Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respects authority?
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30-11-2014, 02:54 PM (This post was last modified: 30-11-2014 03:00 PM by Escape Artist.)
Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respects authority?
The title kind of speaks for itself, but I am curious as to y'alls thoughts on this. Is it really possible to raise children who both question and yet respect authority? And if so, how?

Because, so often, even the act of a child simply questioning an authority figure is seen (by some adults) as being disrespectful, i.e. "Just do what I told you to do." But I should think that most of us here who are parents would encourage our children to question those in a position of authority over them, even us.

I personally do not want my children doing what an adult says, simply because that person said it. Adults can be wrong, and their advice is not always sound.

That being said, it is often wise to at least *listen to* (even if you don't take) the advice of those who've lived longer than you and/or have more experience** than you yourself have.

I can say I've been on both sides of this issue as a parent. I've been pleased to see them (my kids) not take things at face value and not be afraid to question those in a position of authority over them. And yet, I've also had those moments where I tire of their questions and wish they'd just do what I tell them to do, without questioning so much.

There is probably a simple solution to this that I just haven't thought of because I am undoubtedly complicating the situation far too much. Undecided And I wish I had an example or something, but I can't seem to come up with one.

Maybe it comes down to... some traits that are desirable as an adult do not make for a "good" child in the way that many (at least around these here southern parts of the United States Tongue ) folks seem to define a good child. A good kid does what they are told without question.

But yet when one becomes an adult it is suddenly not okay to just accept what people in authority over you tell you to do. Suddenly you are supposed to not be gullible anymore. Suddenly you are to think for yourself and question things. I just don't believe it's good or fair to expect people to behave one way in their younger years and then switch gears on them as adults (and wow I am probably revealing a lot about my own upbringing here Confused ) and very nearly ridicule them for doing the very same things that garnered them praise as a child.

There are some adults who will see any questioning at all (even if it is done in a non-snotty way) as being disrespectful. I don't think there's much one can do about that, but do you think there is a way to spare kids this difficult transition? Can we teach kids from the outset how to question authority figures and yet do so in a way that won't get them too much scolding in the process? Consider

**because simply having been around (lived) longer doesn't necessarily mean you've more experience, just as having been around less doesn't necessarily mean you've less experience.

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30-11-2014, 02:55 PM
RE: Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respect authority?
I sure hope I posted this in the right section. Unsure

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30-11-2014, 03:11 PM
RE: Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respects authority?
It's important to teach respect for authority but not blind obedience. A child should be taught that if something feels wrong they should pose questions to an adult they trust - hopefully a parent.

Respect for a position - like a teacher or principal is different from respecting a person because they have earned that respect.

Blind obedience is what a lot of religions and adults with bad intentions count on.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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30-11-2014, 03:55 PM
RE: Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respects authority?
Yes it is possible. They need to be taught to respectfully disagree and not pitch a hissy. Also they need to learn when it is time to disagree. If they fuss every time they get told to clean their room,for example, legitimate disagreements gets lost in the noise.
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30-11-2014, 04:26 PM
RE: Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respects authority?
Y'all make it sound so simple. As usual, I complicate things. Facepalm

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30-11-2014, 04:29 PM
RE: Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respects authority?
I think the 'respect' part comes from how you disagree. This is not exclusive to children.
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30-11-2014, 04:33 PM
RE: Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respects authority?
Possible but "authority" usually fucks it up by being too "authoritarian."

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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30-11-2014, 04:55 PM
RE: Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respects authority?
I think I accomplished this but I don't know how I did it. I told them when they were little to think for themselves even if it meant disagreeing with me and I won't mind as long as they disagree in a logical, thoughtful manner. The problem came when my youngest daughter was a teenager and logic wasn't exactly in the forefront of her brain activity. Cerebral cortex not being fully developed and all that. Everything is uber dramatic in teenagers.Yes


One practical way to teach respect and question authority is to have discussions about the world during dinner time. Eating is a great time to be civilized and at the same time wonder about what's going on in the news.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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30-11-2014, 05:23 PM
RE: Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respects authority?
I say yes!

First - Children need to be taught respect for others, right and wrong and safety.
Secondly- Children need to be taught that for a variety of reasons some people have negative motives, or may be misinformed about some things.
Thirdly- Children need to understand that some people are going to lead them down a good path, and others will not. Some people will be well-meaning, but will not lead them down the right path. (The right path being one of kindness, respect, intelligence, logic and honesty.)

Slowly they will grasp the concept of thinking deeply about the actions of others, not just themselves. It is hard however when children are young and they honestly believe the world revolves around them. It takes a long time to learn to intelligently and respectfully question authority.

I have had a couple glasses of wine so I apologize for any typos or if that made no sense XD
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30-11-2014, 05:26 PM (This post was last modified: 30-11-2014 05:30 PM by Nurse.)
RE: Is it possible to raise a child who both questions and yet respects authority?
(30-11-2014 04:26 PM)Escape Artist Wrote:  Y'all make it sound so simple. As usual, I complicate things. Facepalm

I agree it's complicated. It drove my parents insane that my brother would question their authority - I learned their punishments were unfair, told them fuckall about what I was doing, and learned to do what I wanted to do while lying through my teeth. My brother's tell was his ears would turn red, They never figured out mine, nor do I know my own. I don't want that lack of open communication for my son - I made a lot of stupid decisions, and had no one to turn to when I suffered the consequences of my actions. To this day, Mom thinks my biggest area of rebellion was refusing to keep my room clean - and she still bitches about it. Cleaning was one of the punishments in my house - so every time I clean I feel like I'm being punished instead of checking off a chore. My husband associates it with positive feelings - he earned an allowance. (Pavlovian response?)

My in-laws encouraged my husband to think for himself. For example: He got grounded for not cleaning his room when he was about 10, and thought it was unfair. They said - ok, defend your case. He sat down and drafted a rebuttal pretending to be an attorney - they thought it was hilarious, gave their own rebuttal, and he ended up cleaning his room and the grounding was over when the room was clean. They saved the letter.

If only I could get him to think about Christianity with the same critical thinking.

My son is five. I don't know that I'm qualified to give parental advice, I'm just trying my best to teach him to think and get him to answer a lot of his own why questions.

"If there's a single thing that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so." - Lev Grossman
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