Friday, June 3, 2011


Remember when children knew better than to interrupt adult conversations or dare respond to a summons with “What!?” What ever happened to home-training? By the looks of some of today’s children, it would appear the term has become obsolete. Black, white, yellow, brown—it seems parents of all races have embraced a laissez-faire approach to child rearing. The Mama Hatties of the earth are probably rolling in their graves at the eye rolling and tantrum throwing of millennial kids.
There are basic manners every child should know, not for the sake of being perfect but for the sake of being a respectful, considerate human. It is important to build on a solid foundation with young children and correct older kids as soon as possible.

#1 “Please,” “Thank you,” and “You’re welcome.”
It is inexcusable for a child not to express appreciation and thanks in its simplest form. However, thankfulness is something they learn from example. Use the language you want them to mimic. Say please and thank you when you’re interacting with them. This is something that should be habitual and a part of household communication.

#2 Pardon me?
When you call your child from a different room, his response should never be “What!?” Yes, in the form of a question or “What did you say, Mom?” works best. It demonstrates a level of respect that you, as the parent, should demand and expect. This is another instance where you also have to lead by example and show the same respect for your child. Be careful not to “what” them, which can be tough when it’s been a long, exhausting day.

#3 Yes, ma’am/sir.
Using ma’am and sir may seem dated but it is a way to show respect for elders and authoritative figures. Lack of respect for authority is disadvantageous and often results in negative consequences. Teach your children to value the wisdom that comes with age and to respect those in position to make decisions (whether they agree or not).

#4 What is that in her mouth?
Train your children to chew with their mouths closed. Smacking is rude for any kid over three years old. No one wants to see or hear what they are eating. Proper eating habits prepare them to fraternize with all classes of society

#5 First impressions are important.
Proper introductions go a long way. Children should know how to shake hands and introduce themselves to new people. Teach your child how to reach out for a handshake and greet someone with their name. Practice with your little ones by turning it into a game. Pretend is always a great way to implement good manners.

#6 Grown folks are talking.
The next time your child chimes in on an adult conversation, break away from the conversation, lock eyes with her and firmly say, “This is a grown-up conversation between (insert name here) and me.” Then, direct her to another activity and continue talking. It is important that children understand the separation between child –adult and adult-adult conversations.

#7 Don’t reach.
Reaching across people or over a table is rude. It is important to teach our children to use their words when necessary. Practice proper table manners with your child during dinner time. Teach him to ask for the bread rather than reach for it. Be an example by asking him to pass you the salt or pepper next to his plate.

#8 No secrets.
Whispering is not only sneaky, but it’s so rude to whisper to someone in the presence of others. Teach your child to pull you aside if they have something private to say or save it for when company has left—just as an act of consideration. It looks suspicious and can be ostracizing in intimate group settings.

#9 Elbows down.
Another important table mannerism that speaks volumes about your child’s exposure and upbringing. Elbows should be kept off of dinner tables. Forearms are O.K. Build the habit in your children and they will never forget. Elbows on a dining table are something you want them to be completely uncomfortable doing.

#10 Excuse me.
Children should know how to interrupt conversations properly when necessary. Instead of recklessly invading discussions, kids should be taught how to excuse their way into the mix. They should also be taught to apply the same principle in public settings when they accidentally bump into a stranger or cross personal space.

#11 Hold the door.
Holding doors for people coming behind you is an act of consideration. Children should be taught to do so. Allowing a door to slam in another person’s face is quite rude and self-centered. Be the example at home and in public
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