Teaching Children Good Manners


Last week in my newsletter, I mentioned that my children knew how to behave in nice restaurants because they had been exposed to the atmosphere at an early age. My idea of well behaved might be different from yours, however, I think there are certain basics that are important and universal.

When my daughters were babies, we would take them wherever we went. If they began to fuss or cry, one of us would promptly remove them from the room/restaurant/market/wherever. Not because we felt their crying or fussing was a bad thing. No, it's a perfectly normal occurrence for infants and toddlers. We removed them as a courtesy to others who we felt did not need to be as tolerant as we were with our children's noise. In consequence, my daughters know that other people are not as wildly in love with their racket or with them as we are. Nor should they be expected to be.

As our children grew older, they were always told the rules of our outings, how to behave and to always speak softly if other adults were present. Sometimes, it's fine to let them get a little crazy ... just know your audience! If we are at a five star restaurant where many other diners have come to enjoy a gracious and expensive meal, would we expect everyone there to be enthralled with junior's vocal or behavioral outbursts? Would we really expect them to care if our child is having a bout with walking pneumonia and coughing uncontrollably? Nope. It's rude. And rudeness is basically nothing more than bad manners. If there is an emergency with your child, by all means don't give a flying flamingo about what others think. But this is the exception. Besides, children who are that sick belong at home, not in public.

Last night, my girls and I were in a department store. There was a toddler carrying on and screaming for more than 15 minutes when my younger daughter said:

"Now his mommy is going to tell him to stop because there are other people in here that don't want to hear it!"

Unfortunately, his mommy did not tell him any such thing. She let him wail and scream and cry, much to the chagrin and annoyance of everyone else in the store. You know what? As much as I love kids and cannot bear to see or hear them suffering, I disliked this kid immensely!

My reasoning is this: if our kids learn that they are free to trample on the peace, space or rose gardens of others, they will develop into spoiled and inconsiderate brats. And then who will like them? Who will want to spend time with them? Who, besides their forgiving parents, will be able to tolerate their lack of social graces and good manners? No one ? except maybe another ill-mannered person who feels at home with a similarly clueless individual. Do we really want our children reduced to such horrible options? I think not.

We teach our children not to steal, lie or punch their brother in the nose. Shouldn't we teach them respect for others at the same time? That their whining and out-of-control behavior is something no one really wants to hear or witness, especially strangers who have no vested interest in their developing minds or self-esteem? A simple reminder of the rules, consistently, works wonders ... eventually. ;-)

Good luck. Kids need to learn manners and social graces. They will go farther in life if we teach them well.

Copyright ? 2000-2004- Rexanne Mancini

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rexanne Mancini is the mother of two daughters, Justice and Liberty. She is a novelist, freelance writer and maintains an extensive yet informal parenting and family web site, Rexanne.com ? http://www.rexanne.com Visit her site for good advice, award-winning Internet holiday pages and some humor to help you cope. Subscribe to her free newsletter, Rexanne's Web Review, for a monthly dose of Rexanne: http://www.rexanne.com/rwr-archives.html

In The News:

What is ‘tag team’ parenting?  The Indian Express
Celebrate the Joy of Parenting  The Good Men Project

Selecting and Hiring Childcare Employees

In today's fast-paced society, many families depend on some form... Read More

A New School Year

Depending on where you live school will be starting this... Read More

Visiting the Library

Libraries offer more than books. They are places of learning... Read More

Lets Not Hurry Children Through Childhood

Have you ever experienced one of those days when you... Read More

Are You Meeting ALL Your Childs Basic Needs?

This may come as a surprise, but many parents are... Read More

Personal Responsibility: What It Means and Whose Job is It?

"How many times do I have to tell you to... Read More

What Do You Do When Your Child is Smarter than You?

We adopted our first child when he was three months... Read More

No Invitation Needed: Sacred Children Series - 3 of 3

I had my first two children on either side of... Read More

The Seven Keys to Child Obedience

Learning obedience is an important part of child development. This... Read More

Tips for the Classroom Teachers with ADHD Students

Thank you for all that you do in the classroom!... Read More

Bedtime and Sleep Habits

Bedtime and children's sleep habits can cause nightmares - for... Read More

Top Ten Things My Six Year-Old Son Has Taught Me (So Far...)

I've learned numerous, important lessons on life, motherhood and men... Read More

10 Points on Children for the New Parent

I remember when my daughter was born, later my son.... Read More

The Ten Most Common Poisons Among Kids

For parents, keeping our kids safe is a constant top... Read More

Parenting: Blending Familes - 9 Universal Laws

The law of -ing.The law of -ing refers to a... Read More

Let Your Children Name the New Baby

Choosing a baby name is an important job, so make... Read More

Are You Addicted to Your Children?

Is it possible to be using our children addictively?Anything that... Read More

Public Schools Can Cripple Your Childrens Ability To Read

For many adults, reading a book or newspaper seems effortless.... Read More

Am I Really A Stroller-Monger?

I was reading "A Modern Infant Armada", a humor column... Read More

How to Make a Time Capsule

Looking for an unusual and memorable gift? Why not preserve... Read More

How Fathers Can Step Up to Fathering

When our oldest son was 2, my wife went out... Read More

Income that PAYS Your Child Support WITHOUT Increasing Your Child Support

Child support is defined as that part of your income... Read More

Natural Disasters: Help Your Child Cope With The Anxiety

How on earth can you help your family cope with... Read More

Fizzy Sherbet ? A Sweet Science Lesson for Your Kids!

Fizzy sherbet in a paper bag with a strawberry lollipop... Read More

People of the Century by Dan Rather

Dan Rather made a significant and tactical error and got... Read More