Learning to show adults respect does not mean giving up your individuality or your own ideas. Showing respect to adults will inspire adults to return the favor and treat you as a mature person. Respecting adults is one of the important steps in developing a positive attitude that will help you succeed in the future.

Please and Thank You

Ending a request with the word "please" and acknowledging a response with the phrase "thank you" establishes proper manners with adults and shows appreciation. It is a sign of respect for the actions adults take on your behalf and the advice they give for your future.

Ma'am and Sir

It is common courtesy for younger people to address adults by either ma'am, sir or the proper designation such as mister or miss in front of their last names. When you demonstrate this courtesy, they will let you know if there is some other name they prefer to be called. Do not call an adult by her first name unless you are invited to. Even if you know someone's name, ending a sentence with "Yes sir" or "Yes ma'am" is a proper show of respect.


It is considered rude and poor manners to interrupt an adult while he is speaking. Wait until the adult is finished speaking and then make your statement.

Foul or Slang Language

Using foul or slang language when talking to adults is disrespectful and inappropriate. There is normally a gap in terminology from one generation to the next. Confusing adults by using slang terms or insulting adults by using profanity is always unacceptable.

Offer Help

If an adult does not ask for help, that does not mean he does not need help. It shows good manners for younger people to ask adults if they need assistance. For example, if your parents are bringing groceries into the house, you demonstrate your respect for them by offering to help.

Be Reliable

When you make plans to meet an adult you should keep your appointment. If you choose to miss appointments with adults, then they will feel that you do not respect them enough to honor your scheduled meeting.

Ask Questions

If you are not sure about something an adult has said or asked you to do, then ask questions. Requesting clarification from an adult means that you care enough to want to get the information correct, and that is a form of respect. Adults also appreciate the interest of younger people who want to learn from their experience.

Tell the Truth

Lying is a form of disrespect to anyone, but when you are trying to establish a respectful relationship with an adult lying can be a significant obstacle. When you lie to an adult, you are showing disrespect to that adult and are violating his trust in you.


Adults consider the information they give younger people valuable only if they remember the information. If an adult continually gives a younger person the same advice, but the younger person forgets the advice and repeats the same mistakes, then the adult will feel that the younger person does not respect the adult enough to remember the information.


Adults respect young people who express themselves in a conversational tone, as opposed to shouting or screaming. Shouting in anger shows a lack of self-control that can cause an adult to lose respect for a younger person over time.

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