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Should we teach automatic or earned respect?

My question is do we teach our children that some people should always be respected regardless, such as police officers and teachers? And that they should always be respected even if they may do or say things that are not good sometimes?

I ask this because it seems that many teens and adults simply do not treat police and teachers with the respect I think they deserve. There is always an element of attitude there.

I have taught my kids that we always respect those in authority, unless they overstep it and do something questionable. How about other moms, what do you think?


Asked by Anonymous at 8:35 PM on May. 9, 2009 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (11)
  • I am teaching my son that all people deserve respect by the simple fact of their existence. We haven't hit the "unless they prove otherwise" point yet. That will be a learned lesson that cannot be taught without experience and deep consideration of the situation. I believe that all life is sacred and respect is shown for all - from the youngest to the oldest - not based on job, age, gender or authority. Respect in our house is based on everyone belonging to the same family - of God and of humanity. To disrespect someone generally is passing judgment without understanding the fullness of the person or people involved.

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 10:30 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • my daughter will be taught to respect everyone unless they show her a reason not to. i think that it falls under the treat others as you want to be treated kind of thing

    Answer by vabchmommy at 8:38 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • i agree vabchmommy. my son will be raised the same way i was.

    Answer by SThompson21 at 8:40 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • Automatic, until that person proves they don't deserve it otherwise.

    Answer by coutterhill at 8:42 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • I think everyone automatically deserves respect.

    Then we should use our judgement if they have done something to reduce that respect....

    but even if someone completely looses our respect, we can still practice common courtesy and treat people with civility.

    Answer by mogencreative at 8:48 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • I think respect should be automatic. I tried to teach this to my children and now my grandchildren. If only more people had respect and taught it to their children, we'd all be better off.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:58 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • My children will be taught that respect for people needs to be earned, but that respect for the laws and rules is automatic. I don't tolerate disrespect at all, from ANYONE. And I don't think that my kids should either. This coincides with my beliefs about judgment. Unless you're sensing danger, be kind and respect anyone you come across. If THEY disrespect you, you don't have to respect them, but you don't need to disrespect them back either; don't put yourself on that level.

    Answer by BaisMom at 9:21 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • My son was taught to respect all adults unless they do something to not deserve it. He still has to maintain the smallest amount of respect because they are adults. My son knows that being disrespectful to a teacher or police officer will get him into trouble with me. Teenagers don't respect teachers and police officers because some parents do not teach their kids respect and they show disrespect to the same people.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 9:29 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • Respect until proven otherwise. In other words, automatic. If someone does something to lose your kid's repect- that's that. But that STILL doesn't mean your kid can act like a yay-hoo smart aleck to that person. But they can sure defend themselves and make a complaint about that person.

    Answer by sfwilson at 9:37 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • Automatic. No doubt in my mind!! I'm sorry, but adults shouldn't have to explain their self to a child. Ever. Children should automatically respect their elders. At the same time, they need to be taught how to not be taken advantage of. I always taught my kids to speak up if they felt uncomfortableabout something. Otherwise, they are not to talk back to grown-ups. There's nothing I hate more than a child that thinks they are on my level and has the gall to be disrespectful to an adult, just because they can!


    Answer by Anonymous at 10:23 PM on May. 9, 2009