Manners…Are they a dying art?
I understand that we live in a technology driven age; however, does that mean that Excuse me, Please, and Thank You have become null and void?
I think not. If anything they are more important! They can set you apart from others too busy to say anything with their ear clued to their cell phone, talking to the air or texting. Some act as though it is us, the public, that has so rudely interrupted them and not the other way around. We have to remember to not only live with friends and business contacts in the virtual world but also to live with the live versions, right in front of you.
So now that I am off my soap box about manners in the world let’s talk about manners with our kids and in our homes. Which translates to the manners we will use in public.
Do you have rules regarding manners in your home or do you leave that to our wonderful educational system like sex education? I know that my kids pick things up that I do not like such as dance moves, fashion advice, snotty noses, and lice. Do we really want to leave manners up to the outside world as well? So, it is our job as parents to set the standard, teach them and reward them for using their manners.
Begin with picking out few manners to focus on maybe please, thank you and excuse me. Or other items that irritate you to no end like putting the toilet seat down, shutting the bathroom door when you go to the bathroom or not picking your nose. Explain it to your kids, be an example to them, remind them, and reward them when they do use their manners!
My second step was setting the standard in my house and getting my husband on board as well. I have found that when I say Please and Thank You my kids pick up on it, it encourages them to use them as well. Before I enter their room I try to remember to knock. These are little things that can demonstrate the importance of manners. This can also show your children how important they are to you. Manners are more likely to be used when you use them in your own daily life. For example to all you Dad’s out there (Mom’s to) when you are in your sweatpants on a Saturday morning watching football and lazing around… Do you scratch your balls (ladies I know you don’t), or let one rip? If so do you even say excuse me or laugh and look for an atta boy?
If we are not being examples by using manners then we are instead demonstrating to our kids that manners are not important and how we treat each other is not important either. What kind of example are you? I know I fail but I pick myself backup and apologize and try again. Don’t forget to reward for manners used.
You don’t have to give them something like candy or a prize! Use positive reinforcement. Say “Good job son, I love hearing when you use good manners”. or “I’m impressed that you have started blowing your nose in the bathroom and not been picking it and wiping it on your clothes”.
I will say that manners like anything else takes time to ingrain on the brain. Don’t stop, have patience (I know that is difficult), and above all keep working on new manners and expand your arsenal of etiquette.
I would love to have you share what your struggles, suggestions and questions are…
I look forward to reading your comments below.