The chances are great that every parent has, on occasion, been embarrassed by the rude behavior of their child. From time to time, your children will interact with adults who are not in their lives on a regular basis, especially during holidays and vacations.  Now is a good time for a little proactive training and preparation in the area of good manners.

The first step is to be certain that your child understands that rude words or actions can hurt another person.  She may not know exactly what constitutes being rude – that it can be what is said, what is done, or even the tone of her words. The task of encouraging good manners parallels the basics of loving discipline.  In our book Be The Parent we challenged parents with 5 action steps.

  • Agree as Mom and Dad.  (Sing off the same song sheet.)
  • Pick your battles wisely and win ‘em. (Follow the basics of discipline.)
  • Think long-term. (Remember that manners affect how kids do on the playground, in the classroom, & [ultimately] in the workplace.)
  • Be consistent.
  • Reject the parenting lies. (i.e. A young child is incapable of exhibiting good manners.)

It’s always a good idea to practice being polite (and to model it, of course).  Among other things, you need to teach your children how to respond to a greeting from an adult.  Role-playing can help with this and go a long way toward giving your kids confidence as they see Uncle Fred at your Thanksgiving celebration later this month.  The key is to encourage positive behavior.  Good manners are something that will benefit your children greatly today, on Thanksgiving day, and into the future!

Can you share any tips for teaching good manners?