Manners: How to have a Hallway Hero
Why You Should be Concerned
Hallway Heroes are children who have learned how to honor and respect others. Years ago this would have been simply called common courtesy, or having good manners. Seventy three percent of Americans say manners are worse today than 20 years ago. With the decline in manners, there has been an increase in relational aggression or bullying.
Several factors can be cited as contributing to the decline in civility among children. Experts agree that the widespread use of unmonitored television, video games and the Internet have had a negative impact on what children view as acceptable social behavior. Parents are consumed with the complicated business of making ends meet, taking children to their many activities, working with their kids to do well in school and working on their marriage. As a result they may not have time to teach their kids polite social behavior.
However, to be a successful adult, children need to learn to cultivate appropriate and acceptable behavior (kindness), as well as develop sensitivity to those around them (caring).
Know Your Child
Manners taught at an early age are the first line of defense against aberrant and perhaps illegal behavior. When children fail to learn to control themselves out of consideration to others, bad behavior can develop. In school, students are harassed, bullied, suspended, socially ostracized and unable to learn. With your child in mind ask yourself the following questions.
Does your child….
- Get impatient when waiting in line
- Interrupt others when they are speaking
- Call people demeaning names
- Enjoy whispering secrets in a group
- Have a hard time keeping their hands and feet to themselves
- Take things without asking
- Bully or intimidate others to get their way
- Get angry when they are losing a game
- Cheat in order to win
- Put people down to seem cool
- Often act bored or annoyed
- Criticize others' looks, abilities, family, religion, etc.
- Roll their eyes and sigh exasperatedly at other adults and children
If many of your answers were yes, your child may need some heart work. Manners are an outward manifestation of a heart attitude. If, in your heart, you value others you will be kind and caring. This will lead to a desire to have good manners. If, in your heart, you do not value others you will become self-centered. This leads to rude, abusive and often illegal behavior.
What You Can Do
Model good manners to your child
- Use kind words – please, may I, thank you, you're welcome
- Use positive language – no swearing, criticizing, or demeaning language
- Exercise self control – time on the phone, temper
- Use table manners
Talk to your child about the following character traits
Talk to your children about their day at school. Ask them often if they had the opportunity to be a Hallway Hero. Encourage them daily.
Place limits on your child regarding:
- Video games
- Cell phone chatting and texting
- Computer time
At parent/teacher conferences, regularly ask your child's teachers the following questions:
- Is my child respectful to you (the teacher)?
- Is my child respectful to other students?
- Does my child get along with his/her classmates?
- Does my child include or exclude children when it comes to activities?
- Is my child helpful?
- Does my child share well?
- Is my child kind and thoughtful?
- Does my child have good classroom manners (doesn't interrupt the teacher, waits his turn, doesn't push, cut in line, talk while others are talking, etc.)?
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