Etiquette: 5 Ways to Raise a Lady or Gentleman
How can you make your child stand out from the crowd—in a good way? Teach them good manners. So, have you put your child on the road to being a gentleman or a lady? If you have, they’ll have a head start with their teachers, with their friends’ parents, and even with future employers.
Most parents would agree that they want to raise a child with good manners. But how do you train your child to be polite and kind consistently? Like it or not, it’s a whole lot of monkey-see, monkey-do–and you’re the one the little monkeys are watching!
1. Etiquette is 24/7. Some moms make the mistake of letting their kids “let it all hang out” at home, and then try to switch into “good manners mode” when out and about. But living with politeness is a lifestyle, and if the expectations of polite speech and behavior are the same in all environments, your children will learn it and practice it more easily.
When your children do hit the good manners mark, praise them, especially when they’re trying to make good manners a habit.
2. Etiquette comes from a good heart. At their heart, good manners are an expression of concern for the feelings and comfort of others. As you model good manners and behavior in front of your children, remind them of why we do these things—because we care about our friends and family and want to be kind to them.
3. Etiquette pushes back “reality.” Our culture has become less and less polite, and even celebrates the freedom to be rude or obnoxious. Don’t let those breeches of good behavior go unaddressed in front of your children. Talk to them about why it’s wrong (even if “everybody” is doing it) and what the right behavior would have been. Also limit reality TV and monitor who your children hang out with.
4. Etiquette starts with you. Your kids are always watching and listening, so you’re never off the hook. In your everyday communication and interaction with them and others, you must practice what you preach. If you mess up—and you will—admit your mistake to your kids and apologize, reminding them of what you should have done, and will do in the future.
5. Etiquette is gracious. Don’t be too hard on others, especially children, who don’t possess the manners you think they should. Good manners are a learned thing, and not everyone has been taught well. Your kids will pick up on your kindness toward those who don’t exactly get the finer points of polite behavior and will extend the same forgiveness to their own friends who don’t get it. When we treat others with gentleness and kindness in all circumstances, we may find that they’re charmed enough to mirror the way we act, at any age!
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