I came across an article in a local paper that made me ponder whether my 12 year old is proficient at what was entitled “Important Manners to Teach Your Children”, and I honestly could not answer yes to all of them. I thought it was worth sharing, just to get you all thinking, not just about whether or not your children do these things, but how we can encourage the children and parents that we come in contact with in the neighborhood, church, sports teams, co-ops and maybe even relatives, to think about them as well.
1. Meeting & Greeting People Properly – Do your children introduce their friends to you? Or the parents of their friends? Do they shake hands, and look people in the eyes when they greet them?
2. Opening Doors for Others – With automatic everything these days, this may not happen as frequently as it used to, but I’m sure there is still cause for it to happen somewhere!
3. Good Table Manners – When Genius was younger we played a game that for every table manner she caught Mom and Dad breaking, she got a small piece of candy for dessert (we used Runts at the time). For everyone she was found breaking, we took a piece away. It made for fun table times as well as had us on our toes too!
4. Showing Deference to Others – Do our children allow others to choose the activity or play with the game/toy first?
5. Proper Telephone Talk – Umm…we’re stilling working on this one in our home…lol. We have lately observed, that while unintentional, we never allowed Genius to answer the phone when she was younger. Now that she is of the age to answer and make phone calls herself, we realize we should have let her do that when she was younger, in order to practice proper skills in this area. If you have call display, it is a great idea to have your children answer the phone, when you know the person making the call.
6. Writing, Coloring or Drawing Thank You Notes – I believe this is becoming a lost form of expressing appreciation. In a world where receiving has become an expectation, personal thank you cards, show the giver that they are not taken for granted.
7. Proper Conduct for Church and Other Public Places – You know the ones I’m talking about. The child who is constantly peering from the booth behind you, making funny faces, while you’re trying to enjoy the dinner that you are paying for. Or the one crawling under the pews trying to get the puzzle pieces that flew out of the box that was opened during prayers. No one (well okay I’m sure someone does, but let’s not worry about them) expects young children to sit perfectly still or silent for 30 – 60 minutes. A little fidgeting and page turning and pencil dropping is perfectly acceptable, however when the grown ups in front and to the sides of you start glancing around to see exactly which munchkin it is creating such clamor, you know it’s time to remove said child from the area, or consider quieter activities to bring along.
8. Being a Gracious Host and a Welcome Guest – This is always a tough one, because I believe children are taught this one by watching and listening to their parents. Children’s temperaments and behaviors are not always what we wish them to be when families come and visit our homes. Likewise when we are guests elsewhere, we are not always served what or the way we would like. Are we showing our children how to be gracious and welcome, even after the company or we have left? Praise the good things about the evening, and if there were unfortunate events that occurred (unless of course a discipline issue results) gloss over them, we will likely have forgotten that Aunt Sally spilled spaghetti sauce on the white tablecloth (or at least laugh over it), years down the road.
9. Good Mouth Manners – Yes, or Yes ma’am, hello, goodbye, thank you, excuse me, may I, I’m sorry. I think these are an ongoing battle with every parent. If it is not a struggle in your home, please come save my sanity and teach me what you’ve done! I still have to nudge Genius from time to time, to get her to say thank you or please. May I, is probably missing from most tweens and teens vocabulary list. It’s an unwritten rule that “I’m Sorry” can not pass between the mouths of siblings. Take heart, I have it on good authority that if we keep harping on the kids about these words, they will become second nature!
Please share with us other Important Manners or the way you implement some of the above in your household.
You can hang out with Tammy at Three Different Directions, where she has recently posted some new reviews.
photo by TW Collins
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