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Thread: Is it unfilial (不孝) to demand respect from parents?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Is it unfilial (不孝) to demand respect from parents?

    I just had a row with my parents yesterday.

    One issue we couldn't come to agreement is that my respect for them. and I press the issue further asking for their definition of "respect", they said I don't listen to everything they told me to do, that when they told me to do something or behave in a certain way, I had to follow without objection or second thoughts.

    I tried to tell them this kind of request is not some normal advises or teaching parents offered their children but absolute and blind obedience a military commander wanted of a subordinate.

    I went on to give my opinion that "respect" and obedience are completely different things. Respect is a mutual thing. When they had shown respects for their children (like don't force them to make the decision they don't want, don't dictate how they must live their life), your children would return the respect. Shockingly, they said that they, as a parent, do not need to respect their children, and what rights do children have to demand respect from parents?

    In reaction to my opinion of mutual respect, they also said and I quote" if you have thoughts like that, you are an unfilial child to you parents" (yes I'm Chinese and my father's a bit conservative in Confucian teaching).

    My question is what I did request of my parents (i.e. mutual respect) -

    - is it really unfilial as my father had said?

    - Please do share what you think as mutual respect between parent and children

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    i will not be theoretical in response.

    Being a Chinese too and having lived for 50+ years, my advice is simple: you will understand when you get older (late 30s possibly).
    Anyway, just love your parents. When one by one is gone (for me, grandmum is gone. dad is gone. grandpa died before I was born. only mum is left now), there will be a void in your heart - no matter how good/bad they are.

  3. #3
    Member XiaoYe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015


    I agree to love your parents and appreciate them when there are here, but mutual respect is important too. I believe in mutual respect, but I also know that parents will tend to want the upper hand in a disagreement. This is not something that can be changed easily (if ever). If parents want their children to respect them (from the heart), then they need to act by example. I certainly would not want my child to just be obedient and show respect on face value. For parents to respect their children, it does not mean they are giving in to their children, it does not mean they have lost authority, and it does not mean they are spoiling their children. I think this is what Chinese parents are scared of. Parents also don't like to be 'taught' stuff because for all their life they were the ones teaching you, and now that the tables have turned, it is instinctively a threat (even if you are their child and there is no competition).
    Last point, sometimes as a child we might feel like we know better, but after a few years, you might realise your parents were right in what they said, but we couldn't see that at the time. But hey, it's all part of growing up and the fact that you are challenging your parents' ideas just show's that you are maturing, just don't go overboard.

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