Why Should Teens Respect Their Elders?

By Sharon Secor
Respecting elders can help teens develop practical and social skills, and expand opportunities.
Respecting elders can help teens develop practical and social skills, and expand opportunities.

In February 2012, England made official the Dignity Code, which was devised by the National Pensioners Convention. The code details 19 elements of respect that should be accorded the elderly, not just in a clinical or care-giving setting, but also in society at large. Supported by politicians and caregivers, the code is now posted in social service and care settings. While many cultures continue to honor their elders, there are people that question the tradition of respecting elders. Teens shouldn't rush to set aside traditions of respect. Showing respect to elders benefits teens in many ways.

Knowledge Empowers

Listening is a key way to show respect that has many benefits for teens. When teens listen to elders, teens learn. Practical knowledge gives teens what they need to handle problems, whether it is dealing with a stalled car, a stove-top grease fire, or what to do when a water pipe breaks. By paying attention, teens can learn valuable skills such as budgeting and cooking from scratch. Knowledge that's not useful now might be vital at some point. Respecting elders is not only polite, but also can be an investment in the future.

Skills For Success

When teens treat their elders with respect, they develop social skills that prime them for success in life, particularly in the academic and employment realms. As noted in a report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the results of programs that involve people of different generations, teens can experience improvement in communication skills from regular interaction with people of different age groups. Other important social skills include learning to accept and value people with different opinions, to accept direction, and to listen and evaluate other points of view.

Perspective Helps

Another valuable benefit that comes from respecting elders is perspective. When teens respect their elders, they value their opinions, even if they don't always agree with them. When older people feel respected, they are more likely to share their experiences. Through this exchange of thoughts and experiences, teens learn about events as they take place in the span of a lifetime, that as difficult or unbearable as a circumstance might seem today, odds are it won't feel like that even a year from now. Everything changes with time. This sense of perspective can help teens through many personal challenges and emotional issues.

Connections Matter

Treating elders with respect can result in making valuable connections. In a tough economy, unemployment can hit teens and young adults particularly hard. When teens respect their elders, those people might remember them when a job opens. Colleges, internships and other opportunities for teens and young adults are highly competitive in some regions. Being able to ask for references and recommendations from older, more established people in the community can make a difference in such circumstances. Being respectful does have its advantages.

About the Author

Sharon Secor began writing professionally in 1999, while attending Empire State University. Secor specializes primarily in personal finance and economics, and writes on a broad range of subjects. She is published in numerous online and print publications, including Freedom's Phoenix, the ObscentiyCrimes and the American Chronicle.