Parents have to realise the importance of teaching children the value of respecting elders. If they themselves do not practice it, it will be difficult for them to teach their child. Parents need to inculcate in their children certain manners and behaviour codes and in return expect a reasonable level of respect from their child from an early stage of life. These behaviour norms need to be inculcated from a very young age, let’s say from the time the child learns to speak. Since actions speak louder than words, parents must be conscious of their own behaviour, especially in the presence of the child. Even if a parent, by mistake, behaves roughly with an elder in front of the child or was not aware of the child’s presence, he will be sending out the wrong message.
A habit does not form in one day. Children should be reminded about what they are supposed to do. If the child is being taught to respect an elder, the parent must remind them each time they meet a new one. Over time this will be ingrained in their system and they will start respecting elders without having to be reminded. But, parents need to be patient. Do not push a child as it may make her cranky. Some may get stubborn and, as a result, may not choose to listen again. Parents must use gentle reminders, rather than ordering the child around or flying off the handle.
Encouraging good behaviour helps a child ignore and avoid bad influences. Getting positive reinforcement for good interactions will help combat other influences, like seeing other children their age disrespect their parents or elders.
Parents should lead by example and value the role of elders and caregivers. Only then their child will learn the desired values.