Helping children be more courteous in the family

BLS gift of character header

CourtesyThere are many people who believe that common courtesy is on the decline and they point to the use of technology and the decrease in face to face interactions among young people as the cause.  Courtesy is about being respectful and considerate of others feelings, needs and rights.

In family life when we get up in the morning we show courtesy by being pleasant.  If we need help and want the attention of another person we speak to them when we can see them – not hollering from one room to another.  If they are on the phone we are patient and wait for them to complete their call.  At the dinner table we use our manners of asking and not reaching.  We use polite words when asking and do not demand actions from others to help us.

Why would a child or an adult do otherwise in the family setting?  It could be a simple case of personal pride.  A belief that they are more important and their needs must be served prior to others.   When we believe that our feelings, needs or rights are more important than that of others, we begin to demand and we lose the gift of courtesy. We expect to see that from a young child, but we eventually want to see them progress in their respect for others.

Acting with courtesy shows that we respect and value others.  We recognize that our words and actions affect others.  What can you do to encourage courtesy from your children?  

  • Set the example.
  • Set expectations for family members  words and actions. (they have to be followed by everyone)
  • Make Courtesy the Gift of Character you choose to practice this week.
  • Use the Five Practices to grow this gift.

Learn to use the Gifts of Character in your family – Parenting: One on One is one way to learn the 5 Practices that parents can use to guide, counsel, and educate their children in creating a culture of peace in the family.

The result is children who grow up safe, healthy, successful and happy.