How Do I Respect My Parents if They Don’t Respect Me?

I have heard many teenagers blurt out this question with great frustration, anger, and exasperation.  As a teen, you are growing in your desire to be respected by your parents and others. Not receiving respect, or not receiving it in the way you think it should be given, will challenge your character for sure.  But how should you respond to this situation when it occurs?  How do you respect your parents if they don’t respect you?

Here are three guidelines from God’s word that are sure to help, if you choose to follow them:

1. Make Honoring God a Priority in Your Life

Seek first to honor God and bring Him glory instead of trying to make your parent respect you (I Corinthians.10:31; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Colossians 3:17,24).

You will find that is amazingly freeing when you stop putting expectations on your parents and you focus on doing what God says…simply to honor God.  Additionally, God does not tell teenagers or children to obey and honor their parents only if they are first respected.  You will find great satisfaction in life and living when you decide to honor and obey God first.

2. Obey God by Obeying Your Parents

Obey your parents and respect them, even if you are not respected (Ephesians 6:1-2; Colossians 3:20; Romans 12:17-21).

Obeying and respecting your parents is commanded by God.  God does not say, “obey if your parents totally make sense” or “respect them only if you think they deserve it”.  Unless your parents are telling you to do something immoral or illegal, you are responsible to obey and respect them…whether you agree or like what they are saying or not.  It is amazing how much respect a teenage son or daughter usually receives when he or she consistently obeys and respects his or her parents.

3. Serve Your Parents

That’s right. Go out of your way to serve your parents (Mark 10:45; John 13:5-20)

God clearly teaches that a true follower of Christ will learn to humbly serve others first without expecting something in return.  If you choose to serve your parents and help them with the normal household responsibilities, I think you will be amazed at how that could result in respect also (provided this is not the motivation for your serving).

The Bottom Line

God’s ways are not our ways.  If you change your perspective, actions, and words to line up with God’s ways as oulined in these three guidelines, you will experience much greater happiness and joy in life, not to mention you set the stage for gaining respect.  God calls you to give the very thing you want – respect.

Andy Woodall
Andy Woodall served as the Pastor of Student Ministries at Faith from 1999-2012.