child. So many parents seem scared of their kids too--so sad! Imagine those litte horrors running (or trying to run, very ineffectively) the world one day. Gives me the heebie-jeebies! You may be interested in my hub on '8 lessons we must teach our children'.

      Voted up!

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 6 years ago

      Great page laidbacklady. I am totally agree with you and I am also worried about the future.

    • laidbacklady profile image

      Linda 6 years ago from Plumsted Township, NJ

      Thanks for your views. I agree with you, as well. There are some older people who are no more respectful of others than the teenagers these days, and you are right to feel the way you do. The best we can do as individuals and mothers is to just be as kind and courteous as we can to others, set an example for our kids, and hope that they learn to follow our lead. Thanks again for reading my post! :)

    • jenwat0405 profile image

      jenwat0405 6 years ago from Texas

      I completely agree with you. I am in the young generation where a lot of my peers are disrespectful. I was one of those a time ago, until I had children. One thing I have been told all of my life is to respect my elders, but then I see my elders behaving worse than most of my peers and treating others terribly. I do respect my elders but it does not come automatic. I will not respect someone older than me that chooses to treat people as if they are beneath them. The problem today, is that society has made excuses for people that are disrespectful, giving them some sort of mental disorder or classification that is really just an excuse to allow them to continue acting the way they do. I am a believer in "spanking", but I am also a believer in treating my children with respect. How can I demand respect from them if I treat them as if they don't matter? This was a good article...thank you!

    • laidbacklady profile image

      Linda 6 years ago from Plumsted Township, NJ

      Thanks for the support! I know I will have tweaked a few noses out there, but it is just such a frustrating issue, especially when you feel as if your hands are tied. I guess I have just seen too much of it. It doesn't help to remember how it was when I was growing up and to realize just how far we have fallen. And you are right, a swat on the back side every now and again, when it's warranted, is totally appropriate.

      We're not talking Joan Crawford and wire hangers here, people! We're talking get their attention, point out the problem, and nip it in the bud.

    • mareezy13 profile image

      mareezy13 6 years ago from Chicago, IL

      FINALLY!!! Someone who is willing to stand up for this noble cause! I agree with you completely. I try so hard to teach my son respect, and how I will not deal with inappropriate behavior. And it is so much harder to instill these principles in my son when he watches the rude behavior of his classmates. I was never one to spank, but as long as we aren't beating our children, I don't find a quick spank to be an issue.

      Good hub, no matter what our beliefs are! :)