Friday, June 3, 2016

Teaching your child good manners


Teaching your child good manners

Remember the kid who came to your son’s birthday party and turned it into a nightmare with his incessant demands, tantrums and loud bawling. Care to think about the child whom you saw kicking and screaming at McDonalds because they were out of his favourite toy. 

Did you hear about a distant cousin’s son who is in the habit of overturning the dining table if his favourite meal is not served? These examples are just a few cases of children who are being brought up without the slightest idea of what having good manners entail.

Good manners are more than just saying “please” and “thank you”. They are a way of showing respect to others and a sign of a good upbringing. Instilling good manners in children is one of the most important aspects of parenting and this should begin as soon as the child becomes cognizant of his surroundings and the people around him. 


Be good role models:

When children have good role models to pattern themselves after, they are much more likely to acquire good manners. Children naturally emulate their parents so make sure that your own manners are the manners that you desire from your children.  Say "please," "thank you" and “I am sorry” often and your children will naturally begin to say them, too.

Be careful of the language you use in front of your children as they will copy your words. If you don't want certain words to become a part of your child’s vocabulary, don’t use them in their presence. Never abuse or ridicule other people in front of your kids. Allowing or encouraging children to be disrespectful towards their teachers is one of the worst things that parents can let happen as it totally mars their personality.

Teach them as they grow:


Teaching good manners to children is a continual process. It begins with teaching them “please”, “thank you” and “sorry.” Even a 2-year old is perfectly capable of understanding the use of these three words. By the time a child reaches the school going stage (3-4 years), he should understand the concept of asking for permission and “May I” should be a part of his vocabulary.

An older child must be taught not to interrupt while elders are talking, answer the telephone properly, behave properly in public and have respect for other person’s belongings and public property. Some other good manners that a child should be aware of are giving up a seat for an elderly person in public place, holding doors open, have good sportsman spirit, empathy for those who are less fortunate and owning up when he/she makes an error. Good table manners, whether inside the home or away and helping to clean up the table also constitutes good manners.



Always praise good behaviour:

Children love to copy their parents and older siblings and if they display good manners, praise them lavishly. No matter how minor the achievement, make sure that you let your child know that you appreciate his efforts and good manners. Correct behavioural mistakes when they occur but never humiliate a child in front of others. Gently remind them to mind their manners as the situation requires.


Use positive re-enforcement:

As a mother, I have found that frequent use of the word “don’t” often sets up a child’s hackles. So instead of saying “don’t be rude,” try saying, “I find this type of behavior very upsetting. Is something troubling you?” Always be firm and consistent. Let your child know that you won’t stand any nonsense. If your child is in the habit of banging doors or kicking toys in anger, make him go back and close the door softly or pick up the toys each time till this habit breaks.

Never encourage rude behavior:

In our society, the tussle between daughters and mothers-in-law in the home usually forces young children to take sides. Any display of temper towards the offending member is considered a source of amusement for the other party.  If you laugh off small acts of rudeness and answering back to adults as “cute” or “clever”, the chances are that these incidents will snowball into bigger issues later on. It is very important to set firm standards of respect in the home. Fight your own battles but leave your children out of them.

Never overindulge your child:

Tantrums never look good not even if the child who is throwing them is 3, chubby and cute. Be firm with your kids and don’t give in to their every whim and demand. The world will not come to an end if the child does not get his favorite toy with a Happy Meal or the latest action figure or the coolest gadget and the sooner he learns this “bitter truth” the better for his future personality. Being an only child or the only son should not be one way ticket to excessive parental indulgence. Children, who are allowed to get away with bad behavior when young, are not adept at controlling their anger when older. 

We must remember that it is not only our social equals who command our respect and esteem. We must be equally courteous towards those who work for us like our maids and gardeners and those whom we meet in the course of our daily lives. The traffic sergeant, salesmen in the grocery store, the receptionist at a doctor’s office, the school peon and waiters in hotels should be addressed courteously too.  

As parents, we do our children no service if we pamper and spoil them to such an extent that they become manner less monsters that everyone fears. Being taught good manners is as necessary for our kids as feeding them so make sure that they get both essentials in equal measure. 

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