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How to Teach Your Child Good Manners

Teach Your Child Good Manners

How to Teach Your Child Good Manners

Good manners are necessary for your child to grow up right. The older your child gets, the harder it will be to teach them proper manners. That's why it's important to start early, so that these important lessons become a permanent fixture in your child's thoughts and habits sooner rather than later.

What someone defines as “good manners” can vary depending on culture and beliefs, but there are some behaviors that are almost universally perceived as good and respectful. In this article, we'll cover some of those, along with tips on how to encourage your child to behave appropriately. With the right guidance, your child will be so well-mannered you'll constantly get compliments on their behavior!

Opening the Door—Its Not Just for Girls Any More

No matter whether your child is a girl or a boy, you should be teaching them to be respectful and empathetic to the needs of the people around them. Go ahead and teach both your daughters and your sons to do things like open or hold doors for other people, regardless of gender. Good manners have never hurt anyone, after all. If you single out the boys with rules of conduct that do not apply to girls (and vice versa) you are not doing either group any favors.

Instead, you are reinforcing the idea that they are different and sending unintentional and potentially dangerous messages to them. Girls may learn to feel entitled to respect that they have done nothing to earn, while boys may feel that their chivalric gestures entitle them to things that they haven’t earned either. This is why it is better to eschew a gendered system entirely and focus on teaching your children universal manners.

It Isn’t “Is Chivalry Dead?”, It’s “Are Manners Dead?”

Both boys and girls may open and hold doors for anyone who appears to need that service. In fact, your children may get a charge out of being big enough to help by opening and holding the door whenever they can. People are sure to thank and compliment them for it and they have all the fun of knowing they are big enough to hold a heavy door back. Teach them to offer their seats to anyone who looks like they might need them more because they are younger, older, in poor health, just plain tired, or heavily burdened.

As they grow older and can handle it, teach your children to relieve others of their burdens and assist them in carrying them. All of these lessons will help your child to learn to act as if the comfort of others is important to them. By teaching your children that, you are teaching them to exercise kindness, empathy, and respect for other human beings. It’s a rude world out there, and these qualities are never wasted whether they are exhibited by men or women, girls or boys.

Set A Good Example

Children learn by watching their parents. If your children see you acting in a certain way, they're likely to repeat it whether it's good or not. So, if you act in a rude or disrespectful way towards someone, don't be surprised to see your child emulate that behavior. Of course, everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but generally speaking you should be trying your best to set a good example.

Say “please” and “thank you” to others, to show your child the right way to speak to someone. Simple tasks that may seem like second nature to you, such as pushing your chair in and not chewing with your mouth open, are unfamiliar to your child. Table manners are a big part of being respectful and well-mannered, so show your child the right way to act.

When someone tests your patience, remain calm but firm instead of losing your temper. Don't be pushy with others, and be patient when waiting for something. These are all important lessons for a child to learn; they can learn them best by seeing you practicing these behaviors in real scenarios.

You can also use your own mistakes as a teaching moment. If you speak unnecessarily harshly to someone, for example, use it as a moment to remind your child that you should always try to be kind to others. Of course, don't encourage your child to be a doormat, but teach them that kindness and respect can go a long way. Even if you're pushed, angry, or frustrated, that isn't a reason to be unkind to someone who doesn't deserve it.

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