Manners Matter

20130609_130951It seems to me these days that manners are almost politically incorrect. There is a feeling that you may harm your child’s sense of themselves if you expect them to show a degree of courtesey. In a word, balderdash!

Ok I know that I am coming on a bit strong, but I am passionate about teaching children manners from an early age. Why? Because you are giving them the cement that holds the bricks of their independence, self-confidence, and overall happiness together!

Now, I am not talking ‘being seen and not heard’ here, or ‘only speaking when spoken to’, or even adressing all adults as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’. I am only delighted that these restrictive ‘manners’ are a thing of the past. I am talking about the manner in which your children deport themselves.

We all, at some stage, ask our children to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – surely that is enough?! But, what would happen if we extended the list a little bit to include: Not interupting, taking turns, asking to be excused from the table, not shouting and apologising. How could this help them?

It helps your children to learn patience (not a gift that comes naturally to them), to appreciate others, to learn to listen, to respect others, and it enhances their ability to socialise. With these values, your child will develop into a happy, self-led and confident individual.

It also helps you to grow in confidence as a family – not constantly shouting each other down or bickering about the small stuff. It helps you enjoy each others company, and saves the chore of running around after unmannerly children!
It can help you to conquer (and perhaps even avoid altogether) the bigger problems that challenging behviour and bad communication can bring to family life.

So how do we encourage good manners in our children? Well, get them to follow your lead! As tempting as it might be, do not interrupt your children when they are telling you a story/singing a song/cracking a (rarely funny..) joke for the 100th time!! Take turns, not only during play, but also whilst having conversations about anything and everything. Dine together as often as you can and stay at the table until everyone is finished. Avoid shouting as much as possible – not easy in our house! Admit when you are wrong and apologise. Finally, always say please and thank you to each other.. 😉

Children do as they see – if you bring your child up with respect, appreciation and patience, they will learn to live with respect, appreciation and patience.
By encouraging basic good manners, you are not hindering their sense of self; you are, in fact, giving them the tools to be all that they can be!

Thanks for reading.

I love feedback, please leave any thoughts and comments below.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Keeping the Beaker Half-Full! | BabySteps

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