Why doesn’t this son respect his mother?

The mother complains that the son eats in his room, he leaves used plates on the bed, he leaves the newspapers flying all over the room, he sleeps and wakes up anytime, and he helps with no chores. He once asked his mother what she did all day, since the maids did all the work. He’s 20.

Once when we had dinner with them he asked his sister, one year older to him, to take away our used plates. “Heh, heh that’s your future anyway…”. The mother looked annoyed, but not enough. He wasn’t affected. The sister bristled but she looked more tearful than angry. Mother said he was the one who was going to pick plates when he was married. I laughed (through gritted teeth) and added, “Of course he is only joking, he’s no MCP. He will be a good husband and share chores at home.” Mother gave me dirty looks, her son would never be a Joru Ka Gulaam.

I couldn’t say “Where did he get that idea about her future from? If you ignore him when he insults his sister, how do you expect him to respect other women, including you?”

Moments before that the boy’s father had proudly recounted how the son once punched a classmate on his nose (which bled) because that boy said something disrespectful (or worse) about a teacher. He said such reactions were in their DNA, he had been the same. I said violence could get the child into trouble, but realised they saw violent reactions as err… manly.

Then the father spoke of how he had accepted no dowry. And how shocked his servants, subordinates, colleagues, acquaintances and friends were (many reactions in great details), how they had inspected his house and found no new gas stove, etc. How one of them told him they could have got him “an English speaking wife with a good dowry”.

The wife was listening. So were their children. I said my husband got no dowry either, but we were proud of that. (I didn’t say my husband’s colleagues, servants, acquaintances and friends, and even his family knew he would not listen to such talk.)

He said he now realised that his father in law was not wrong in asking if they had ‘any demands’. Now as a father of a daughter, he was going to ask the same question. The idea of equal rights and responsibilities for the son and the daughter was an unacceptable option here. (I tried). He now feels his “idiosyncrasies were wrong”. He said, in his youth he had found the question about dowry offensive.  He had asked his father in law, if he thought he was for sale.

I didn’t ask if he thought disrespect for teachers was wrong, but disrespect for the mother, the sister, the wife and the wife’s father was fine.


68 thoughts on “Why doesn’t this son respect his mother?

  1. FIRST!!!!!

    What a horribly confused mindset! lord have mercy on the values the kids are going to get!

    Me – I feel terrible for the girl who sense this is wrong but is so terribly confused. And she’s a smart girl and they are a cosmopolitan family, western clothes and English speaking …


  2. confused family with confused values.
    mothers are responsible for encouraging such attitude of their sons. first pamper them, don’t allow them to do any thing , treat them like china glass, feel great in doing chores for them , completely spoil them for the future life


    reg ur comment — cosmopolitan family, western clothes and English speaking …
    it has got nothing to do with what people actually feel. all this are external showoffs. i have seen many so called modern people who say something else and do something totally different

    Me – Anju the worst thing is even the pampered child is not happy in such dependence – the moment he is out of the house, he has to deal with people who do not think like his family does. And the difficulty he will face in treating a wife like a partner instead of being her ‘guardian’… I am glad I am not the only one feeling this outrage.


  3. Oh Dear God in Heaven!
    What kind of people are these? You sat thru such discussions so nicely IHM!
    Me, I would have thrown a plate or something at them!
    I feel for the poor girl! She needs to get out of the house and see the outside world, maybe in the name of studies…
    And that son, he needs a good kick!

    How difficult it must be for her! And what’s with the mother’s attitude?!!
    Women need to change first and start respecting ourselves and other women…

    Me – I could do nothing Pixie, I gave some diluted opinions… As parents they are free to give their values to their children. I blogged about it because there wasn’t much else I could do…


  4. You sat through the whole conversation. And that too without saying a word. You really have a high level of tolerance there.!

    Me – 😦 I do talk to the mother whenever there is a chance, I was aware of how she felt good girls must behave…


  5. Are they in the 16th century???? Oh wait..even at that time..women were respected I guess!

    Me – From outside they are 21st century, the daughter has even changed the way the mother dresses. She is a lovely girl… The father comes from the dark ages. Not sure about the mother, I feel she is confused and has no say in anything. The son follows father’s footsteps – so the biggest disadvantage of marrying an MCP is even the son won’t respect the mother without some serious effort from her side 😦


    • when the mother is in the 16th century’s mindset and the daughter grows up reading books related to “womens rights” imagine the mahabharata in the house ! it is a constant FIGHT because of difference in opinion – their relationship is completely ruined, because even if the daughter understands – she can give in and become submissive to a mothers 16th century attitude to keep a sane, loving family”, but be completely “killed” inside and promote traditional indian male . – there is room for such awareness. as anju said above even if women are becoming aware – most indian males still remain in the stone ages ( yes all the elite educated types !)



  6. You know I sometimes wonder where on earth you find these kind of idiots???

    Me – Prateek, I did not know they were like this until I met them all together- I have known them for five years now. Many times what we see outside and what people really are, is very different.


  7. We’re liberating our daughters but don’t realise our sons are still completely regressed. So the whole female emancipation is an exercise in futility if 50% of the population (is that 60% in India) are still living in the last century. This is so common to have a son and daughter in the same household brought up with completely different values.

    Me – I agree. When mothers hope to find respect by producing a male child, they don’t realise how much further they push away any chances of finding any respect. This mother sees that this is wrong but then the conditioning and common sense keep clashing, so she is totally confused. 😦 The mother is a victim too.


  8. This is outrageous but still happens a lot, unfortunately. Its upto us now, to bring up our sons and daughters equally and raise our sons to respect women.

    Me – I feel in this family the mother is also a victim. She is strong but not strong enough… 😦


  9. Such disrespect – sometimes is so irritating – the mother realises the son’s wrong words, but is quiet – Why ???? Its only a mother who can instill the right and wrong in a son’s behaviour.

    When my brother was born 7 years later than me, he was pampered to the core by everyone, including me. But me and my sister made sure, that he shares the household work, which all of us were expected to do. The pampering didnt blind us so much, that we did his work.

    Now, my brother’s wife is the happiest for such participation in household work.

    Me – Uma just think of the way the father talked about the dowry and how everybody got to discuss what better options he had! The son has picked his attitude from the father’s example. The mother can help but I am not sure how much. She has very little say in anything in her children’s life, from what they are called to how they are raised… some family are like this. 😦


  10. this is where peoples thinkings have to be broadened… a lot of conditioning is to be wiped… a lot is to be stirred and shaken !

    thats where such blogs help !

    Me – True Hichwriter! And I hope so… there are so many of us now, I hope those who need to read them, read them.


  11. This is a typical case of the son being spoilt. I have seen this sort of thing. Such a boy will certainly not respect women. He will seek a doormat as well. He will probably get one. I think that his mother is to blame. One pampers and then when the child grows up it is too late. In fact impossible, because the other parent and society also exerts pressure. I believe the mother has the greatest influence and she can counter it all in most cases.

    Me – Nita the way the father bragged about the son’s violent behaviour and spoke of the dowry he did not get… and the way the girl is so timid, and mother is so helpless, the father-son reminded me of the father-son in ‘Astitva’. (But they don’t get along with each other either)…


  12. good post.
    it’s strange there still are many many families which lay the foundation for the birth, growth and development of the MCP. all i can say is the world has moved on. women too. the going is going to be rough for the chauvinists.

    Me – A lot of girls who grow up in such an environment grow up to be strong women and strong mothers, but sometimes they might grow up accepting this kind of treatment as their fate 😦


  13. Gender and power imbalances between men and women affect behaviour in relationships and the worth attached to different individuals well-being. So a son is a son’s son, a father’s son!

    Me – He is his father’s son in the way he treats his mother and his sister. The father treats his mother the same way the son does.


  14. I feel the blame for a son’s disrespect for women, cannot be squarely laid at his mother’s door. What he sees his father doing is what he will imitate. All his mother’s nagging and teaching will have no effect if the father doesn’t speak the same language, walk the same talk and show respect to the mother himself. Kids do as they see, not as they hear. Why exonerate the fathers of responsibility?

    Me – I absolutely agree. I thought the father had no respect for the mother and the son can’t help but see this. Mother has no control over the situation…


  15. This is a typical Indian family IHM. They never teach the sons to do the household work. No putting away the plates, no making beds, no washing undies. But he’ll be asked to run and pay the electricity bill. The daughter on the other hand is expected to do all this. And she probably won’t be allowed to pay the electricity bill even if she wants to. The son grows up with the attitude that “men are better than women”. And what’s more, even the women (mothers) believe so and encourage the attitude.


  16. learning to respect begins at home. there is just no two ways about it. its just like how parents begin by disciplinging children at home, teaching the manners etc.. things like this have to begin at home.. no one in the outside world will teach u such things.. and if u cant be respectful to the women in ur family, how can u extend it to other women u meet? the fact that the boy said wat he did to his sister, means he’s thinking in the wrong way and is consequently going to be acting in the wrong way…wonder wat kind of a husband he wud make ….he’ll expect his wife to pick up after him (and wat not) for sure… also, his mother is just making statments..thats not good enuf.. u cant just say “he’ll pick up his plates when he’s married”.. he wont change overnight..get him to pick them up today!!


  17. This is happening even in NRI families. These people live abroad for 20-30 years and speak in English, eat with spoons and follow all other western customs. But hesitate to be like the men in western families. There is no special treatment for boys or girls or men or women over there. Everyone share the household work. No work is inferior. But our men over there never help their wives in their household work. They think it is below their dignity.

    I think it will take another 2-3 generations to change this type of mentality, IHM.


  18. I once went to a colleague’s home and his wife had made awesome samosas. The guy proudly told me that he had trained his wife to cook, by giving her hell if she made something bad tasting. His wife (a math teacher, I may add) smiled politely and nodded, saying “Yeh bahar ka khana nahin khatey”. The samosas did not taste half as good after that! Wonder if he would take it if she threw tantrums about and gave him hell for “Not earning enough or providing half as well” in the same stereotypical role playing way …

    Some people ……………………


  19. You’re really tolerant, IHM! In my household, boys are not allowed to do anything coz they’re brought up with the mindset that their wife will do everything for them! It’s ridiculous and frustrating.


  20. The son does not respect his mother because the father does not. Kids need to be taught everything and respect being the foremost. I feel bad for the son and the daughter. The daughter will likely be married to a man who will treat her like her dad treats her and the son will likely treat his wife similarly. And they will teach their kids the same things they learnt, resulting in a whole generation of retrogressive men and women.


  21. I’ve been giving some thought as to why the mothers themselves don’t rebel against this sort of mindset. I also recently read “Madam Bovary” and found an interesting concept.

    Apparently, the suppressed women these situations want to have a son so that they get to experience freedom and power that they never obtained through him. No wonder then that they encourage the son to laze around and feel that he’s the king, since that’s the whole point of having a son in the first place!

    How much truth do you think is there in this idea? Do mothers tolerate chauvinistic sons because it’s their revenge (in a funny sort of way) for their own inability to be free?


    • That’s an interesting thought Bhagwad Jal Park. Considering that the oppressed women in India hanker after sons (without sons they are sidelined) and through them gain recognition from family and society and later move on to become oppressive and powerful mothers-in-law themselves, there seems to be something to the idea.


  22. I believe kids’ behavior towards parents is influenced by how the spouses treat each other.
    Also there is one more thing I feel..in many families there is a lot of difference in disciplining of kids according to sex.


  23. I dont have a sister, but if I made such a statement even to any my cousin sisters, my mom wouldve stopped cooking for me and would have taken my name out of her Ration card and Will !! 😀 😀 😀 😀


  24. ““Heh, heh that’s your future anyway…”. Yes I have heard some brothers say this to their sisters with parents looking on indulgently at the ‘laadla’. Makes me gnash my teeth when it happens and alternatively makes me want to cry with frutration too. I see too much of such things all around me and the sad part is, nobody even gives it a second thought. WHEN will things change??!


  25. you know IHM, im with a guy who is from a typical indian family. mother n sister run around in circles after him…not because he needs them to but because maybe it makes them feel indispensible. they’ll wash his clothes, hand him his food…but in turn he has to chauffer them all over town, even if his back hurts after his 15hr job, he has to be a surrogate husband to his mother because his fathers out of town, he pays the bills, does the grocery and etc.

    but he makes a damn good cup of tea.

    when i was sick he came all the way n made me what he knew how to…maggi and an omlette.

    he hand fed me medicines and i know he hands his mothers meds to her too.
    his dad never gave money to his mom, not even for household stuff but wen He started earning, he gave his mother money monthly for her use.

    when his mother n sister act unfairly or oddly towards me, or wrongly…he has never once hesitated to stand up for me. not because its me but because its the right.

    when i once broke a bottle [threw it at him in a fit of anger], he handed me slippers and swept away all the glass and made sure i hadn’t hurt myself.

    his sister lost her job 1 year ago, still no job, he slips money into her wallet n makes sure she never has to ask for money.

    never ever lets me pay for anything.

    he tried to teach me how to drive…i er…lost it a bit.

    he is the one forcing me rather supporting me in my pursuit of higher education alongwith my folks. he is happy to delay marriage.

    he has signed a written contract [rules 🙂 for marriage] whereing we’ll share the household chores equally…he will be incharge of the cleaning as he is so much better!

    he stated in front of everyone [including his mom] he doesnt belive in women covering their heads, or touching feet.

    whats to be made of him??


  26. Infuriating but not surprising. Happens because no one sees anything wrong with it. Or even if they do, they do not think they can change the status quo. And quite frankly most people think it is not really worth the fight to do so either.


  27. Its a misconception that by giving undue advantages or pampering a child, the mother can earn respect. A child observes and learns and here he is learning that it is OK to be rude. He is not observing any give and take of respect in the family, all he is seeing is partial treatment and boastful attitude. And after all he is a male and mother is a female, who by his observation, like his sister, doesn’t deserve any respect at all.


  28. You bring out the truth in majority of the families IHM. Cannot imagine the plight of the mother in such situations. The father does not realize that he is setting a bad example for his children as well. That they are not helping their daughter’s self esteem or son’s boorish attitude.


  29. The ‘samskars’ or values which we have followed are mostly passed on to the next generation and has a big role to play in their behaviors. Sometimes what don’t want our children to repeat but we talk of it proudly having done it our selves. What an irony.


  30. jesus christ!!! 😯 are we still talking about a present-day family???
    and then they wonder why men have such attitude towards women in our society!
    its because we encourage it….! particularly the parents of such ppl… such men grow up seeing these examples and think they’re right!

    my brother also can be a bit selfish by not helping in the house. but he gets a kick in his ass if he thinks i’m going to be shouldering the responsibility of taking care of washing his plates or whatever, and he knows it so we never get into that issue.

    but… having said that… i m also told that women have to be the more tolerant ones and bear the differences… becoz they are the ones who hold a family/marriage together. and i’ve told them, b******t ! 😡


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  32. In fact I find these people who brag about their not having taken dowry no better than those who actually have taken it. Both betray the feeling that they deserve a dowry and so the former feel smug at having spurned it. Neither feels contempt for the practice itself.
    What a family – I feel sorry for the daughter. I hope she gets a sensible husband and in-laws.


  33. Not wanting the dowry as he was not for sale was the positive side. As far as I know, parents don’t sit quietly if such statements are made by their sons! But this guy seems to be innocently rude! He would learn a lot after his marriage anyways!

    Destination Infinity


  34. Brilliant, as ever!

    I’ve been away from my fellow bloggers and their blogs for a long time now and feel disconnected….! Feels good to be back!

    Wishing you and folks a merry Christmas and a very happy new year!


  35. Mother n Albert Einstein: As a physics educationist, I would like to share with readers the way in which Albert Einstein used to respect mothers. He used to say that a child learns half of physics by the age: 3. This means, I believe, a child starts learning physics right from the day of birth and child’s mother becomes the first science teacher. This is true even if she is a not a graduate of science because she uses many scientific principles / concepts in her world, the kitchen. Thus Albert Einstein gave us a unique way of respecting mothers.


  36. Dear Amrita
    So you had an exciting experience over the dinner and got enough input to write this wonderful note. Really I like the way you presented this issue which is troubling people, at least the urban ones.
    The comments are also very interesting and give lots of food for thought.
    Now I will read your other posts ..
    Thank you once again and have a nice day

    Me – I am afraid Ushnish I did not understand … did you mean me by Amrita? My name is not Amrita 🙂 For me this dinner was not an exciting experience, it was an eye opening experience. It had been ages since I had seen such a sad situation. 😦


  37. God.. Cant believe that such things exist even today.. Really pity the girl.. More so the boy who has this false but firm belief that he is superior to da girl.. And dat a girls job is to do all dat.. Pathetic i must say. The women is also responsible for not inculcating values regardin respect 4 women.. Also the father who thinks all this is manly.. God.. Really.. All this makes me feel horrible sumtimes..also to listen dat such things exist in educated families too..wish we could do something about it.. Hope ur post creates some awareness..i will spread the word too.. Well.. I m a follower of your blog..luv readin ur posts.. I hav shifted my blog from drriyas diary to http://drsupriyaz.blogspot.com. Plz do visit my blog.


  38. It is surprising that even today majority of India men grow up this way. Service by mothers and sisters out of love should be reciprocated and worshipped not abused. Any idea how this mindset can be challenged and removed?

    Me – Just the first few thoughts…
    1. The father should not take the mother for granted, fathers should not treat the daughters as burdens. Sons learn their attitude towards the women from their fathers.
    2. There should be no rigid expectations and stereotyped roles, each child should do what they do best, a boy might love to cook (and many do), a girl might love to drive or pay bills…
    3. A daughter should not be seen as somebody who must be sent away (married off) one day – every child must be made self reliant – the goal should be self reliance for every child.
    4. Her marriage should not ever become more important than a girl’s happiness or even her life.


  39. I was recently shopping and was in a conversation with a woman while waiting on an attendant. We were talking about how stupid local men were and the crap that women have put up with. I then stated that my ex husband was a local and that am soo glad that I now married a non local.

    There was a man nearby listening intently and told me that many of the local men say the same thing about local women. He said that he is married to a local woman and recalled a lesson he learnt just after he had gotten married.

    He said that when he lived at home, his mom did everything for him. He said that when he came home from school and work he would drop all his clothes on the floor and she would pick them up. She would even take his socks out of his shoes to wash them. So when he got married he continued to do the same. One day he realised that he had no clean socks nor clothes for work. So he went to his wife and asked her what happened. She told him that she noticed that he dropped his clothes on the floor and there was a laundry basket for that, and when she is doing the laundry she will only wash what was in the basket so he’d better start putting his clothes in the basket if he wanted them washed.

    He said that after that he quickly learnt and today that he is still happily married. He said that if he is home first he will start cooking if his wife gives him notice that she is not going to cook. It seems that some grown men can change, it takes a strong woman to say no to nonsense.


  40. unrelated to this post, but worth reading

    “Why Don’t You Love Us?”
    Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, I was involved in all manner of protests – civil rights, peace, equal access, etc. One day, on a protest line, I wound up getting hit by a tear gas canister. As I picked it up and started to throw it back, I suddenly, and inexplicably, found myself looking back at myself, as though I were a spectator to my own activity. And then I heard myself screaming, “why don’t you a**holes love us?”

    As wave after wave of awareness broke over me, I saw the contradiction of my life to that point: my message was love and peace, and my strategy was to yell, scream and throw things.

    “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”


  41. Er… I beg to differ. My girl probably knows nothing about gas stoves or she wants me to believe that! I cook all the time and take care of the house too.

    Gah! Some guys have all the luck!

    Where’s mine, God?

    Me – 😆


  42. On a more serious note, my family taught both me and my sister to cook, clean, do the laundry, do the dishes, take care of the car, change tyres, TOGETHER!

    We were not treated differently because she’s a woman and I’m a man.

    That helped tremendously. Maybe that’s why I am going to cook dinner again in a couple hours time!

    Yeah and anyways I cook better than her anyday! Gah!

    Me – Some of the men in my family will grin and claim they cook better than their wives too 🙂


  43. Hi !!! ~ thanks for the lovely comment on my poem 🙂 I identify with this article and was quite moved when I read it. You have a lovely style of writing ; kudos and keep it up !


  44. you know IHM , most of the people i know wont find this strange , or orthodox ..this is acceptable typical indian attitude … mothers silently bear the insult fathers bestow on her and her parents / siblings…and kids just grow up following examples …

    I loved the way ‘surviving women ” handle these topics …

    I agree here the mom is a victim , but then she should not let her daughter believe that this is an acceptable behaviour and this is her future …

    I love your blogs …wish you a very happy new year ..


  45. Pingback: Equality in responsibilities « The tomboy who grew up to be a mom of two

  46. How many other families like this must there be. Father will perpetuate his views on the son. Mother has been browbeaten by many years of being married to father. Son learns from his parents that it is his duty as a man to ignore all housework and also to disrespect women. Sister learns that she is a member of the subhuman sex.

    Where will the wake-up calls come from? Is there a polite way of asking another person’s child “Why are you being such an ass?”


  47. QUESTION: what’s an MCP?

    Me – An MCP is a Male Chauvinist Pig… Why pigs I wonder, never heard of a chauvinist pig.

    I’ve noticed the relationship between Indian mothers and their sons. It’s as if the son is a surrogate husband, because PDAs (public displays of affection) are taboo between couples in India, but PDAs between mothers and sons is not, the way that they act around each other is sometimes embarrassing. I find it very Oedipal, very Freudian.

    I feel that Indian mothers look to their sons of the affection they SHOULD BE GETTING FROM THEIR HUSBANDS.

    Because of this relationship, when the son marries, the saas becomes EXTREMELY jealous of her bahu and does not want her son to love her more.

    Sometimes Indian mother in laws also expect their sons to be buy them jewellry whenever they buy something for their wife, or expect to be taken on trips with the son and bahu, even the Honeymoon sometimes! Why don’t these Indian mother in laws ask THEIR OWN HUSBANDS to buy them jewellry and take them on trips?

    The relationship is very strange I say.

    Me – I guess there is some truth in what you say. D H Lawrence discusses the same thing in ‘Sons and Lovers’… Arundhati Roy describes Chako’s relationship with his mother, where the mother is jealous of her son’s divorced wife (in God of small things). Unhappy marriages do sometimes result in mothers finding emotional support in their children, mainly in the preferred and respected male child, and then they are jealous of the wife who obviously is closer to him (or should be closer to him) 😦


  48. I read your blog with interest, as an Australian homemaker with very much western values. We in the west also struggle with instilling values such as respect into our children, and also struggle with treating our girls the same as we treat our boys. Our culture is so different from yours, we tend to wrap our girls in “cotton wool” trying to protect them, and allowing our boys to roam free.

    Thank you for the insight. I will subscribe to your blog and am always willing to learn more.

    Me – Self reliance is better and guiding them to be careful is fine, but here we kind of blame them for the trouble they are… and do little or nothing to make our streets safer … amazing how much they still manage to achieve!!


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