What counts as disrespecting your parents? (as adults)

I’ve been bothered by a recent question in the Ask An Apologist section since I read it where a sin I personally thought was barely venial was actually perhaps mortal.

The question was about disrespecting parents and I thought that would mean serious things like betraying them, hurting them, fighting using offensive or hurtful words or deliberately saying bad things about your parents to others,

But the question seemed to suggest that interrupting a parent whilst they’re speaking is mortal which is what got me.
If this is mortal then I’m nowhere near a state of grace!

I try to be respectful to my mother as an adult but she disagrees with my faith and often makes things hard for me so I often have little patience with her.

So, my question is, for adults, what things are counted as disrespectful (venial and mortal) ? Please answer since this is bothering me.

Thank you.

I know what you are talking about, I thought it was venial too, but Fr. Vincent Serpa said “it could be” if it was mortal or not, so it probably depends. I struggle with fully respecting my parents as well, I’m going to be 18 this year, so I don’t know if you want to consider me an adult, i’m not sure when to draw the line of venial or mortal, even though it is obvious in some cases. What we should do is frequent confession and praying the rosary everyday, and we should continually pray for our parents.:thumbsup:

I thought that in that particular case it was venial, too.

I have a hard time with this as well. People always say, “perception is reality” and my mother percieves that she is being slighted if I don’t wear lipstick in her presence. Every step I’ve made that isn’t what she would do is considered an insult to her because she is so narcissitic she considers her children to be representations of herself. I’m not a person who does well in “crazy land”, so I’ve just decided that my personal bar is to treat her the way she would want to be treated if she was normal. This is hard enough as it is, because her little eccentricies add up to major frustration on a frequent basis.

I just read Fr. Serpa’s response and I found it to be very general and answers the question VERY broadly. I thought the part about the day you might miss “her voice” (the mother’s) so be nice was a little over the top, and quite honestly, naive.

Of course we should should be nice and respectful to our parents – in theory – but reality and individual circumstances can and do mitigate these goals.

My advice to you to speak face to face with your parish priest so can you discuss YOUR particular issues and determine through prayer what is the BEST APPROACH FOR YOU, period.

I also think the answer is very broad but given the “it could be” I think that meant “it depend on the particular circumstances”. I think that fray serpa is assuming that the parent is a good faithful Christian parent who practices what the church teaches and he is not assuming here that the parent is being unreasonable or is a plain bad parent.

To put an example, let’s think of an adult child going to college who lives with the parent and the child wants to go out partying at night. The parent wants the child to tell parent where child is going to be - because parents worry about their children and the thought of something bad happening to your child can keep a parent awake in desperation the entire night up - so the parent is talking explaining the adult child that parent needs to know where are you going to be and the child interrupts the parent yelling I do whatever I want blah blah you do not tell me what to do blah blah and in a mean rude way, and the child storms out of the house smashing the door. That it is mortal sin and I think fray serpa is referring to those similar circumstances.

I also can understand fray serpa because truthfully many adult children dismiss their parents in a horrible way. I have seen many adults whose treatment of their mothers is well way less than charitable for not saying something else. That is not right. And when he says youay miss the voice well it does happen precisely because many adults dismiss the parent…specially young adults…only to find out many years later that parent was right so he has a valid point.

But you gotta look at particular circumstances and at the whole picture.

I was surprised by the answer, too. Especially as a mortal sin has to be deliberate. I’m sure I was very rude to my parents when I was a teen - that seems to go with the territory. :wink:

As an adult, it’s iffy. I can remember one time when Mom really pushed my buttons - we ended up not speaking for about a month. While it strained our relationship, I have a hard time seeing it as a sin of any stripe. It could have become a sin if either of us had escalated the argument or gossiped about it - or never apologized.

Allegra - I feel for you! I have a sister like that. I, too, don’t do well in crazy-land (even tho I did live there for a while :(). Treating her as normal seems to be the best - that’s how we’re dealing with our sister - but it’s very, very difficult.

You sure we’re not related?

This is always a struggle, I know I’ve posted about it before. How do you respect parents who feel disrespected by your independence?

I will speak to my priest about it in confession.

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