Traditionally Greek families tend to be very close, and there usually exists strong bonds between all members of the near family and the extended family. Greeks place a very high respect on elders and younger children will often call elders “Aunt” or “Uncle” who are not blood relatives out of respect.
Parents have an even greater respect placed upon them. It is customary for Greek children to ask the blessing of the parents, for example in marriage as to not have it is considered dangerous.
The Greek Orthodox church places a great value in parents, and in the up bring of their children into a Christian life. In such, it is believed that disrespect towards a parent that has done a great deal for the child is considered shameful.
Each man or woman is considered to have two fathers the physical father, and God. The same can be said indirectly that each man or woman has two mothers one being the patron saint of Mothers the Virgin Mary and your mother. Therefore disrespect of your physical parent is thought to transcend to disrespect towards God.
This is where the superstition falls in. It is believed by some that a curse of a parent will take effect as it will fall on the ears of God, who will pull his protection away from the disrespectful child. This is called in Greek a “Parahorisi”.
There are two forms of Parahorisis one is for the Good as is the case with gifts from God such as being able to see Prophesy (St. John the Evangelist), smell myrrh (Jacob) etc. The other form of Parahorisis is the feared form which can result in the worst case Possession.
Either way it is believed by some that a curse will take effect if it said by a parent. For example if a parent curses a child to never be successful in their life, if the child never amounts to nothing it will be attributed to the curse.
The most dangerous curse is said to not be from a father but rather from a mother. The mother is said to have a special bond with the child as the child is carried in the mother’s womb for many months. If the mother curses the child it is believed that the child must have been extremely disrespectful, and will be punished.
In fact, in no circumstance is disrespect towards a parent acceptable. It is believed that we can pay for disrespect in this life as much as in the next. God is said to be all seeing rewarding those who are righteous and punishing those who are not. In the case of disrespect towards a parent the punishment is said to come sooner, and then later as well!
Take a look at a Greek Folk Tale which warns you to avoid the curse of a mother: The Good Bee (A tale about how a mother’s curse should be feared, and her praise most wanted.)