“Mind your manners,” was my mother’s favorite saying when I was dropped off at any of my friends houses growing up. I was always taught to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. I was always taught to ask for things and be genuinely respectful to my elders; but it would seem that much like my 3rd grade mullet, manners aren’t as popular as they used to be.
To not make the parents out there feel too bad, I must admit that there have always been bad kids. I remember there being disrespectful kids in my classes in Elementary school but it wasn’t as frequent of a thing as it is now. It is my belief that a lot of the problem is that kids are modeling the behavior that they see around them. Or could it be that good manners just aren’t enforced anymore? Good manners must be taught, discussed, and practiced. Dr. Alex J. Packer, Ph.D., wrote a book entitled How Rude! The Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out. In a survey that she took for her book; out of the 70 parents that responded to her survey, three-quarters answered that today’s children and adults are less polite than when ‘they’, were growing up.
Is it technology’s fault? Is our lives that thrive on instant this and fast that? Or is a lack of communication or interaction to blame? Is the fact that our children grow up texting and emailing more than they actually communicate face-to-face with other human beings?
The answer is difficult to give an unequivocal ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. There is no denying that texting and tweeting has encouraged brief communications, which has led to a complete lack of knowledge of the nuances of communication. There is no clarity or respect in the language of a text message. There is no sensitivity and care in a tweet. In other words….it produces bad manners. In a 2014 study by the Boston Medical Center, they found that 75% of families observed at fast food restaurants looked at their smart phones during the meal and of that 75%, one-third of the parents were on their smart phones during the entire meal.
So does that mean that parents are to blame completely? Absolutely. While it is easy to just be oblivious to our child glued to their iPod, we are missing the opportunity to help our child become a better person. While our child is oblivious to the world around them, let’s try practicing what we would like to or should see. If we lead by example, then our children will follow suit. Here are some ideas for us to do when it comes to helping raise better children:
- Say “Please,” “Thank you,” “You’re welcome,”and “Excuse me.”
- Look people in the eye while we converse with them.
- Be respectful to the elderly.
- Don’t use foul language.
- Use GOOD table manners.
- (Especially for boys) Have a good firm handshake.
- Speak when spoken to.
- Don’t say hurtful things to ANYONE.
- Don’t do things that are inappropriate at specific times (talking in movie theaters, disrespectfully talking while adults (or anyone) is trying to talk.
- Have family meals. I know that we’re all in a hurry but find time to eat with your kids.
- STAY OFF YOUR PHONE WHILE YOU’RE WITH YOUR KIDS! Especially while you are at the dinner table.