Blog Sidebar

Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Avital.

You want a present, peaceful and playful family life? I'm here to help you make that a reality.

read more

How Do You Teach Kids Respect?

FREE: 3 Steps to Solve Any Parenting Problem

How do you speak to your own parents? Do you hang up on them? Do you raise your voice? Interrupt? 

It can be really uncomfortable but necessary to look in the mirror and ask, “How do you treat your own parents? Do you respect your elders?”

Today I’m answering a question from Samantha who writes:

Dear Avital,

I totally believe in peaceful and respectful parenting but I feel as though I’m letting them disrespect me. 

It says in the Bible “obey thy father and thy mother”  and here I am letting them disobey me.  I worry that I’m raising kids who are disrespectful.

Thank you so much for any insights on how to reconcile this. 


I totally understand this question.  It can even feel like peaceful parenting just doesn’t work. It can feel like you’re raising kids who don’t know how to be respectful because you’re not demanding the obedience and respect that mainstream culture tells us to. We so often hear “Listen to your mummy,”  “He’s a great listener,” or “She doesn’t listen!” The underlying meaning here is really about following orders.

The Fifth Commandment

Our culture values obedience.  It’s even in the Bible, right?

Well, maybe so.

I personally read Hebrew. The meaning and interpretation of the original text that I grew up with was not “obey” your mother and father, but to “respect” your mother and father.  Furthermore, to respect your mother and father meant to be considerate of them, to take care of them, to make sure that they could live with dignity, with a roof over their heads, clothing, and food. Being respectful in this way was about having compassion, civility, and being polite.  Not about obedience, fulfilling every wish and whim, nor about living your life according to their demand. 

We could debate biblical meanings for days. A point I want to make though, is that I think peaceful parenting can actually create a truer, deeper, meaningful sense of respect for another. The mainstream parenting approach suggests  that children are learning respect when we teach them to obey us, and to respect us. In the peaceful parenting approach however, the onus of respect is on us.

Respect thy father and thy mother – in other words you are commanded to respect – not to demand respect from someone else. The verse is asking us all to show respect. 

Create an Atmosphere of Respect without Demanding it

Creating an atmosphere of respect without demanding it requires a little perspective shifting. We need to put the onus of teaching respectful attitudes and behaviors on ourselves – adults who actually understand this. After all, even though all people deserve respect all the time,  it’s really hard to respect someone who yells at you, punishes you, controls, or manipulates youIf you want to learn how to manage the worst tantrums while treating your littles with respect (without yelling, bribing, or punishing!)  Sign up for my FREE Peaceful Tantrums Webinar. Here are some other ways to be someone who commands respect rather than demands it.

Rather than demanding respect, let’s become people who command respect. Rather than demanding respect, let's become people who command respect.via @ParentingJunkieTweet This

  1. Respect YOUR elders- The commandment to be respectful is on us, in the biblical sense but also in the psychological sense. We are the ones who must model being respectful to older generations. Every interaction we have with others is an opportunity to teach kids respect. Think back to your last conversation with your parents, or the lady in the supermarket.  These are the things that will comically, come back to us. 
  2. Respect your YOUNGERS –  Everybody deserves respect. It certainly doesn’t mean we do everything our children ask of us though. The way that we talk to them will necessarily by definition be mirrored back to us. If we listen to them without interrupting, if we speak in kind gentle tones, they will mimic this. This is how they develop and learn. 
  3. Respect your SELF – This can be  a tricky one, but we teach people how to treat us, by how we treat ourselves. Grabbing meals on the go? Eating toddler leftovers? Not brushing your own teeth? The energy we put out into the world is what reflects back to us. Hold boundaries around respecting yourself. Is it giving yourself more time? Finishing a project you’ve started? Express when you feel disrespected too! (e.g. “Please can you say that in a more polite way?”” I don’t like being spoken to that way. Can you share your feelings instead?”) You can command respect with your presence and energy field rather than being someone who yells and demands respect. 

Do you ever worry about raising children who are disrespectful?  How are you modelling respect now, or how else could you be modelling respect? Let me know in the comments.


You may also like...

We're kicking off Week 3 "Inspire" with a set of #StrewPro challenges!

So, what is a strew? It's simply leaving out toys, books, activities, or objects in a new and inviting way. Silently waiting for your kid to "discover" them and maybe - just maybe - to bite into independent play.

Did you know there are a myriad of "toys" in your home, strews waiting to be formed right under your nose?

Today, I want you to head to your KITCHEN and find things that your kid might take interest in...

Nesting bowls
Measuring cups
Wooden spoons

There's literally so many options and combinations to explore!

Try putting them out on a tray or somewhere that is not the kitchen. If you're feeling brave you can get really fancy and add in some water, slime, or dry beans (only do this if you're happy to clean it all up later).

There's really only ONE rule to becoming a Strew Pro:
Don't tell your child to play with it, don't tell them how to, in fact - you might kinda ignore it all together and just watch what happens.

Go! Grab a few items and arrange your first strew... take a 📸 picture of it and share with me @parentingjunkie in your instagram stories!

Welcome to the wonderful world of strewing, my friend!

#reclaimplay #strewpro #strewing #strewingforthewin #kitchenstrew #presentplay #playinvitation #playinvitations #playinvite #invitationtoplay #independentplay #playisimportant #playisenough #playistheworkofchildhood #playisfun

Can your child play independently for 30 minutes in a day?

This week you have done a lot of designing - you created a "pop-up" (a quick and scrappy) Imagination, Messy, Movement, Quiet, and Focus Zone. If you have a little one - you made a YES space for them.

Phew! 😅 Time to give yourself a pat on the back!

☕️Grab your hot drink, 📚your book, and a fluffy pillow because I'll bet my Lego collection you're going to be able to catch 30 minutes of play.

Remember everything you learned in week one:
🌈 Observe without interrupting!
🌈 Practice the "BRB" technique
🌈 Set up little "pop-up zones"

...and I believe you'll be able to catch your child playing for 30 minutes today and 10x the independent play in your home by the end of this week from when you started this challenge.

Now, I know you might be feeling like you're totally not "done" designing your zones - of course not!

Rome wasn't built in a day (or a week!)

In Present Play, we're going to dedicate the entire month of May to perfecting your zones. But this should set you on your way and whet your appetite for more design solutions.

When you catch those 30 mins (or more!) make sure to share it with us! Tag me in your stories @parentingjunkie

★ SIGN UP for the Challenge - link in bio!

#reclaimplay #playzone #playmatters #playspacedesign #independentplay #playistheworkofchildhood #playislearning #independentplaytime #mombreak #reclaimplaychallenge #playspace #intentionalparenting #simplicityparenting #childhooddesign #childdesign #presentplay #presentplaymovement

Attention is in short supply these days. Many parents have difficulty helping their kids to focus on anything for any length of time - whilst there are so many reasons this might be the case, one thing that can help is creating a little "work" environment that makes focusing easier...

Cue, the Focus Zone! 🙇‍♂️🙇‍♀️

The Focus Zone is where kids go to do their "work" (like schoolwork) and also where they do any activity that requires following instructions properly.

Think about things that have a "right" and a "wrong" way of doing them - like puzzles or science experiments. Of course, you're not necessarily going to be able to set up a whole Focus Zone right now - but can you gather your materials - things that need to be treated with respect and extra care.

CHALLENGE #13 - Create a Pop-Up Focus Zone!
Find that third cleared area that you prepped last week - preferably a quiet area away from the hustle and bustle of the home. Try placing the materials in a box, bin, tray, or basket right there, and see what happens.

Show me by tagging @parentingjunkie 🤗

#reclaimplay #focustime #focuszone #homework #puzzles #kidspuzzle #kidspuzzles #kidsfocus #preschoolactivities #preschoolathome #preschoolplay #montessori #montessoriactivities #montessoriathome #playmatters #playspacedesign #independentplay #playistheworkofchildhood #playislearning #playislearningplayisenough #playismywork #montessorihomeschool

"Shhhh!" 🤫 You're challenge for today is to create a pop-up Quiet Zone. Here's what I mean...

Kids often love snuggling up, curling themselves into a ball, hiding away in a secret nook, or folding themselves into a little cranny.

We adults sometimes forget that kids are actively growing up and learning about the world - which can be very overwhelming. Having tantrums and making a fuss are all normal parts of growing up. But it can help when kids have a little cozy spot to call their own and escape from the center of attention.

Enter: The Quiet Zone

This is the place for reading, resting, and regulating emotions. It's a perfect zone to go in a kids' bedroom as it's not very activating or energizing - it's more about winding down.

The Quiet Zone is the place to go when you're feeling low, when you're tired, when you're having a meltdown, or when you need some time to yourself.

It could be a tent in the living room or perhaps a fort that you build together. Add in a flashlight and a pile of books, some stuffed animals, a "lovie" blanket... and you're golden!

Design a little calm, and let me know how it goes! 🧸

#reclaimplay #presentplay #toddlerlife #independentplay #independentplaytime #mombreak #playspace #playspacedesign #quietzone #emotionalregulation #emotionalregulationforkids #quietcorner #design #parentinghacks #intentionalparenting #mindfulparentingcoach #mindfulparenting #readingnook #readingbookstogether #readingtokids

Add a Comment


19 Replies to “What Happened to Respecting Your Elders?”

  1. this was a refreshing reminder. adultism is tiring and yet i notice it with how i treat my own children. what happened to youtube comments? did they disable them? anyway, thank you for this, my youngest is 7 and my oldest is 16 and it is still helpful. maybe i shouldnt think they “should” obey me, i enjoyed your interpretation – with 5 kids wondering how not telling everyone what to do, would anything get done. good thinking questions

  2. Hi Avital,

    Thank you for all your insightful content. I was particularly curious of your approach to the topic of this video, but a few of my questions remain unanswered. Could you maybe help me out? That would mean a lot.

    I have a 4 year old daughter, and at the moment she tends to insult me a lot. She talks back, interrupts, or sometimes insults out of the blue to provoke some kind of reaction. I know this is her exploring the limits of what she can and cannot say; I know that, to an extend, she is mirroring my own slipups (although I do try my best), and I also know I should remain unphased by this. However, I feel like I would NEVER have talked to my own parents like that, and I struggle to keep my cool when she is so insulting, insolent and disrespectful. I find myself questioning this parenting philosophy, as it doesn’t seem to work in this respect, and as I myself, raised more traditionally, do deeply respect my parents.

    In a more concrete way: When I ask her to please express her feelings more politely, and she screams back “No! You’re dumb!” – what is the next step? Move away? Stay with her through her tantrum? Repeating my request? I really am at a loss, and without a clear idea of what to do in that moment, I am much more likely to just react and snap disrespectfully myself.

    Thank you again,

  3. Thank you for this perspective, Avital! It resonates with me on so many levels. Since I had my daughter two years ago I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot, especially how I’ve been taught respect. I never dared to talk about my belief openly because of the judgement I’am sure I will receive, but I absolutely agree with you, that respect cannot be taught or demanded, it must be showed towards our children. I was raised differently, respect was something that was expected, very ofter it was forced on me by physical punishment. Although I do respect my parents, but our relationship is distant, cold and very formal.

  4. I read your email a few days before watching the video and in between times I reflected on the issue. So when I listened to your video I kind of got shivers – because I’d reached the same conclusion as you!! And this was an absolute epiphany for me. I’d never seen it from this angle before. You hit the nail on the head – the commandment is there for the person reading it, not their parent!!

    A similar New Testament verse says, “Children, obey your parents.” (Ephesians 6:1). It doesn’t say, “Parents, force your children to obey you.” The onus is on the child.

    And what will have them willing to obey? A loving and respectful relationship with the parent. So what is your job? To be loving and respectful to your child. And simply to ask for respect when it is not shown.

    Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)

    Perhaps this one should also be applied to parenting.

    And this one:

    “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23)

    And this one:

    “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

    I am so grateful to you for making this video. As you pointed out, in many regards Western culture is founded on the Bible and there are many people practising Judaism and Christianity today so where there is an apparent discrepancy between a parenting model and the Bible it can be a very real obstacle to that model being accepted and put into practise. However, we are all so closed about our religious beliefs that it is very rare for these thoughts to be aired publicly. I admire you for tackling it head on. I am also grateful to the writer of the letter because that took courage.

    Love you, Avital.

  5. We know it’s risky to give your laptop to anyone else, so we’ve trained our technicians to be able to laptop repair and computers while someone is watching – it is basically your entire electronic life on there, so we completely understand. We only use high-quality parts when fixing your laptop or computer, so your device runs like new again at barely any cost. From screen repair to hardware upgrades, we make sure they’re all high-quality parts.
    We have never failed in laptop repairing, no matter how worse is the condition
    Hardware and software upgrades, Virus removal, Motherboard repair/replacement, Hard drive repair and replacement service, Keyboard repair and replacement service, Memory & Graphics card repair and replacement service, Screen repair and replacement service, Liquid damage repair, Tune up & optimization services, Hinge repair and replacement service, Battery repair and replacement service, CD and DVD drive repair and replacement service , DC power jack repair and replacement service.

  6. This is very nice and detailed article, however it doesn’t cover everything. If you are looking for best parenting tips & tricks reseource you should visit this Parenting Blog where they publish valuable and beneficial articles daily, that gives new and better perspective on Parenting and childcare.

  7. Are you looking for a pocket-friendly discount to travel for a getaway trip? If yes, then make your Eva airlines reservations and grab tickets at discounted rates. Eva Airlines ensures that every passenger gets to decide what they want to pay for; therefore, you’ll find tickets on a basic rate; if you choose to travel in comfort and luxury, you can choose additional services. Treat yourself with a luxurious flight while relishing the mesmerizing view from the sky!

  8. Planning a trip to the states, here is the checklist of the places you must definitely visit when in travelling to the United States of America for fun, relaxed, breathtaking views and more. Book your tickets with Qantas Airlines today, so that you grab exciting offers and Qantas Airlines Reservation without any problem.

  9. Are you a frequent air traveler? Do you often get worried about how to spend less on your accommodations whenever you visit another country or state? Don’t be tensed about these little things and make Air Canada Reservations. They offer numerous facilities and options for you to redeem good deals out of them. Air Canada Airlines will help you have a comfortable trip to your destination, and even after your trip is complete, you’ll enjoy the benefits offered by Air Canada at your hotel and while transporting. Make it a Package deal with Air Canada and have a relaxing journey.

  10. My husband and I have been having lots of problems living together, he never gives me attention or makes me happy because he has fallen in love with another woman outside our marriage. I tried my best to make sure that my husband leaves this woman but the more I talk to him about it the more he makes me feel sad and unhappy, My marriage started leading to divorce because he no longer gives me attention. I wanted to forget him but i love him and didn’t want to lose him. We have been married for years and he is all I could call a true best friend and best in all, the man that handles my problems perfectly, the man that makes sacrifices for ,my happiness. I wanted him back in my life badly and I was so confused. My Friends told me to buy books about relationships, so I went online for relationship books while I came across a spell caster called Dr Emu. I read testimonies and reviews about him so I contacted him immediately, explained my problems to him. Same day , he casted a spell for me and assured me for 2 days that my husband will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my husband came knocking on my door and begged for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married again, he proposed. I wouldn’t stop talking about him. Contact him today if you need his help via email: and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay. Website:

  11. Alligent airlines phone number is additionally adjusting in the Puerto Rico region and the USA. On the off chance that you need to talk in Spanish with alligent carriers’ client care group, at that point you …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *