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Respect and Obedience-Confused Concepts

Do you know the difference between respect and obedience? Sadly, many parents and employers regularly get these two concepts confused and the results can be disastrous for their families and staff.

Adults who have grown up in families where the word "no" was interpreted as "disrespect" will always suffer to some degree in their work and personal relationships. There are two possible outcomes from this scenario. The first is that they will have problems saying "no", resulting in them becoming victims who always have bad employers or inconsiderate spouses. These people often "shut up to keep the peace" but inwardly resent the other person who they cannot say "no" to.

When the level of resentment grows to bursting point they can explode over whoever is in range at the time, often the children, claiming, "You made me angry." When a parent, teacher or boss looses their temper and degenerates into abuse by yelling, they may get obedience based on fear but they inevitably lose the respect and trust of those around them.

The second possibility is that as an adult, they overcorrect and head into the ditch on the other side of the road. They take the position that no one is going to tell them what to do. They end up the same as their dominant parent and will punish anyone who says "no" to them. These people rarely take correction well, are difficult to employ and even worse to live with as a partner or parent.

Obedience that is based on fear of getting yelled at, getting a hiding, losing a job or losing a relationship will always produce resentment, which in turn will create a long term barrier to friendship. It can also destroy libido in women and sex drive in men.

Respect on the other hand must be earned and is closely related to trust. It cannot be demanded-respect results in co-operation and mutual trust.

The good news is that strained family and work relationships can be turned around and restored. A sincere apology along with an expression of regret is the key to beginning the process but it takes a mature person to offer an apology without expecting one in return or trying to defend their intention.

For those who wish to begin restoring relationships, David Riddell, a counsellor from Nelson, suggests a question that might be worth remembering: "Is there anything I have said or done for which you would appreciate an apology?"

You might be surprised at the answer.
 
Kiwisense Ltd | P 07 888 2722 | M 021 712 115 | E info@kiwisense.co.nz
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