Three little words are overused these days. Respect your elders. Each and every one of us has probably heard those words uttered within the last few weeks or perhaps even said them ourselves, but sadly our children have to be so much more careful now than we did when we were children – should they really respect their elders, just like that?
For me it’s a bit like saying “Sure go ahead, talk to strangers!” and while I know it’s important to allow that within reason to encourage the building of self-confidence for our kids, I do not agree that they should be expected to treat everyone with respect without reason.
I’m not suggesting our kids should be allowed to disrespect their elders, just that they treat people how they would like to be treated at first, and only show higher levels of respect in return when it has been earned. Even then there is no certainty that everybody your children come to respect genuinely deserve to be respected, and may well have dodgy intentions.
It’s a parenting issue that I personally believe has no answer. No matter how much we try to protect them there will always be people out there who are a risk and a threat. How the minds of such people work is beyond me, but the fact remains they are out there – and as a parent, how would you feel if it was you saying “respect your elders” that resulted in them meeting such a person?
Mummy has since posted her response to this, with her post Respect Works Both Ways.