Sunday 20 October 2013

Raising Polite Kids - The controversy

It seems I have been bombarded the last few months on Facebook and other social media about these new ideas around teaching your kids manners. The new "thing" appears to be to not teach them at all and that they will eventually learn, ie they are not expected to say please or thank you unless they want to. The reasoning behind this is that, if they are just being polite because they are expected to then the politeness is pointless as they don't understand why they are doing it.

I however believe manners and respect are important. I don't want my kids to grow up spoilt and entitled, which let's face it a lot of kids are these days. It's actually one of my pet peeves so let's not dwell too much on it or I will go on and on. Manners show a lot about your character, how view people and yourself.

Perhaps my expectations are too high. I have had people comment on several occasions that my son is "too polite". Don't get me wrong, he is a normal 2 1/2 year old who throws tantrums and gets frustrated etc but generally he is well mannered. I'll give a list of some of the things I expect of him and you can tell me if they are "too high"

  • To excuse himself from the table and say thank-you for the meal. 
  • To greet and farewell guests or anyone else appropriately by leaving his activity and saying hello and goodbye. 
  • To say please when asking for something. 
  • To wait his turn patiently for a toy, or in a line or at any other time he has to wait (like if I am feeding his sister and he wants something)
  • To answer when someone is speaking to him
  • To listen to what I/or his Dad say immediately. We shouldn't have to ask twice. (we are still working on this but 80% of the time we only have to ask once) 
Personally I do not think this is too much to expect since this is what he lives each day and seems to have no problems accomplishing it. Tantrums are rare these days and usually only happen when either of us are particularly tired. 

Many parents follow the "do as I say, not as I do" idea. I have found this doesn't work. I have proof. My husband was terrible at saying thank you. He made a big effort to improve, as he did Auron's manners improved also. Children are great imitators, much of what they learn they learn by copying those around them. The greatest influence in a child's life are the parents, what kind of influence do you want to be. 

You may ask, will this work really pay off in the long run? My 13 year old brother was taught, and expected to use his manners where ever he was. He is a wonderful example to Auron (Auron is actually quite obsessed with him so I am glad he is a good example) Teina is always they first to say thank you, if he is getting himself a drink or something to eat he will always ask if anyone else would like something, if you ask him to do something he will usually do it straight away, he is always willing to help especially those younger than him or with special needs. 

Whether you teach your children to use their manners or not, my Grandad had a good saying:

Good manners never cost a thing
Clive Hood

Me and Teina...a few years ago now!

1 comment:

  1. I am shocked that anyone would ever point out that a child is too polite! We teach our son manners and now that he is a bit older and in boundary-pushing age, when he tells us no, he at least says "no, thank you." Somehow that is easier to take than him just saying "no!' Manners are the easiest way to show respect for another person. Teach them thoroughly and often.



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