Mom always warned us not to put our elbows on the table, told us not to stare, and taught us to respect our elders, but how can we teach these simple etiquette rules to our children?
We all know that our children learn by example, so the most direct way to teach our children the manners and morals we wish them to emulate is to demonstrate them ourselves. But, even the most diligent parent can have a child that doesn’t quite get those lessons through demonstration alone. Creating a game to teach a particular principle and practicing role play can help.
To teach tact, for example, have your child draw a picture. Collect it in a minute or two and comment on every positive point you can thinkm of. Explain how your comments are tactful and why tact is important. You also could role-play the right and wrong ways to be tactful using the same drawing.
Experts say that children ages 2-5 are most receptive to learning polite conduct. Start small and expand on the rules because learning is gradual, especially at this age. Too much information at once can be frustrating for you and your child.
Give gentle reminders and reinforcement until manners become habit. Positive reinforcement works better than scolding. Reward good behavior, and be sure you are consistent in your expectations.
Make sure any punishment fits the offense. For example, tell your child “last time you went to your friend’s house, you refused to help pick up the toys you took out, so you are not allowed to go back there today.”
Teens are another matter entirely. As they get older, the problems get more complex. Job interview etiquette is something that role-playing can assist with. Online etiquette is, perhaps, most important for teens.
While they may know that writing in all caps is considered yelling, teens may not know how to tactfully handle a friend’s picture that makes them uncomfortable.
Emily Post says “If your friend posts something that involves you that you’re uncomfortable with, politely request that they remove it.” For example, “hey Jim, some of my coworkers are in my netweork of friends, I’d appreicate if if you took down the picture of us from 10th street bar Friday night. Thanks for understaing!
-TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN MANNERS GIVES THEM LIFELONG SURVIVAL SKILLS-
Posted in Growing Up |