3 Ways to Disrespect Your Adult Son (And Respectful Alternatives)

Disrespect is Palpable to Men

From watching TV with my husband, I’ve learned a lot about how keen men are to noticing respect and disrespect. My husband is indignant when a woman disrespects her guy, and when she respects him- I see a brilliant smile and firm head nod radiate from the other couch. He celebrates respect when he sees it in someone else, and he angers at disrespect. It has helped me a lot to notice what he values and sees as respectful and disrespectful.

According to Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs, who wrote Love and Respect and does a lot of speaking on the topic, while women are more fine-tuned to desire love, men are hard-wired to desire respect. Obviously, we all desire both, but men tend to want respect more. It is biblical. Ephesians 5:33 calls men to love their wives and women to love their husbands? No! It calls men to love and women to respect their husbands. There is a reason for that! This is why respect is so important in relationships with the men you care about in your life.

So, if you are seeking to really push your adult son’s buttons and get him fired up, one of the easiest ways to accomplish your purpose is to disrespect him and other men in your life. The following our sure fire ways to lower his respect for you and make him upset:

1. Disrespect His Father

We raise our kids to learn respect. If they can respect us, they can respect other people as adults. At least, that is the hope. As a wife called to respect my husband, one of the greatest ways I can do that is to hold my sons to a high bar in respecting their father. Alternately, one of the ways I can fail the greatest is to disrespect their father in front of them.

Likely, if you are reading this, you have an adult son- one that you invested a large portion of your life and his into teaching him respect. Because of your good work and because he is a man, he’s going to notice, even when you don’t, when you disrespect your man or any father-figure in his life.  I’ve seen adult men bristle like a porcupine at disrespectful comments, facial expressions, attitudes, etc of their moms toward their husbands.

Respectful Alternative

Find out what it means to respect your husband and do that. Different men value different things, but here are some ideas:

  1. Give Him Your Undivided Attention When He Talks
  2. Don’t Interrupt Him
  3. Keep Your Facial Expressions Respectful
  4. Brag About Him in Public
  5. Don’t Talk Bad About Him
  6. Don’t Shake Your Head At His Failures
  7. Smile at Him Adoringly Often
  8. Compliment Him
  9. Thank Him for Specific Actions
  10. Don’t Answer For Him
  11. Spend Money Wisely
  12. Honor His Interests and Preferences

Does your adult son have a father-figure you aren’t married to? You can still speak respectfully about and exhibit a respectful attitude toward him. Note: Statements that start with “Now, I respect him because he’s your father, but…” shouldn’t even escape your mouth. Probably what you are about to say won’t be helpful.

2. Shush Him

When he stands up for something that he feels is right and just, just let him stand. I recently watched a grown man stand up to his mom when she was treating other people unfairly. He did it respectfully and in a kind tone. His actions are quite rare in their relationship, so it was clearly important to him. What he received changed made him stiffen in anger. Now, while I saw the events, I didn’t notice his mom’s response to him; I only know because he spoke about it later in confidence.

She shushed him. She also gently pushed him away. A push away is something that even angers my four-year-old. Yet, to me, a woman and mom that shushes her young boys often, this wouldn’t have been something I would have recognized as highly offensive. However, to a man, being shushed is extremely disrespectful. It is even more angering when it is done to try to stop the man from doing something he feels is morally right.

Respectful Alternative

Salute Him With Your Attitude

When your son morally rises up to an occasion to stand for something that is right, salute him with your attitude. There are occasions where I’ve heard of or seen parents of adult men try to convince them to step down from such a position for all kinds of reasons-to pay less taxes, save money, earn more money, get something material, get respect, preserve a relationship, make it in the world, etc. Whatever reason you have- nothing could be worth your son’s integrity. Applaud them for it.

Take Confrontation Well

Most adult men don’t easily confront their parents. If you are in a situation in which your son confronts you excessively, then you are the exception to the rule and can skip over what I say here. Children have a keen eye to their parent’s. They can see what many people don’t. And, let’s face it, it can be difficult to see our own flaws. In Jeremiah 17:9-10, it is clear that our own hearts deceive us. We think we are doing right for the right reasons, but our actions are often plagued by motives that are selfish, prideful, or otherwise sinful.

Having even one friend that can recognize the deep things about you- good and bad- and that is willing to talk freely with you is one of the most priceless treasures a person could have. If you have this like I do, you know that defensiveness has no place, and that these friends are the closest, best kinds. Your adult son is exceedingly valuable. Even if you wouldn’t shush him, you might be tempted to get defensive or shut him down otherwise by interrupting him. When he ventures to help you see something- realize what a priceless treasure that is, recognize that, as difficult as it might be for you, it is a loving, difficult step on his part, listen, thank him sincerely, and apply all you can.

3. Use Dinner to Confront

“Honey, let’s have dinner- just you and me. I’d really enjoy the time with you!” This would normally be a super special event for a mom to get to have a date with her son all to herself. And, it could be a great time for the son. That is, unless you’ve ever taken advantage of this as a time to address difficult issues.

Just as its better for husbands and wives strive to handle difficult discussions during a couples meeting or any other time than a date, it’s better to not use a special meal for confrontation. Try it once and then invite them out again. Don’t be surprised if they decline or find an excuse not to come or to delay it. Likely they are expecting a confrontation again. Try it more than once and you’ve made it a pattern. You can pretty much kiss Mommy/Son date night goodbye.

Respectful Alternative

Make Meals Occasions to Honor Him

If you want to do something special during a dinner, sometimes make meals like that occasions to honor him. Go out of your way to make a date out with your son a time to tell him what you respect about him- period. Set another time another day to discuss difficult issues if you can. Let something else be associated with confrontation for him- not a special time with him for dinner. For example, if walks with him are something you’re willing to have associated with difficult conversations, ask him to walk with you for a few minutes when you need to discuss something.

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