Why do my children not respect me?

Question: My elder son does not respect me, and the younger one has begun imitating him in that for some time now, though I think that I have not failed in satisfying any of their rights. What do you think the reason is?

The answer: Whenever the father shows his love to his children in different ways and on different occasions, they respect and regard him more, except if there are special defects in the children’s mentalities the blame of which does not lie with the father.

The father is the first factor in forming the type of relationship between him and his children. The father who does not allow his son to talk freely and declare what is in his mind should not expect his son to respect him from the moment he begins opening his eyes to life.

The father who treats his child coercively, shouts at him, insults him, or maybe even slaps him if he is a little late in carrying out his orders will destroy every excuse for making his child respect him.

The father who treats his children unequally and does not show them the same love and respect should accept the fact that they will not respect him because he himself has not respected them.

The father who allows his children to revel in every bad culture and suspicious friendships and is indifferent to any bad habit they adopt will not find in them what will please him.

Dear brother, as long as you have not neglected your children’s rights, perhaps there are other reasons behind their not respecting you. From among these reasons is that your children may be teenagers. This is a temporary state that often disappears between the age of twenty-five and thirty. If your child is older than this age, his conduct towards you may be because he has thoughts opposite to yours.

Anyhow, I would advise every father to not make himself as a military officer, his house as a military barrack, and his children as his soldiers! Fathers should, from the very beginning, plant love into their children’s hearts and educate them in a way that makes them feel they have independent personalities in the house and in life.

The moral teachings and values Islam has issued are sufficient to make man perfect, but it is the duty of fathers, mothers, and children to adhere to these teachings in order to protect themselves from any educational disease that may trouble their family life. Surely, prevention is better than cure but most people are indifferent.