As a mom there are some areas I am more flexible and relaxed in, for example bedtime. Mainly because I arrive home from work at 6:00 pm, it is unrealistic for me to put Anya in bed by 7:00 or 7:30. I aim for 8:30 or the latest 9:00 pm. She needs to eat, take a bath, and we need some quality time together which I believe is more important than a strict bedtime. There is one area where I am not flexible and that is with manners. Manners seem to have been pushed to the side in child rearing and it is reflected in the blatant disrespect that so many young people show their parents, peers, and even elders. Please, thank you, and excuse me’s aren’t mandatory any longer, which really is unacceptable.
Parents have the responsibility of teaching their children how to be polite, gracious, and to use their manners. I have seen parents excuse their children’s bad manners by laughing it off instead of addressing the issue at hand. When I was growing up I was taught to use manners and if I forgot them I was quickly reminded and even scolded if need be. Don’t misunderstand I know that kids will be kids. They aren’t always going to do what they are told and they have their bad moods just like we adults do. But , it is our job to correct and train them in the way they should go.
I was observing some teenagers on the DC metro and was appalled at their behavior. They were loud, rude, and never said excuse me after cutting in front of people. Manners start at home and they start very young. If we dismiss bad manners as, “oh well, kids will be kids,” we perpetuate bad behavior in the present and in the future. We are raising children that will be adults and if we don’t encourage manners now, then there is a greater chance that as adults they will have a bad and ungrateful attitude. We need to plant the seeds for manners, nurture them and keep them pruned.
Make manners a priority in your house. If someone forgets to say thank you remind them, especially the little ones. Little ones are just learning so of course we have to be patient with them and help them to understand why manners are important. Most of all we want to stress that God wants them to be respectful, courteous, and kind. Make a manner chart for them. Every day they use good manners give them a sticker and applaud them. Make sure you encourage them and when they do a good job let them know.
When kids get older manners are just as important. Make it a rule in your house that bad manners won’t be tolerated inside or outside. I think parents are especially guilty of ignoring the lack of manners between siblings. Yes, sibling will have their differences, but there needs to be a level of respect and love that is fostered in the family. If someone is disrespectful or are displaying bad manners, enforce consequences and be consistent. Some consequences can be extra chores, being grounded, or having something taken away from them. When feelings do get hurt or manners are ignored make a heart felt sincere apology part of the discipline plan.
The lack of civility in society, in my opinion can be attributed back to people not using their manners and being disrespectful, and having a sense of entitlement. It is important that we stress to our children that Jesus want us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. When we teach our children to use manners we teach them to have respect for others and themselves. If we are too relaxed in the manner department I can almost guarantee you that there will be trouble in other areas of their life as well. When we are teaching kids about manners, we should be an example for them. If you catch yourself not using behavior that is fit for a Christian, own up to it. Make yourself an example for your children, not only will they respect you for it, but they will learn a valuable lesson.
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