Everyone deserves respect, no matter their age. However, their age does not mean that they deserve more respect than someone else. In my book their actions determine the amount of respect they deserve.
In the last three days I have experienced two situations where I do not feel that the adult respected the child. One was a mother and daughter. The other was a woman and a little boy she had never met.
I was getting my nails done and there was a mom and her adorable little girl. The little girl couldn't have been more than four. Both had just gotten manicures and pedicures. The little girl came to the drying table and wanted to read a magazine, because that's what the "big" girls were doing. I don't know if the mom was tired, or annoyed, or just kind of a pain, but when the little girl tried to get a magazine the mom yelled at her and said she couldn't read and she didn't need a magazine. The little girl got sad because Mom yelled at her. I felt so bad!
The other example was the other night. There was a little boy that asked for something and a lady who was helping him. Apparently, to her, he did not ask for what he wanted in a proper way. She proceeded to make him ask for it properly. The poor kid just shut down. He went from his eyes being lit up and enjoying the activity to a head down and barely speaking.
We don't know the whole story behind either of these children. What I would like to mention is this: everyone deserves respect, initially. I don't think there is anyone that we come in contact with that we shouldn't respect, I don't care if they are five or ninety-five. You have the choice whether you want to keep my respect. It drives me crazy when I see adults patronizing children. That is the fastest way for an adult to instantly lose my respect. In my work with children through the years I have found that, general rule, if you treat a child like a little person, not like a baby, you are going to get a better response out of them. Kids like when adults respect them, and they deserve that respect. There are, of course, times that kids don't deserve respect, but the same goes for adults, teens, and so on.
I grew up in a world where I was not treated as a "child." I was around adults my entire life. I was not the kid that couldn't handle being in an adult situation. I truly feel this is because the adults in my life did not talk down to me. I have taken this and it is how I deal with kids now. Frankly there are some kids that I know that are A LOT more mature than some adults I know.
This was totally a rant. I admit that. Stepping down from my soapbox now. :)