7 ways to counteract societal influences.
As you read the local paper, or watch the news, you will encounter people bemoaning the loss of manners in today’s young people. But are manners really dead? More likely they are transitioning. Manners morph over time to keep pace with societal changes. Here’s an example: spitting was once considered acceptable if done close enough to put your foot on. Obviously that edict belongs back in the 1700s from whence it came.
Today our children are subjected to a barrage of rude behaviours on TV, in song lyrics, in video games and online. If you want your children’s manners to reach a higher standard, how do you counteract those external, powerful influences? A few simple tips can keep manners and kindness top of mind and spark ideas about customizing manners to suit your family.
1. Explain the why. The essence of good manners is that you respect yourself and the other person. Remind your children of times when someone else has offered them a simple courtesy, such as holding a door, and made them feel valued.
2. Teach greetings for when guests arrive. Decide how formal you want to be. You may want a child to stand, shake hands and address visitors. Or maybe you are satisfied with teaching your child to say hello and make eye contact with the visitor, even if they remain seated on the couch. Your rules may vary depending upon the guest.
3. Develop and enforce a technology basket. Declare a ban on electronic use when interacting with another person. Deposit cell phones and mobile devices in the basket so that there is no texting at dinner or when hanging out with family and friends.
4. Request courteous greetings for family members. Say good morning and good night to each family member while making eye contact. This ensures you are all truly present for each other and it may help minimize those teenage grumpy starts to the day.
5. Teach the value of being prompt. Speak to your children about how it feels to the person waiting when someone does not arrive on time. If you notice that tardiness is a chronic issue for your family look at your level of organization and your number of commitments. Maybe a few changes to the family schedule would have you feeling less rushed.
6. Protect privacy. Teach your children to speak softly when they are having conversations in public places, whether they are speaking with a person face-to-face or via cell phone. This will protect their privacy and is less disruptive to others.
7. Teach them about selfishness. Why are manners good for them? People who are kind are more desirable to be around. Your children are more likely to get repeat invitations when they practice good manners. Manners are also good for self-esteem because we all feel better about ourselves when we are doing the right thing.