Social Question

Rangie's avatar

When children disrespect their elders, in your presence, how does it affect you?

Asked by Rangie (3656points) May 2nd, 2010

If you could intervene, what would you do?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

51 Answers

frdelrosario's avatar

Misused homonyms send me into a rage. Disrespectful children will be children.

Rangie's avatar

Personally, when I see a child disrespecting their parent in public, my first inclination is to say something to the parent. Like, “perhaps you could take your child outside, until he/she calms down.” Anything to get that annoying child out of my hearing distance. I can’t stand it, not only is the child being rude, so is the parent.

lillycoyote's avatar

@frdelrosario Who misused a homonym?

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This question has been edited.

Pandora's avatar

If I could I would simply tell the parent they got it coming. If your child is disrespectful its because you didn’t teach the little monster not to be a monster. And more or less what Rangie said only not as nice. Take your little noisy spawn elsewhere. Perhaps to your car where they can berate you some more.

Rangie's avatar

@Pandora Isn’t it strange how the parents respond when you give them “the look”.? They either smile sheepishly, or heave their shoulders up as if to say, what am I to do?

Pandora's avatar

@Rangie Yep, I know the look. It just makes me what to smack them for reproducing. If you don’t plan on being a real parent than don’t have kids. (That said, I don’t mean, parents with children who have disabilities of some type.)
When my kids would slightly start to step out of line (teenage years) I quickly would tell them they best take stock of what they are about to say and remember that I am not disrepectful or ever make a scene but if they want one they will have one that will never be forgotten. If you say it in a low and serious tone than they get the point. This always worked and kept them from going over board. Never needed to give anyone else a helpless look.

Rangie's avatar

@Pandora I can remember going out to dinner with my daughter, her husband and their 1 to 2 year old. If she even started, mom or dad would take the baby outside until she settled down. I have been in restaurants with screaming kids, dumping milk and food all over the table, while the parents just keep on talking as if nothing was going on. Sure makes you want to serve them up some hot coffee.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

The Herod part comes out in me!

Rangie's avatar

I would think there would be something clever but acceptable to do or say.

Pandora's avatar

@ZEPHYRA You mean, lets split the parent in two. Maybe one will know how to be a proper parent. :D

Rangie's avatar

@ZEPHYRA How about a citizens arrest? We could all carry zippy ties around with us. We could zippy the kids to the parents.

Rangie's avatar

Seriously, why aren’t the parents teaching manners anymore?

Pandora's avatar

Nah, they will still make noise. How about taser the parents and tell the kid they will be next if you ever see them misbehave in public.

Rangie's avatar

@Pandora I could do that. no problem. We could supply all the teachers with tasers. The parents can come pick up their taser whipped kid after school, every day.

Pandora's avatar

@Rangie Read this fluther thread and you’ll see some of the reasons why. link

Pandora's avatar

@Rangie, Wow, schools would go back to being quite and employees will be more responsible at work.

Rangie's avatar

@Pandora I remember that thread. What the heck are these people thinking? I guess they don’t like their kids and could care less if anyone else does. What happened to at least some manners?

Rangie's avatar

@Pandora You know, if a parent brings their kid to my house, they have one opportunity to nip it in the bud. If they don’t, I will, and have. I actually had one little girl argue with me in my own house. Her mom, a good friend of mine, just sat there, knowing I would take care of it. And I did. That was the first and last time that little girl disrespected anyone in my home. She is about 30 yrs old now and very respectful, at least when I am around.

Pandora's avatar

Unfortanetly a thing of the past. Even at my job my daughter gets told all the time not to call people sir or maam. She still does. Even to me. She’ll say yes maam or no maam and mom when just in plain conversation. Her dad and I taught her that if she always remembers to say maam or sir when speaking to someone at work she will remember never to step out of place. Everyone wants everyone else to talk to them like they are buddies and the moment you screw up they get bent out of shape. Best to always have a professional manner and you will always be treated with respect like a professional.

Pandora's avatar

Oh, I was the same way with my childrens friends as well. Told them all upon meeting them that they were welcome to visit anytime. But the moment they disrespected any member of the family or my rules than they were no longer welcomed. Told them if they had any bad behavior they can save it for home. But I expected respect at all times and if they did not like my rules than they didn’t have to stay.

Rangie's avatar

@Pandora you are a lost generation. My kids are teachers, so they drilled it into their girls. They had a certain way to answer the phone, get out of a chair when someone older came in and there were no chairs left. manners at the table, but who eats at the table together anymore?

Rangie's avatar

Either everybody has gone to bed, or they are guilty of having children they can’t control. :)

Pandora's avatar

OMG! I just saw the time. I have to go for now. Continue. If you have any more comments for me I will read it later.
@Rangie. :D

Pandora's avatar

nite guys.

Rangie's avatar

@Pandora Okay, I will be heading for bed myself soon. Gotta see what supacase has to say first.:)

Supacase's avatar

Children test their limits as a part of how they learn. I have taught my daughter her boundaries, but we all have off days so she will pop out with something inappropriate at times. It is corrected immediately. Although, I know there are times when she is just looking for attention. As long as she is not bothering anyone else, I simply ignore her and her behavior until she gives it up.

When other children disrespect their elders it causes an issue for me because my daughter sees, hears and processes everything – especially how the adult reacts. Unfortunately, most adults do not handle it well or at least not the way I would so my child learns a new possible behavior. I am not one to tell someone how to parent their children, but you can believe I talk to my daughter about it the second we are out of the situation.

One friend has a son who throws FITS when he doesn’t get his way. Tosses himself on the floor, the whole nine yards. She negotiates with him. My daughter’s eyes were like saucers b/c she had never seen that type of behavior. We got in the car and I thanked her for not behaving like that. She had a few questions and I was very firm in my response that Mrs. R may allow her son to do that but Daddy and I do NOT. She understood.

We got home and what do you think she tried at bedtime? Yep. Nipped it that night and it has not been tried again. Dealing with the behavior she sees from my friend’s daughter is more challenging because they are together more and closer in age. Still, I refuse to have a screaming, entitled brat so I continue to battle it out. I will never tell my friend I think her parenting is lacking, though.

My point is, it’s a PITA to see children being disrespectful when you are with your child in a situation where you cannot immediately teach your child that what they are seeing is inappropriate behavior.

Rangie's avatar

@Supacase If I lose my friend, well so be it. I will intervene and tell the child not to talk to their mother that way or whatever they are doing. I have not lost a friend yet. In fact one friend has 4 children, and would come to stay in our mountain cabin for a week at a time. I didn’t waste one minute correcting the children if she didn’t. She and I are still good friends after 40 years. If she were to get upset and stop being my friend, well sorry, she wasn’t respecting me and my home either, so who needs it.

DominicX's avatar

Calling someone “sir” or “ma’am” when they don’t want to be called “sir” or “ma’am” isn’t respect; it’s rude. You call someone what they want to be called, whether or not it fits your definition of “respectful”. Calling someone anything they don’t want to be called is disrespectful. Furthermore, “sir” and “ma’am” are also a bit regional. Not many people say it here in California or Nevada, but you can still here it other places around the country.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

“Children disrespect their elders” is a broad statement. There’s a difference between a kindergartner throwing a temper tantrum and a middle schooler cussing out their parents in public. However, what is happening is that the child is learning that this is an effective way to get attention from their parents.

I would avoid situations with the parent where the child is present, and tell the parent why if they ask, but I would not volunteer unsolicited parenting advice. One thing raising two children has taught me is that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. I might, however, give them a copy of Dorothy Rich’s MegaSkills as a gift.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Even well socialized children sometimes have a raging tantrum which involves gross disrespect of their parents or other elders.

Most often children whose behaviour is disrespectful of their elders have not been well socialized. They have not been taught to accept reasonable limits and they have not learned how to indicate their unhappiness with a situation in an appropriate manner and at an appropriate time and in a suitable place.

Parents who are confused about their role tend to find themselves dealing with disrespectful children. It is fine for your children to both love you and like you, but it is not your job to be their friend.

Children’s needs must be met and one of those needs is to have guidelines and rules set for them and for those rules to be enforced in firm but appropriate ways.

It is fine to give children an opportunity to express their feelings and desires. Their feelings are to be respected as valid and it is acceptable for children to want things and to say so.

Sometimes the right answer to a child’s want is “no.” The children might be disappointed or even angry and expressed appropriately, there will be no disrespect shown by the children.

Children that are confused into thinking they are the equal or worse still the superior of adults will frequently act in disrespectful ways towards adults.

The time to stop such behaviour is when it first starts to appear. Parents must assert their leadership and expect the children to shown proper respect even when they may not be happy with a situation of an elder’s decision in that situation.

It is nearly impossible to handle such behaviour in older children and adolescents if disrespect has been ignored or tolerated in the children from an early age.

I am offended and angered when I observe disrespectful behaviour from children toward their elders. I expect parents to remove the children from the public situation and deal with their children privately. If parents need help dealing with their disrespectful children, a family oriented intervention is usually the only effective way to solve such problems.

mattbrowne's avatar

It affects me very much and I would explain that this is unacceptable.

Pandora's avatar

@DominicX How is it that calling people sir or ma’am disrespectful? If you work for them in some capacity it is very respectful so long as you say it in a respectful way. If they do it in a beligerent way than it is not. You employers are not your friend and you learn that quickly the moment you do something wrong. Of course my children grew up in a military family. In the military first names are reserved for family and friends.

Of course I grew up in the same way and so did my husband. I’ve seen time and time again where people would say call me Tom or what have you and then when you did something to displease them they were happy to have you call them sir because they feel perhaps you’ve become to familiar with them and you are taking liberties by assume you are friends. In many cases that is the truth. I had 2 bosses like that. In both cases employees took advantage because they felt being on first name bases meant they were pals and would understand their pesonal problems took presidence over work. One simply got stepped all over and the other guy just got a lot of people to quit because they felt he wasn’t the cool guy he advertised himself to be.

My employers always understood that I meant no disrespect but I understood I was there to work and be professional not to make friends and to also equally be treated with respect. As a result I can honestly say I was only ever treated disrespectful one time and it was by the one manager above that falsely advertise and I quit that job along with many others. Just because people say call me by my first name doesn’t mean they won’t be an ass.

DominicX's avatar


If someone wants to be called by their first name, then that’s what you should call them. Calling them anything else would be disrespectful. However, in the case of “sir” and “ma’am”, you can call someone that and call them by their first name. It would just depend on the circumstances. In my case, I was taught to call people “Mr./Mrs. Name” unless they specified otherwise. I just never said “sir” or “ma’am”. Instead of “yes, sir” I would just say “yes” or “yes, Mr. Name”.

I’m not opposed to those terms. I’m opposed to the idea that you should call someone something other than what they prefer to be called.

Pandora's avatar

@DominicX I’m not talking about someone you meet at a party or some social gathering. I’m talking about in a professional work enviroment. I know it has served my children well. They are both climbing quickly in their professions and when I’ve met their bosses and was told how impressed they were with their hard work and the professional manner that they treat all their fellow employees, and customers.
Both do have fellow employees as friends but at work they call them ma’am and sir most of the time but after hours it is not so. This always lets their friends know work is work, and being friends after hours does not mean they will forget that the next work day.
Its called, setting bounderies.
Just like your mother is your mother, not your best pal. My children never call me by my first name. I have a title that was well earned. Not because of biological but rather because I was always acted as their mom and always will be. I have plenty of friends and now they are listed as such, but I find being their mom an honor not being their friend. To me being called Mom is a respectful honor and ma’am equally respectful.
As a note. Till today they speak of myself and their dad with great regard to their friends and their friends always tell them how they think they are lucky to have such great parents.
(Their words not mine.)
Respect is a two way street and must be earned. But if you don’t insist the world sees you as weak and will act accordingly.

Sophief's avatar

I hate it, really hate it. It is the problem with todays society. I feel like going over to them and giving them a good smack because that is the only way they will learn manners and put the parents in parenting classes.

slick44's avatar

My children do not disrespect their elders. They no better. As for everyone elses kids that is something their parents need to instill into their heads at an early age. But i also think that respect needs to be earned. Its a give and take. You have to give to get and vise versa.

Sophief's avatar

@slick44 Great answer, nice to see a parent that has it right.

slick44's avatar

@Sophief… thank you.

Sophief's avatar

@slick44 Seriously though, you should be proud of yourself, too many kids these days don’t know the meaning of the word respect.

slick44's avatar

@Sophief .. you are right. It was something my Father taught me at an early age. When my father got older and became ill he couldn’t get around very well and he walked very slow. I would often hold his arm and help him through crowds because people would otherwise have mowed him down. I cannot believe the disrespect people have for are elders. It truely sadens me. I believe small children and older folks deserve to be respected and protected.

Sophief's avatar

@slick44 It’s just good parenting, simple as. Your parents taught you well and so that is how you bring up your own.

Silhouette's avatar

Knee jerk reaction is to wish the child were mine for about 5 minutes then I start thinking about how respect has to be earned and taught so I look at the adult and ponder how disrespectful they must be in order to have reared such a rude little booger.

stratman37's avatar

Chip: I can’t hold my tongue. These kids are my grandchildren and you are raising them wrong. They are terrible boys!
Walker: Shut up, Chip, or I’ll go ape-shit on your ass!
Texas Ranger: I’m gonna scissor-kick you in the back of the head!
Cal Naughton, Jr.: Yeah!
Ricky Bobby: Yeah! Now turn up the heat!
Cal Naughton, Jr.: Go on and get some, boys!
Ricky Bobby: Come on!
Walker: I’m ten years old, but I’ll beat your ass!
Texas Ranger: Chip, I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey!
Cal Naughton, Jr.: Like a spider monkey! Go on!
Ricky Bobby: Chip, you brought this on, man.
Walker: Greatest Generation my ass. Tom Brokaw’s a punk!
Chip: What is wrong with you?
Texas Ranger: Chip, I’m all jacked up on Mountain Dew!

thriftymaid's avatar

I imagine everyone has their own definition of when a child may be disrespectful of an adult. I don’t think I assume it at the same point as many other people. I don’t think that because a child questions an adult, that it’s automatically disrespectful, but some do. If I hear the children in my family be what I consider to be disrespectful I explain to them why it is so. If I hear other children being disrespectful to an adult, I don’t say anything unless they are someway in my charge, or the adult asks my opinion.

Rangie's avatar

@thriftymaid If it the child is being a rude brat and I don’t know the parents, I won’t say anything either, but I sure want to. If I know the parents well, and they don’t do something, and they are in my home, I will say something. It is not only rude for the child to behave rudely, but it is also rude for the friends to allow that in my home. I assure you they won’t allow it many times if ever again.

tranquilsea's avatar

Respect is important in my house and how we get the kids to understand that varies depending on the child. My oldest and middle child have very calm dispositions, not so with my youngest child. I learned when he was very young that punishments (i.e. time outs) only made situations worse. After trying this and that and nearly going crazy I finally started to ignore him when he was in the midst of a fit. During his worst years we hardly went out to eat at all and I never took him grocery shopping. As he grew up and matured we had many talks about how he could handle his temper before it got the most of him. Things have gradually gotten better. But this is a passionate kid, he always has been.

When any of them act in a disrespectful manner, they get pulled to one side and talked to and then they have to go an apologize to the person they offended.

We recently got to know a family with kids who are similar in ages to my kids. Their oldest (15) was over here for a sleepover for the second time when he said something that shocked me. My son had told me he was going to do his dishes prior to the sleepover and he procrastinated. So, when this friend showed up I told my son that he needed to take 5 minutes and do the dishes. This friend turned to my son and said, “Are you actually going to listen to her?” My jaw dropped. I told my son to get into the kitchen. The next time my son wanted this kid over I refused. There was more than just this comment that brought me to that decision. I eventually ended up talking with both this boy and his mother about his complete lack of respect. The mother told me that she had raised this boy telling him that he was equal to everybody. Apparently, he took that as he was always right and deserved a little more respect than anyone else. Big mistake. This kid is going to have doors slammed in his face regularly. He actually wanted me to be a reference for him. Ain’t gonna happen.

augustlan's avatar

It really depends on what you mean by “disrespect”. My kids can be quite flip with me, but we’re a very sarcastic family in general. I don’t take it as disrespect, but my husband (their stepfather) does. (I think it’s generational, he’s 9 years older than I and is 51 years old.) Our “that’s disrespectful” lines are quite different. Since I have no way of knowing where another parent’s ‘line’ is, I would never presume that a child was being disrespectful unless they were out and out cussing their parent, or something extreme like that.

If I could intervene (and I have on occasion), my goal would be to defuse the situation. Not to reprimand either the parent or the child, but just to calm the waters. Usually by re-direction. Maybe striking up a conversation about how hard it can be to be a grumpy kid or an overwhelmed parent.

Rangie's avatar

I have zero tolerance for disrespect from a child at any level. I believe an attitude adjustment is in order. It can be a calm talk, up to grounding or removal of car keys. Depends on age of child and degree of disrespect.

augustlan's avatar

@Rangie I understand if they’re being disrespectful to you, but if they’re being disrespectful (in your eyes) to their parent, isn’t it up to the parent to handle that (or not)?

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