The 9 Steps to Raising Polite Children
“New York etiquette queen, Lyudmila Bloch, puts little princesses through their paces…” (ForbesLife)
ForbesLife Turns 20:
The Ladies Who Lunch (Anniversary Issue/September 27, 2010)
Does your 5-6-7-year-old child talk back, lie, cheat, manipulate, or have constant fights with you and other family members? Why is school violence escalating?
What is a better indicator of a child’s success in life than grades, sports involvement, extracurricular activities, and even church attendance? What makes a child extraordinary? And what does etiquette have to do with any of this?
According to Rosemary Carroll, coauthor of the book The Golden Rules of Etiquette at The Plaza, learning and practicing good etiquette will have a profoundly positive effect on your child’s personality development. "By teaching your child a consistent code of behavior and basic principals of etiquette, you’ll prepare him or her for success in life."
Respect, kindness, honesty, self-esteem, thoughtfulness, trust,responsibility and accountability (all building blocks of character education) will serve as a solid character-foundation throughout your child’s life.
What can you do as a parent to raise a kind and respectful child?
The best gift we can offer to our children is a sincere model of good behavior.
- Model by example a healthy self-respect and the same regard for others.
- Emphasize the beauty, joy, and importance of kindness and empathy.
- Demonstrate respectful behavior in everyday life
- Don’t maneuver or manipulate others at home or elsewhere.
- Encourage self-responsibility and accountability at home and in school.
- Build character through love and trust.
- Develop social skills and teach how to ask for help.
- Teach basic dining skills and table manners at home
- Seek expert's help when appropriate
Why are TV’s violent, rude, and sexually explicit images harmful to your kids?
Because children learn what they live…. They learn by watching, listening and following our example. It goes almost without saying that rude, violent, or sexually explicit behavior has an adverse effect on child’s development. Young children lack the emotional maturity to differentiate between true and false, real and imagined until they reach a certain age.
This is why our society so desperately needs spiritual counselors, mentors, ministers, and character-education teachers.
Minding Their Manners
As featured on Grandparents.com
Grandparents play a vital role in modeling good etiquette. Read the entire article by Chris Hansen.
The grandparent, the brother, the aunt, or the perfect stranger ... at one time or another, everyone has witnessed the phenomenon that is a misbehaving child. Screaming at the mall, refusing to share toys, or pouting at the dinner table, are all cringe-worthy outbursts. But parents and grandparents can easily help childen to sidestep these behaviors by encouraging the little ones to practice proper etiquette from an early age.
"Nothing makes a grandparent happier than when their grandchild is well behaved," says New York City-based etiquette expert Lyudmila Bloch of Etiquette Outreach. "This is a reflection on them." Bloch notes that in her experience, grandparents have been the first ones to notice that their grandchildren's behavior indicates a lack of manners. And they will, or should, give the children the gift of etiquette lessons. Many times, grandchildren learn the subtleties of proper behavior through the way in which family elders conduct themselves on a day-to-day basis. Introducing and maintaining manners in grandchildren's lives is an opportunity to show them the importance of structure and the meaning of certain family traditions.
Although it can take time for your grandchildren to learn to enjoy a meal at a fine restaurant, Bloch advises grandparents to do prep work beforehand. Bringing some distractions — such as Mad Libs or a puzzle book — will refocus the children, should they
|“Etiquette is not just about a fork and knife, it’s about kindness and consideration to everyone around us.”|
Although at times it may not seem like it, grandchildren are looking for cues on how to act in certain situations. Sharing stories and advice on etiquette not only solidifies a grandparent's role in the family as a sage advice-giver, it helps to leave an important legacy. "If you teach etiquette to your grandchildren in meaningful, incremental steps, the experience will always be remembered by them as a positive one," says Bloch. On the contrary, if the rules are simply dictated, but never explained, grandchildren won’t associate etiquette with any specific memories or experience. If they feel no real connection to these rules, they're less likely to apply them. "It's a balancing act that grandparents have to play with their grandchildren, but it can be made fun by rewarding good behavior," she says. This positive reinforcement will also encourage repeated proper etiquette in the future.
As the rules of etiquette begin to take root in grandchildren's behavior, the family will reap the benefits. And just when is the right age to begin teaching grandchildren the dos and don'ts of conduct in polite company? Bloch's youngest pupil is only two years old, but at any age gratitude can be taught and should be reinforced on a daily basis. She explains, "Children really understand the concept of making someone feel good." Once the little ones grasp the idea of how to treat their parents and siblings and how to behave in public settings, relationships with them begin to mature and develop exponentially." Etiquette is not just about a fork and knife, it’s about kindness and consideration to everyone around us," says Bloch.
Teaching Good Manners to Teens, Tweens Important for Success
by Melissa Kossier Dutton (ParentDish)
When it comes to teaching manners to tweens and teenagers, think feelings, not fussy rules.
Kids will tune out discussions about formal decree, etiquette guru Thomas P. Farley tells ParentDish, but you may be able to engage them in a conversation about feelings.
"Manners, at their core, are being aware of how your actions are going to make other people feel," he says. "They're less about what fork should I be using when I have caviar."
People with poor manners are more likely to hurt other people's feelings – and hurt feelings are something young people can relate to, says Farley, who gives manner advice online atwhatmannersmost.com. If you make the lessons relevant, teenagers and tweens will pay attention, adds Cindy Post Senning, a director at the Emily Post Institute.
"This isn't a bunch of rules," she tells ParentDish. "It's how we get along with people."
And getting along with people starts with "likability," says Lyudmila Bloch, ofetiquetteoutreach.com. Parents need to teach their children how to appropriately use technology, common courtesies and basic table manners, the experts agree. Teaching cell phone etiquette is extremely important, as well, Farley says.
"Impose some limits," he says. "Family dinner is sacred." And that means parents have to ignore their phones too, he adds.
Kids also need to know when and where it's appropriate to use their cell phones. He recommends not letting kids listen to music, play games or text their friends in situations where they should be "mixing and mingling" with family members or adults.
"Never give more attention to the person on the other end of the phone than to the person sitting right next to you," he says.
Among their friends, it's OK for teens and tweens to use their phones more – as long as no one is feeling left out, he says. It's also acceptable for young people to use whatever shorthand they have adopted with their friends while texting, e-mailing or instant messaging, he says.
But parents need to make sure their children know the limits of that language, Senning adds. It's not appropriate to use text messaging shorthand or other slang in an e-mail to a grandparent, teacher or respected adult, she says.
If you don't show those people respect, your relationship with them may suffer, she says.
Making children aware of such common courtesies gives them self confidence, Bloch adds. She recommends parents teach their children to be friendly to people they dislike and help them learn to make small talk. Young adults also should learn the proper way to use dining utensils, what to do with their napkin and how to identify their glassware during a meal, she continues.
Learning to chew with your mouth closed is also extremely important, Senning says. When you're a dinner guest, don't worry if you don't like something on the menu, she adds.
"There's no manners rule that says you have to eat food that makes you gag," she says. "Eat everything else on your plate."
The experts offer ParentDish readers the following tips as manner musts.