Demanding Respect?

It was obvious that I would parent my kids completely opposite as I was parented. Not that I thought my parents did a poor job, I simply grew up in a different era. I went with what I felt was right for me. I’m pretty positive my parents, in-laws, and some of my friends questioned my style, but it worked, and that’s all that counts.

My parents are Southerners. Actually, I’m not sure if West Virginia is considered the actual South, because I’m not positive where they draw their lines between Yankee and Rebel. However, my mom is from North Carolina.

To this day, southern born parents insist on kids calling the parents of friends by Mr. or Mrs. X. Ma’am, and Sir are a must while addressing an adult. When answering a question, it’s no ma’am, or yes ma’am…..

Of course, we believed that please and thank you were important lessons, but we showed our kids how to be respectful—instead of demanding respect. While we taught our kids to call the parents of their friends, Mr. or Mrs. X, if the parents were fine with a first name basis, that was fine with us. But, we lived in what the Southerners refer to as Hippie Land. Most of my kids’ friends called me April—until we moved to the south. Oh how awkward it was for them to use my first name. I didn’t insist.

I remember talking to the family of one of our youngest’s friends. The mom said something to the child about thanking Mrs. X (or they can use Miss April) for the hospitality. I said,”oh he can call me April”. I was immediately corrected that he would be calling me Mrs. X.

Okay, that’s fine, I respect that.

However, there is one thing that is stuck in my craw.

Earning respect, or demanding respect.

This isn’t a North vs South thing, as I have experienced it in the Motherland as well. Why do some people figure respect isn’t earned? One must demand respect–especially from a spouse.

(let’s see….how many times can April use the word respect in a paragraph or blog post)

If we want respect, shouldn’t we pay respect?

If a person is with a partner who doesn’t respect them, shouldn’t the disrespected spouse/partner respect themselves enough to leave the relationship?

I’m baffled.

I believe that in order to receive kindness, love, or respect, we must give the same in return.

Is this just a misuse of words? The words demand and earn have the same meaning to some?

Meh—I know that I will continue to strive to earn the respect of all. I’m only demanding of myself.



About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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19 Responses to Demanding Respect?

  1. aviets says:

    I’m with you. I insist that the kids I work with call me “Amy” or at the worst “Miss Amy” (the tiny ones tend to do that because that’s what they’re used to in preschool/day care). I can’t stand to be called “Mrs. Viets” because it sounds like either my mother-in-law or harks back to my teaching days (which are NOT good memories). What they call me totally has nothing to do with the respect they show. I’m pretty good at forcing respectful behavior, no matter what a kid calls me! -Amy

  2. mewhoami says:

    We should treat others the same way we want to be treated. Old saying, but true nonetheless. If we want to be respected by others, then we should respect them. I grew up in the same way as you raised your children. Some people were automatically referred to as sir and ma’am. Others gave us the liberty to call them by their first names. To this day, I will call elderly folk and authority figures sir and ma’am. Again, that’s all about respect.

    • April says:

      All the teachers my kids had, I referred to them as Mr. or Mrs. Some, I became friends with and I still call them by Mrs. or Mr. I get eye rolls from them, but it’s just a joke now. Anyway, most of what I was meaning in this post was about spouses demanding respect from their partners. Just doesn’t make sense to me.

      • mewhoami says:

        In regard to marriage, respect shouldn’t have to be demanded. It should be natural. People who are disrespected should respect themselves enough to leave, but I think many people stay hoping that their spouse will change. Others stay out of a feeling of necessity and sometimes familiarity.

  3. suzjones says:

    I raised my children to call the parents of friends Mr or Mrs also. I answer to whatever their friends want to call me – some even call me Mum. But I do believe that respect (whilst it needs to be earned) also needs to be taught. The mere fact that a child is addressing an adult puts them on an unequal footing. The adult has lived more of life and therefore should be respected by calling them Mr or Mrs. That’s the way I see it anyway.

    • April says:

      I agree. Hee hee, I think this was one of my posts where I used too many words. Facebook can be a great source for blog topics. I read one from someone telling all the women out there that they should demand respect from their husbands. In this instance, to get respect from our spouses, we need to show respect, and that statement from her, wasn’t very respectful. 🙂

  4. We were taught to use “MR/MISS/MRS” when we were growing up as well. I think we do a great disservice by not modeling and teaching respect. But at the same time, I don’t think anyone should demand respect who is not of character to be earning respect. And I agree with you and the others….when it comes to a spouse, I don’t want to demand anything. I want it to be freely and willingly given and shared. Good post April!

  5. Gallivanta says:

    Mmmm….had to look up the meaning and etymology of ‘respect’. It’s an odd word and seems to infer power play or an unequal relationship between those who are powerful and those who are not. So I don’t know if I would ever demand respect or try to earn it. I would rather be simply loved and accepted and love and accept others as well.

    • April says:

      I should have researched a bit further. I hadn’t looked at respect in that way, except when it came to politicians or teachers–which the politicians have lost all of my respect.

      I’m with you mutual love and acceptance. That’s how we should strive to live. Thanks! 🙂

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