Rarely a day goes by where I don’t hear young children and teenagers speaking in an extremely disrespectful manner toward their parents, even cussing at their parents. What I find most amazing is that the disrespectful, inflammatory language towards their parents often goes completely ignored. Not so much as a parent firmly telling their children not to speak to them that way, that such language will not be tolerated, followed by appropriate punishment to really drive home the point. I shake my head in disbelief and complete disappointment in parents these days, who are shirking their responsibility to be tough but loving, teaching and training their children in matters of respect towards parents and other authority figures. Parents who don’t get this problem under control while their children are still very young, are in for a real shock when they reach the “surviving the teen years” stage.
Parents tell their children not to whine, complain, throw a temper tantrum, hit their brother or sister etc, but when the parents are upset or frustrated about something, profanities start flying without hesitation. School teachers struggle to maintain decorum and control of classrooms full of disrespectful children and teenagers, only to be told by parents that their job is to teach math and science, not subjective morality. Women who used to flinch at the utterance of coarse language are more commonly using the very words previously thought of as repulsive and vulgar. Gone are the days of men controlling their use of profanity and other vulgarities in the presence of women.
Parents who verbally abuse each other, calling each other hurtful names, using profane language with each other, are equally guilty of abusing their children by such speech. Is it any wonder that our society is filled with children and teenagers who have zero respect for any form of authority, especially their own parents? What is a parent to do?
Set the right example-
Television programs, movies, actors and actresses, children’s cartoons, video and online games are loaded with profane and vulgar language, yet parents don’t pay close enough attention to what they’re children are learning from them. Teaching children how to be respectful towards others, controlling their emotions and dealing with their problems, cannot be learned by regularly exposing children to such things in the media or from their own parents mouths.
I recently overheard my eighteen year-old daughter talking on the telephone to one of her friends saying, “Dude, I can’t believe you just said that to your mama. My mama would kill me if I talked to her that way!” Although I’m not one to “kill” my child for any reason, my children learned from a very young age to speak and behave in a respectful manner to everyone they came in contact with, maintaining zero tolerance of disrespect or cussing for any reason. They were taught to learn new words to convey their thoughts, emotions and feelings, without resorting to vulgarities. My biggest concern was not “surviving the teen years” with my children, but was more broadly focused on not raising “children who refuse to grow up” and making sure they grew up understanding that there is a difference between “helping and enabling” children, so they would grow up to become self-sufficient adults.