Manners are the way society has for being pleasant to each other even if or when we may not want to. Though the rules of interaction are different in every culture, the intent is the same. Society expects treatment that is respectful and like we matter. When we teach our children politeness with the rituals of the society we live in, we are laying the foundation for their success in all parts of their life.
But doesn’t it seem so fake? Parents continue to ask, did you say thank you or what is the magic word? Is this the best way to teach manners to our children? Are they going to understand and develop empathy by just using these words as they get older or is there a better way of developing them into kind, respectful and mannerly citizens?
During this month of discussions on manners, we will reveal seven practical things that parents can do bring out the real feelings of good manners and not just the forced ritual of using polite words. Here are the first two.
- Treat your children with the same courtesy that you treat adults. That follows the universal rule that all people would rather be asked to do something than be told to do it. Research has shown that young children grow up showing more empathy and understanding of the feelings of others when raised in a family that is responsive to their needs. Young children are self-centered, so parents need to show them what kind treatment of others looks like. They will learn what they live.
- Speak to your partner/spouse with tact and kindness. If children learn what they live, they mainly learn what they see. Their observation of how mom and dad interact has an impact on how they will treat those in their life, including parents, grandparents, friends, and eventually spouses
So there are the first two strategies for helping children learn to express and demonstrate good manners both in the home and outside, without us having to remind them when they are old enough to do this on their own. Next time two more practical suggestions to raising children with manners.
Each of the links will take you to a discussion of these virtues on a new website. Joe Van Deuren is working on a website for parents.