Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet and Watch (On Respect).

Feb 23, 2012 | On Motherhood | 43 comments

How to raise respectful children?
It’s a big question.


The title of this blog post was obviously supposed to get your attention. I was hoping to have that opening funeral scene from Gran Torino with those disrespectful brats in church. When his grandkids show up to their Grandmother’s funeral in street clothes and then make the Sign of the Cross with that horrible expression, then sit there TEXTING… It makes your stomach turn. Where’s the respect> I could not find it on YouTube though – I could do an entire post on that movie.

For many a Modern Momma “How to raise respectful children” can be a haunting question.
My kids and I had a rough day the other week. I might have been feelin’ the love but I wasn’t feelin’ the respect.
We tend to feed off each other in this house. Stress begets stress. So, the 4 year old had been allowed to skip her nap each day for the last two days – this had turned her into an academy award winning drama queen…The hubby, as always thanks to this blessed and cursed job was exhausted… the 2 year old was/is getting 4 new teeth… AT ONCE… the 6 year old, like any older brother, vacillated between comforting the over tired, pain ridden sisters and harassing them to see what kind of a rise he could get out of them…then of course there was the baby who just WON’T settle into a napping schedule! All that stress gave everyone a good batch of extra lip and most of it was directed towards ME!
So, had you rang me up that day I would have answered,
“Northwest Illinois Loony Bin – PLEASE GET ME OUT OF HERE!”
 On that note let me remind you that no matter how pretty the blog is that you read – that woman is just like you. She has good days, she has bad days even if she only writes about lavender and lace! I haven’t met many Moms who didn’t have a day where they didn’t want to simply crawl in a hole!
We’ve all seen it. The blatant disrespect of America’s youth.
It’s icky.
There is no sense of decorum, no sense of respecting your “higher ups.”
It’s an egalitarian nightmare.
Now what about our kids?
Our little ones who ask questions like,
“Why do we have to get dressed up for church?”
I am of the opinion that we Modern Momma’s are way too afraid to give a pat answer such as, “Because we just do.” or “Because I said so.” And thus, many of us do not make our kids do things like get dressed up for church.
Why would it be so bad to hand out pat answers without some big long justification?
It’s not.
I think girls my age feel like they have to unpack any reason they give to their kids. Come on, you’ve seen at the store, “No honey, you can’t hang upside down off the shopping cart because you could fall and break your neck and then we would have to call an ambulance and Mommy would not be able to finish her shopping. You want to be able to eat dinner tonight don’t you?”
You gotta laugh.
What the heck is wrong with saying, “Sit down in the cart. If you stand up again you will receive a punishment.”??
End of story.

Reasoning with a child. I mean, I suppose to an extent – sure, it’s O.K. but honestly can you imagine George Washington’s father reasoning with him. Doubt it. He probably reasoned with a switch!

I feel this way – you reason with a three year old and then POOF! You’re gonna be reasoning with a thirteen year old. Yikes.
We are really working on this around here because I fancy myself to be the kind of Momma who doesn’t reason and argue with her children but we fall off the wagon too and then suddenly I find myself explaining my every move to someone the size of my leg and that is just stupid and exhausting!

So let’s simply encourage each other, let me encourage you that no matter what form of discipline you employ in your house — YOU are the Mom. If you decide to make your kids dress up for church then good for you, if you make them clear their plate or pick up their room without question – you’re not a bully, you’re not being uptight,
you’re not expecting too much from a child.
You are the MOMMA – and don’t you forget girl!

Some day when they are respectable members of society, sticking out like sore thumbs among a sea of spoiled, screen addicted (underdressed), lazy, losers who can’t hold a job they will thank us for it!

Photos found by Googling “Disrespectful Child”


  1. Theanne

    well AMEN Angela!

  2. Chris

    Right on, PF!

  3. Kelly Ash

    So, so true! I taught high school for 6 years, and although I did have some wonderful kids, most had completely no respect or regard for authority or their own parents! I think many of them could have done with a “Behave” of a “Do it because I said so, or there are consequences for your behavior!” I love it when parents actually parent!


  4. Burlap Luxe

    Kid’s, It all starts at home and I know you Angela are giving your kids your all thats the kind of Mom and person you are, we can all tell this is who you are, and what you are all about teaching your children all about God and what is good.

    I always stuck to my No! being No! and my yes held value, I never backed down and the respect was mutual, a love like none other.

    Love all what you stand for and postings that inspire.

    Oh Angela, I saw your mothers posting and also read your comment on GFC google and it really got me in an up roar to why would they want to cut off what supports them. So I got on the phone for hours to finally talk to a manager of google who called me back, this was a total shock, he told me as of 3-1-2012 anyone who is not with Blogger will no longer have this service and they will have to connect to another provided source through google that they provide, but as for google themselves with a google blogspot site, they would be then effecting themselves as well.

    The out come was Linky would not be as they told me the best source of search engine and there will not be lasting results. So all bloggers with Blogspot are safe with no worries, we will not be loosing our google followers or our GFC list 🙂

    You can go to their link and it helps clear up the matter….

    Official Google Blog: January 2011.


    I loved your reasoning and it was a wake up call to all we invest in blogging for google to pull the plug on our follower to only then build a new link list of followers. I thought I would share with you that we bloggers have no need to worry to what google management assured me of no worries to those of us who blog under google blog/blogspot.com

    See you soon and your enlightening thought provoking posting over here 🙂


  5. mellmo

    I need a clapping standing ovation button to insert here! 🙂

    You said it and I love it!!!

    Good job,

  6. Sherri Mitchell

    AMEN Sistah!

    I revert back to my own childhood, when talking to my kids if they get up in arms or start disrespecting or misbehaving. I was schooled in the spare the rod, spoil the child classroom.

    My thing? “Because I SAID so”, “Don’t argue, just DO what I said” or the ever popular “Sass me one more time and you’re going to regret it” answer….you know, old fashioned, don’t you get in my face because I’m the adult here attitude. Parental authority trumps kids disrespect period. End of story. Reason, plead, beg, or give in, and your power goes out the window.

    Most of the time, I give my kids “The Look” and they just don’t even bother because they know it’s futile.

    I LOVE the way you think ~ we’re on the same page. xo

  7. Passionedeco...perchè le case hanno un'anima

    That’s THE point.
    I am young, I know, just 29 year old but I am totally with you.
    I grew up with those “NO” without too much explanation. And I am here, I mean….I haven’t grown up with psicological problems!
    That’ s it:
    we are going too much towards psicology and that’s not right.
    As my midwife (which follows women during pregnancy and then after delivery) always sais: “Saying no when they do something they should not do helps children grow, never explain them because….if they ask why just give them, as you said, this answer “because moma sais that” and that’s all.
    That helps children having a strong reference and not too many doubts.
    If some anonymous read your post and my answer he/she may think we are something like Nazi, but we are not, not at all. We cuddle our children, we love them and in the name of that love we are trying to teach them respect.

    Well said girl, I love you because you are not afraid of writing what you think. I may not always agree with you (well…really few times!!), but I appreciate you so much for what you are: strong yet very sensitive and sweet.

    You rock Angela-


  8. Corrina

    Hi Angela, I so agree, I have really firm boundaries and consequences. I feel like I can see it’s really paying off with my two youngest as I have been the most dilligent with them- I actually got firmer not slacker with my last two. I hope and pray the fruits will continue. All the firmness must be balanced with lots of love, kindness and above all modelling what you want them to do. Show respectful behaviour,teach them to care about others by being caring etc etc. Give them a picture of how to act. My little ones are pretty good most of the time- of course we all have those days!xxCorrina

  9. Jacque

    Hi Angela,

    Even Orlando, The Dog Whisperer will tell you that there has to be a “leader” of the pack. Parents give up their authority when they relinquish their position as “leader” to their CHILDREN. I see and hear this everyday..”well, if that’s what YOU want then we will just not pay the utility bill this month so YOU can have it”.

    NOT “reasoning” with a child is NOT child abuse. Our position of “authority” dictates that as parents we have FINAL say. Our wisdom in areas far above their comprehension when stated with compassion and love is expected from God. As parents, God’s word declares that “sparing the rod spoils the child”..that doesn’t mean child abuse..that means correcting and teaching and explaining as much as a childs maturity level will allow them to comprehend.

    If all THAT makes sense! Have a wonderful week.

  10. Pam

    You are so right! I hate the shift in society that acts like you’re a bully, abusive or an unfit parent if you expect your children to follow rules and be respectful. Heaven forbid! I took a Marriage and Family class in Bible college and studies have shown that a child doesn’t even HAVE the ability to reason until he or she is 6 years old. All a little one understands is actions and consequences. By the time they hit that 6 year mark, I’ve found that they don’t buck the system nearly as much because of their previous training. I sure do hope that a lot of parents take your message to heart today and quit being afraid to be the parent God them.

  11. Corrine

    A lovely and provocative post. You are certainly on the right path. As stated by prior posters, there has to be a leader in the family, an authority figure, the alpha person. That cannot ever be the child. Those who criticize “parenting” in favor of my liberal methods of child rearing will find out soon enough that their system is seriously flawed.

    Just look around. The teen at the convenience store with the attitude and hostile and bored affect, cannot speak clearly or even make change. The early teen girls getting off the school bus, looking like they are heading to a Vegas strip club to work. I could go on.

    As adults, my children respected the limitations we imposed, not always gladly I might add. Their Father was the head of the household and I was the heart. My younger son passed away last November and I remember a comment he made several months before. We were discussing life style changes that had occurred during his lifetime. He was 33. He remarked that their childhood was almost like a 1950’s fantasy land, they did not have to deal with many of the issues their friends experienced. This was because his parents were “present,” consistent, and disciplined.

    In any case, parenting is hard work. Your experiences are indeed like many others. This too will pass, the next crisis is around the corner and you will be fine. Best of luck, thanks for sharing.

  12. miss flibbertigibbet

    I agree with you so much. We are raising a second family here. We took in my addict brother’s five kids and we are in our 50’s. They came here with no experience following rules as they had run pretty wild for years. But children CRAVE order….any therapist will tell you that. My specialty as a nurse practitioner was children with developmental disabilities (ADHD, LD,MR, etc). These kids have been here for almost 4 yrs and now I have 4 teenagers who are mildly rebellious. Only because we were strict from DAY ONE and established rules UP FRONT, are we having less problems than we might have had (given their history). One big problem I see with parents is that they actually do not spend enough time PLANNING what the rules will be, as well as appropriate punishment. Nothing can take the place of planning and a UNITED front. Think how we would feel as citizens if one time we got a ticket for speeding and then the next time we got a fine and then the next time we went to jail for a day…..rebellion would soon set in. That can be how it is in a home with poor rule setting and enforcement.
    OK, I’ll step off the soapbox….
    Great post. Come visit me and read my very first post if you want to see how this adoption thing happened.

  13. April

    Bless you for speaking the truth!
    The thought of reasoning with a 13 year old OUGHT to scare the sniffles out of some people–
    I am one for answering legitimate questions, but there are very few legit questions when obedience is on the line.
    Happy Mommying to you!

  14. Amanda

    So so true – well said! As an older teen, I’m incredibly thankful to my parents for being leaders in our family. I know it’s definitely helped me to become a respectful young adult.

  15. Mac n' Janet

    Children don’t really want an explanation they just want to know that you’re in charge and you know what you’re doing.

  16. Valerie

    Amen, sister!

  17. Lisa

    Amen!! Love it! Couldn’t agree more.

  18. Lisa

    Amen to that!

  19. melyssa

    So true! It cracks me up when moms over explain things to their kids. “Because I said so” is tried and true and heck, it just feels good coming off my tongue! Another funny thing modern moms do is thank their children for not being evil spawns…i.e. “thank you, johnny, for not getting angry and showing that anger by hitting me! wow! what a big amazing boy!” Uhhhh….weird. “Thank you for not growing to be a serial killer, my brave brave boy!”

  20. Priscilla

    Darling Girl, you’ve done it again! Hit the nail on the head. If you want other people to love your children as much as you do, they will have to like them first! And who can like a brat?
    BTW I love that movie where your title quote come from. Nuns on the Run – Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane. The scene where they are trying to teach him how to cross himself. It cracks me up every time.

  21. Bonnie

    Hi Angela!
    First time commenting but I wanted to add my voice to the “YES! Exactly!” crowd.
    When people ask me why our are kids are well behaved, I just smile and tell them we’re pretty old fashioned in our parenting by today’s “standards”. They grin once they get it, and comment that more parents should try that out.

    Please don’t get me started about kids/teens/adults texting in church. Makes me glad we don’t own a cell phone.

    Preach on!

  22. Carla

    Amen! So true.. you have to start teaching them while they are young to obey and respect. Wish there were more parents that took the time to do this.. our society would be much better off!

  23. Mandy

    as always, spot on.

  24. Anonymous

    Fantastic comment , have had 6 children and now 15 grandchildren , you are absolutely right to say “because I say so”,courage!!!!

    Annie v.

  25. Anonymous

    forgot to tell you I am a french woman(from Saumur) who absolutely loves your blog.

    Annie v.

  26. Sherri

    Angela, I agree wholeheartedly with you!! Todays Moms just reason with their children, I’m not saying go out and beat your child but children need to know wrong from right and some of todays Mamas don’t know how or won’t do this.

  27. http://petalspaintsportraits.com/?p=1230

    AMEN!! Fantastic way of describing all you wanted to say! I am a Nana now, I think when raising my own 5 kids, I probably explained a bit too much. But with my Mom and her generation, it was ALWAYS “because I said so”.That generation(and I know it’s not across the board) was the children should be seen and not heard group. You have a good head on you and you have the Lord…I had days when would just scream”would EVERYONE please shut up!! on Sunday morning …no less.:)

  28. Amber

    LOVE YOU!! I am very happy to read so many comments that feel the same way. You know you are doing your job as a Momma when your Mother In Law is shocked at how polite you kids are (she was used to the “directed” politeness with her pther children’s children). It makes me feel good because my boys are only 3.5. 🙂

  29. Dorothy

    I wish every mother believed the way you do and that way our world would suddenly be a better world again. I grew up with teachings such as this and tried to do the same with mine. However their children and my great grandchildren are from a whole different kind of undisplined children. Let’s go back to the old ways of raising children.

  30. Bettyann

    you are right..I was not my daughter’s friend when she was growing up…she is raising my granddaughter the same…with a laugh and a good sense of humour helps lol

  31. A Cottage Muse

    Smiling this morning and agreeing with every single word!!

  32. NanaDiana

    Very well said! You are raising your kids a lot like I raised my own. I found you through Post Road Vintage and I am your newest follower. I am not too far North of you in Green Bay…you know…The Packers? Can you BEAR it that I am now a follower?

    Your blog is beautiful and your photography skills are wonderful. I can’t wait to get to know you better. I read your post over at PostRoad today and I hope you can sell your house (in this tough economy) and move to a rural setting. Blessings- Diana

  33. Lori

    BRAVO! Enough said! My children are 33,28,26,23 and I followed basically your principles, without problem or feelings of guilt. I find it time consuming and ackward to ask a child of two what they would want to wear today or eat etc. Afterall, I am the momma, period. Glad I discovered your blog, splendid! Lori

  34. BetteJo

    I have been blessed with 2 kids who were pretty easy on the whole. But when my 4 year old rolled around on the floor under a rack of clothing in a store, we left the cart with all the cool things I was going to buy for her, and left. When she would try to throw a tantrum I would say “just a minute Honey. Have you ever gotten anything you want by throwing a tantrum?” She would shake her head no and I would say “so why are you trying it now?”

    Discussed some of this with my 26 year old daughter the other day. She said I provided structure, she and her brother always knew what the expectations were, and I was consistent.

    She has a higher opinion of my parenting than I do, but I’m glad I stuck to my guns when there were many times I wanted to cave. In my house if a kid mouthed off all I had to do was look at them and say “Excuse me?” And they would shut up immediately. I’m still not sure what they thought I would do, but it always worked.

    Kids DO need rules, they DO need to know what the expectations are, and as long as they always know you love them – discipline benefits them through out their lives and pssst! It will keep YOU sane now!

  35. Stacy's Shabby Shoppe

    Well I don’t have any kids myself, but I totally agree with the “old school” way of raising children…like I was raised! Oh and I love the movie Gran Torino..it’s one of my favs and that funeral scene just makes my skin crawl…those kids!!!!

  36. Auntie Em

    The pendulum is swinging. It went too far with punishing children, then too far not punishing children. Hopefully it will settle in the middle where kids will learn they are children and adults behave like adults. We are not their best friends, we are parents.
    Now, I think we need a big ‘LIKE’ button for this post! 🙂

  37. My Casa Bella

    This is such a touchy subject all over the place and the most frustrating. A few days ago a mother was discussing with her 3 yr old why she had to get out the car and get in the house, the child didn’t feel the need to enter the house without an explanation, REALLY, SERIOUSLY, who’s the adult here? Another parent at a target shopping center has her 4 yr old son, instead of holding the childs hand, in the parking lot, she’s telling him to stay close by her, is he listening, what do you think?! Next thing I hear this horrific shrill from the mother because her son was running towards traffic and thank goodness a man saw it and grabbed him! Again, WHO IS THE ADULT and WHY do you feel the need to talk to them like they’re adults. There has to be balance and that seems hard for parents to do. Times have changed.

  38. janzi

    I am glad that your generation are finally getting the idea that we have to get back to the old and tried ways of parenting.. too liberal and we have turned out almost feral children,.. they all need training and trying to reason with a two or even five year old is ridiculous and time consuming and frustrating.. set the rules, keep them, never lie to the children and always tell them the truth to any question they ask and they should turn out well Well done for speaking out and sharing and its great to see there is still some common sense in a world that had gone mad!!!

  39. Bliss

    I could write a book back to you for every point you make in this post. I won’t, I will just say from a mother of 6, now in her 50’s (ouch)….. AMEN SISTER!



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