Mind Your Manners
Boston Globe reporter Barbara Meltz's recent column on manners is a topic for every parent to be concerned about -- the importance of manners, instilled at an early age.
Rude and obnoxious parents groom rude and obnoxious children. How many times have you overheard a parent telling their children to "Shut up!" or witnessed a child blantantly disrepescting their parents? We were recently at a family event where I watched an 8- or 9-year old boy start screaming at his mother, kick her, and then say "I hate you." She looked like she was ready to die.
If there is one thing my wife and I agree on and do our best to be diligent about enforcing, it's manners. Thankfully, our girls usually remember to say "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me" if interrupting. And we do out best to ensure they treat one another with respect while playing, and to try to resolve their differences with calm, nice words, not fists or feet. That one takes a little more persistence, but at the end of the day, they're both fairly well mannered girls.
When my daughter started kindergarten, we were thrilled to hear the teacher tell us in every conference that she's such a polite and respectful little girl, a pleasure to have in class.
Perhaps the hardest part of being a parent is dealing with other parents. Ever had to bite your tongue over how your friend is handling a parenting situation? Ever wished you child didn't play with so and so because they just don't have the same values as your family? It's important to remember we're not just parenting for our children, but for society. One rude child, on disrespectful student, can make a world of difference. Kids can be cruel if they don't have the right example.
Skylar just went through a period of not wanting to wear anything with a bow on it. And there was no reason for why she had a change of heart. We talked with her about it, and finally found out that someone in her class made fun of everyone who was wearing bows. 6 years old and being teased over a bow.
So we told her to tell the person she didn't like what he was saying and wished he would be more polite. She said she had already done that (and we were so proud that she tried to be rational and polite).
So I told her to "Tell him to look down at his sneakers...where he would find his laces tied in a bow."
She said "But he wears velcro sneakers."
So I said "Probably because he doesn't know how to tie a bow" with a wink and a smile. She laughed and agreed.
And now she's not so worried about bows anymore.