I’m not sure what aspect of the meme, I’m going to focus on, but it reads:
“Not going to be real popular for this statement, but undisciplined children grow up to be undisciplined and disrespectful adults.”
And I’m not sure what that means. I’m around a fair number of children because my child is a bit of a social butterfly, and I’ve seen a fair number of different parenting style.
Good parenting is hard and massively contradictory:
Provide structure, but not too much structure, because kids need time to be kids.
Provide support, but let kids learn to solve problems on their own.
Let them know you’re there for them, but don’t be their friend. You need to be an authority figure.
So what is disrespect? Is it unkempt hair and falling down pants? Is it assertiveness? When does assertiveness cross over into disrespect? Is it disrespectful to stand your ground when your boundaries are being violated?
In my experience, the people who tend to post these kinds of memes are sad that children are being taught social and emotional learning and can assert themselves. Is that what’s considered disrespect?
What are undisciplined and disrespectful adults? Are they the adults who pee in the aisle when asked to wear a mask in a store? Are they the ones who berate the wait staff in restaurants? Are they the ones who want to follow people into bathrooms and accost them to check their sex or gender?
What I’m trying to teach my child goes beyond respect. It includes reading the room, understanding people, and understanding boundaries. It includes understanding when jokes are appropriate and when they aren’t. Some people might hear our jokes and think they aren’t respectful. (When my child was a baby, we had an”Evil mommy” song that the child was invited to sing whenever the child felt I was being mean. (usually by insisting on appropriate things like “putting on clothing,” not crazy shit.) Child still had to do the thing, but, it was okay to feel grumpy about it. Would someone hearing the “evil Mommy” song think that the child was being rude and disrespectful? Probably. But only if they didn’t notice that both of of us laughed and the requested thing was done.
Last night we had a big conversation about big feelings. My child is frustrated with having big feelings; thinking it’s in appropriate to feel them and react. “Maybe my feelings aren’t okay.” the child mused.
I said what I’ve always said, “Your feelings are your feelings and you can express them in healthy ways. If your reaction was to hit me, that would be something that wouldn’t be a healthy way to express them. That I would ask you to stop. But to stop having feelings and telling me about them? Never.”
What kind of adult will the child grow up to be? I don’t know. I can hope for happy adult with caring, compassion, and vision; but, I don’t know. We never know. But then again, I’m not sure what an undisciplined, disrespectful adult is or whether the people to whom I applied those adjectives were themselves disrespectful children.
I would guess that growing up to be an undisciplined, disrespectful adult has less to do with being a disrespectful child and much more to do with being an entitled child.