Respect: Kansas doctor says avoid this word when talking to your teen


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four common words or phrases that parents often use often kill communication with teens, according to family psychologist Dr. Wes Crenshaw. This week? Respect.

What exactly is respect? Dr. Crenshaw defines it as having “deep admiration or reverence for someone or something based on abilities qualities or achievements,” especially those you want to have yourself.

He said teens just aren’t wired to feel that way about their parents. That type of development comes later, when the brain is more developed around 25-years-old.

“The word ‘respect’ automatically evokes negative emotions in the person who says it and the person who it’s aimed at,” he said.

Through his work, Crenshaw said people often have a distorted view of their own past, thinking they respected their parents. When they reflect further though, that respect is often fear, which is not the same thing.

“In reality, respect isn’t learned. It’s earned,” he said.

There is hope for encouraging respect, though. Crenshaw said talking about how you respect others and their decisions can be a good model. Showing respect is always better than demanding it.

Watch the full interview in the video player embedded in this story.

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