'I just got scolded by an older gentleman at the public library for wearing my hat,' she says, recounting the conversation between her and the elderly stranger.
Most of us are used to hearing from our elders that we need to follow whatever they ask us to do. They claim that doing so is a way of respecting them. However, a mom stirred an important conversation about authoritarian and conscious parenting in a TikTok video about how an older man asked her not to wear a hat inside a library.
Sandy Woznicki first recounts the conversation between her and the elderly stranger, "I just got scolded by an older gentleman at the public library for wearing my hat." She says the man told her it was "disrespectful" to wear a hat inside the library. Instead of getting offended by what the man said, she decided to have a conversation with him about it. "I asked him, 'What does being respectful mean to you?' He looked very puzzled," she says.
She continues in the clip: "So I said, 'I have my three-year-old over there, like how would I explain to him what it means to be respectful?' And he said, 'Well, following the rules.' And obviously, there's no rule about wearing a hat in the library. And I said, 'Well, following the rules, that would be obedience, not respect, right?'" According to Woznicki, he responded that there is no difference between following the rules and respect and told her that she needs to "respect her elders."
Woznicki went on to once again ask him what he meant by that and he replied: "If they tell you it's disrespectful and to take your hat off, take your hat off." In response, she pointed out something very important to him. "It sounds like you're describing obedience, not respect," she told him, Woznicki says in the video. "I said, 'Respect to me, is to be kind and understanding of other people.' After that, I just introduced myself and I shook his hand and I said, 'I really hope you have a nice day.'"
Using the interaction as an example, the mom explains the difference between authoritarian and conscious parenting. "Authoritarian parenting confuses respect and obedience, and to follow rules for the sake of following rules, And often those rules are based on preferences, not logic," says the mom. "So, I'm trying to teach my son question and challenge, and that's okay."
The video garnered about 3.2 million views and 448.9k likes. It is captioned, "Respect or obedience?" Many people praised the woman for her parenting style. @MindfulSloth wrote, "Your child’s emotional intelligence is going to be off the charts. We need a whole generation of parents like you." @feefifauxfarm commented, "100%. I’m 47 and my mom still wants me to obey her. She calls it respect." @selliot42 said, "Soo impressed by how you handled that situation! Responding with curiosity instead of your opinion can open minds." @catdadeh wrote, "The ones from that generation tend to see respect, obedience and fear as the same thing."
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Similarly, another mother, u/pandemicbabe, took to Reddit and raised an important question, "Are millennial parents overly sensitive? Every time I talk to other toddler moms, a lot of the conversations are about how hard things are, how our kids annoy us, how we need our space, how we feel overstimulated, etc. And we each have only one to two kids. I keep wondering how moms in previous generations didn't go crazy with 4, 5, or 6 kids." She also questions if the previous generations talked about how hard it was or whether millennial moms complain more because they had kids later in life or have more involved partners.
Many parents shared their views on this issue. u/tomsprigs wrote, "Us millennials will talk about our feelings and struggles and emotional needs. We are very mental health-focused, which was not really the case in our parent's generation." u/kkaavbb commented, "Also, lack of the 'village' which some think is dumb but our families/parents/grandparents had the village. I know folks in their 50s who had an uncle and aunt a block over, memaw was down the block, another aunt was 2 doors down."