Respect Goes Both Ways


(Image via Medium)

Brianna Garcia-Andrade, Writer

Have you ever been told to respect someone who you didn’t feel deserves your respect? Growing up we were taught to always respect those who are older than us, even when they didn’t necessarily treat us with the same respect. I agree that everyone should be treated with respect, but I don’t think it would be fair if someone isn’t showing you respect, and all you’re expected to do is sit back and smile. Respect is supposed to go both ways, it’s not something that should be expected but earned.

Don’t get me wrong, you should always respect your elders, such as your parents, your grandparents, teachers, siblings, etc., but only to a certain extent. Obviously, you are going to respect those that are older than you because that’s good manners, and it’s what we were taught to do. However, there are times when someone doesn’t necessarily deserve your respect. It’s unfair to expect those younger than you to respect you simply because you are older and therefore feel entitled to respect. It’s especially unfair when they expect it, but don’t feel the need to treat you the same. 

What are you expected to do when someone older than you isn’t showing you the respect that you show them? Most adults will tell you that you shouldn’t do anything because if you decide to stand up for yourself it’s seen as disrespectful. At that point, I think that adults use the motto “respect your elders” as an excuse to treat people however they see fit. Sometimes, they even take advantage of the power that that statement gives them. Imagine arguing with a parent and they start blaming you for things you didn’t do or they simply aren’t listening to your side of the argument, so you try to get them to understand by explaining it to them but then they call you disrespectful for talking back to them. That’s not disrespectful though, it’s simply standing up for yourself. 

It’s sad that an adult not respecting someone younger than them has been normalized. Most people don’t see anything wrong with it because they are adults, and therefore what do they owe these kids? It’s a poor outlook. If someone isn’t showing you the respect that you deserve or give them, then they don’t deserve your respect. People shouldn’t see anything wrong with that. It’s worse to raise someone to believe that age is what defines the amount of respect that they deserve. We need to stop giving other people so much power over us because, in the end, it gives them an upper hand.

In conclusion, don’t expect respect if you can’t give the same respect back to people. Everyone should respect the people that deserve it, the people that show them that same respect, regardless of anything that others have led you to believe.