What about good manners?

Teach them manners with manners. Teach them respect with respect.

I agree. Everybody has their own way to teach their children. We, the parents, are doing our best to teach our children about life. But some situations… Let’s just evaluate some situations.

Poor kids feel awful because we, the parents, put them in really uncomfortable situations.  Today I’m  writing and advocating for those children.

 Here is the story. There is somebody greeting people at a school event. They are just saying, “Hi” to the families and children coming in. The greater says, “Good afternoon I hope you have a great time.”

 The little boy, Thomas, looks at the greeter and puts his head down. Now comes Mom … “Tomas, say hello, she was talking to you…. Hey… Say hello! Look at her eyes…Respond, somebody is talking to you… Come here, say hello she was telling you something… Say hi or we will go back home.

 Cue the Meltdown followed by… tears, screaming … and some people just staring at them like they don’t know how to be out with other people.

 Wouldn’t it be great if children were born with manners? If they were, we wouldn’t have to worry about these moments right? We wouldn’t have to practice this. Don’t you remember when you were a kid? Think back to how many times your parents had to tell you… “Say hello… Say hi… Remember when we are going to a new place, remember to say good morning.” How old were we when our parents finally stopped repeating that? 12? 15? Even 22???

 Let’s have a little more compassion for our children. Let’s teach them manners with manners. Teach them respect with respect.

 If we want our children to be nice, try to explain nicely how the world works sometimes.

 Put yourself in their shoes:  You are a giant to your children, and so are other adults. When children see a stranger, they see a giant with a weird face that they have never seen before. Just imagine that unknown giant trying to smile at you, or even kiss you, or giving you a big hug that hurts your body. Because remember, you haven’t seen that giant before. Then comes Mom, “RESPOND TO THE GIANT!!! SAY HELLO BACK NOW!”

 Scary chain of events isn’t? OK so if you don’t want your kids to be scared, just don’t scare them.

 How can we help? I am not saying that it is ok to let them just walk by and be fine with that. It takes time to create a habit.

 Just model. Always say hello to people when you see them or when you get to a new place. Talk to your children before you get to a new place too. On the way to the place you can talk to them on your walk or in the car. Say, “We are almost there guys, what is the first thing we say when we get there? (Hello)” Explain to them why we say hello and why is important to be respectful. You can also say, “It is very nice that ____ are inviting us to their house (party or event). ____ worked very hard to make this event happen and they are sharing this special moment with us. Isn’t that nice? (make them aware of the situation)” Give feedback. Talk to your children after you go somewhere and review their manners. And when they use their manners, make an observation and say, “I noticed how you say Good morning to Grandma. That was very polite” or “I noticed how you said thank you for having us, that shows that you really appreciate the time you shared with them.”

If your children don’t say “Hi” at first, you don’t need to give a lecture. Don’t worry, they won’t do it the first time, or the second or the third. This takes time. Just be patient and model, model, model.  You children will get there. Other parents will understand. If people don’t understand, you know that you are doing your best to teach your children with love and respect. That is the only thing that matters.