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The Basics Of Teaching Children Manners

By Alison Wilcox


One of the most challenging, yet very important roles of parents is teaching children manners. As a child grows up, they need to learn some basic etiquette. This will help them interact appropriately with other members of society as well as behave in a socially acceptable manner when confronted with various situations. Apart from parents, teachers and religious leaders are also in a strategic position to ensure that children adopt good mannerisms.

One of the most effective ways of inculcating good mannerisms into a child is by serving as a good role model. Studies show that children are more inclined to copying what they see as opposed to following what they are told. Adults that are frequently in contact with these children, therefore, need to also behave in a responsible manner. This applies to speech as well as actions.

The modern family is faced with numerous challenges. The huge economic burden that comes with the raising of a family is arguably one of the biggest. Limited parental contact often impacts negatively on growing children. This is because parents are less likely to impart positive behaviors in their child. Similarly, they may not identify the bad behaviors that need to be nipped in the bud.

A child should be taught to respect their seniors as early as possible. While there are a number of cultural differences throughout the world, several codes of behavior apply universally. A child should know how to properly greet a person older than them. Respect should be shown during a conversation with such a person. They should be taught that one must wait for their turn to speak, rather than interrupt another person, particularly their seniors.

A child should also be taught to be courteous at all times. Teaching them to show appreciation for small gifts or favors at such an age will ensure that they grow up this way. They should learn to apologize whenever necessary and in the right way. They should know when and how to excuse themselves during different situations. Varying degrees of punishment and appraisal can be used to reinforce the positive and discourage the negative behaviors.

Another sensitive area that needs adequate training is the table. Table manners require a strong tradition in the home that the child will carry with them even after they leave. They will need to be taught how to behave themselves before, during and after meals depending on the family practice. Issues such as waiting for every family member to arrive before starting to eat, giving priority to guests and speaking in certain predetermined ways during meals have to be discussed at family level and passed on to the children.

Another area that is of concern to parents is that of personal hygiene. A child should be properly trained on how to maintain their cleanliness. Responsible parenting involves letting the child learn to do most things by themselves. This includes, among others, taking a bath or shower and taking care of laundry. Once they have known how to maintain personal cleanliness, they can be told on the importance of having a clean environment as well.

Teaching children manners is a continuous process and not a one-time event. Some things will have to be taught repetitively before they eventually stick. Also, there is need for input from as many responsible adults as possible and not just the parents.




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