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Respect

Respect

“I don’t get no respect”, a catchphrase from Rodney Dangerfield, seems more applicable today than ever before. The boundaries of the 19th and 20th centuries have given way to instantaneous worldwide communications. Thanks to technology, in seconds we can send and receive messages, contact friends and family, organize events, and meet new people. Technology has made communication easier and faster; however, parents, teachers and business and community leaders can be heard citing Aretha Franklin’s lyric, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me” to a bright, unconventional 21st century populace not terribly interested in conforming.

There is no single explanation for disrespectful behavior. Respect seems to have dwindled from the top down; vulgarity and rudeness often tolerated – violence by children and teens often excused. In this “right now”, “right this minute” society, multi-tasking physically, mentally, and emotionally evokes poor listening skills, short-tempered responses, and poor judgement. Hearing the words and not their meaning, or failing to recognize the emotions and feelings behind the words is comparable to a child failing to grasp the meaning of a simple text. Untreated, disrespect instills rifts in families, cruel and violent outbursts in classrooms, and fear-based work environments. Pre-judging, ignoring, belittling, patronizing, and bullying are disrespectful behaviors. The therapists and counselors of Improving Lives Counseling Services diagnose and treat disruptive, impulse, and related conduct disorders.

Sourcing conduct disorder in a diverse society is easy. Following a lead or buying-in can be done from the privacy of a home or by reading a post on a cellphone while standing in a line. Social media and crowd-sourcing can rally a group toward disrespectful behavior. Does one bad apple spoil the whole bunch? In groupings of children, teens, and adolescents, it can. In generation X, millennials, and generation Y we see it in diverse political environments. “The psychologists Martin Daly and Margo Wilson estimated that two-thirds of all murders were the result of men feeling that they had been disrespected and acting to save face.”

Is the ease of communications and the fast-paced environment the blame? Some experts believe so. Yet for a general populace keeping up in a minute-by-minute society, the idea of slowing down or adjusting routines and schedules is not an option. Can we blame family structures, public schools, television, video games, hanging with the wrong crowd or low expectations? Not if we believe crowds are made up of individuals. “Clark McPhail, an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Illinois instructs police officers to never respond categorically to a crowd. If one person is breaking the law, address that person in an unobtrusive way. “If you are blatant and violent, you affect people who weren’t doing anything wrong.”

Today teachers, coaches, law enforcement, neighbors, and family members experience disrespect on a regular basis. “I’m not going to let him/her talk to me that way” is heard far too often in parent/teacher conferences. Employers nationwide report an increase in aggressive, disparaging, and impertinent behavior. The increased absences, impaired performance, negative work environment, and dismal customer service effects their bottom line.

Improving Lives Counseling Services’ therapists and counselors can help. We offer individual, couples, family, and group counseling sessions on coping with slights-narcissistic injuries, in the diagnosis and treatment of conduct disorder in children and teens, and anti-social personality disorder in adults. Disrespect in families and in the workplace can lead to serious health issues, low self-esteem, ADHD, drug abuse, promiscuity, depression, and in some cases, suicide; for both the person who is being disrespectful and the disrespected. Live the life you were meant to live. You are not alone – call us.