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Are good manners a thing of the past?
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Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
Whether it's right or wrong, on the playground or at a restaurant, parents are often judged based on their children's manners. Why do some children seem to always be on their best behavior, and others, well, not so much? Good manners are not inborn. Behavior is taught, molded, and reinforced by parents.

Here are some tips to help guide your children to good manners, at home and beyond.

1. Mind your own manners! This may sound simple. But it's easy to forget that our children watch each and every thing we do. So before you make that snide comment, stop and take a moment to practice good manners -- not only for yourself, but also for your family.

2. Practice saying "please" and "thank you" aloud. Every time you ask your child (or your spouse/partner) to do something, always start with "please" and end with "thank you". Encourage your child to do so, as well. If they get in the habit at a young age, it will become part of their regular vocabulary.

3. Praise good behavior directly or within earshot of your child. Even though it may not always seem like it, your child really does want to please you and gets great satisfaction out of hearing you say he's done well.

4. Try not to criticize. Instead of saying, "Don't use your sleeve to wipe your mouth," simply hand him a napkin. He'll get the hint. Also, look for instances where he behaved as you taught him, and let him know you noticed. "It was wonderful the way you used your napkin at the restaurant last night to protect your clothes."

5. Kids love to be kids. Allow silly time at home for such things as eating with fingers or making a milk mustache. Just preface it with the fact that although this is okay right now, since we're home, it isn't appropriate behavior at a friend's house or in public.

What about you? Any challenges, tips, or funny stories to share about manners? or a lack thereof?
Reply
 
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Lainey_WebMD_Staff responded:
My father is retired from the army. So we were raised in a military home. For us, it was common to say sir, or ma'am when answering our parents. I don't raise my children as militant but I want my children to be well mannered. My 17 year old son (long hair and goth looks) loves the shocked face he receives when he will say "Thank you ma'am/sir." We allow all our children to behave normal within limits at home or with friends. But they also know when to show respect in public.

I speak with the local store employees that we frequent and ask if my children behave in their stores. I also ask my children's teachers and their friend's parents and always get good reports. My children see the advantage of good manners and use them.

I am also a firm believer of parents being the example. I open doors for people, allow someone to go ahead of me, and try to be as polite as possible. My children even as young as 5 will run and open a door to be helpful. My example is the most powerful tool for teaching my children and I always praise their efforts.
 
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daisyrd32 responded:
Though behaviors are caused by environmental influences it can also be a part of gene influences as well. In the case of nature vs nurture it is possible for people to see what their genes have installed in their child as well as what their upbring has caused. I have a three year old son whom is naturally friendly toward all children and elderly. He will say hi to children his as and shake the hands of elderly men and hug elderly women. I did not teach this to him and nor does he see me doing it (or his father). However he does it on a daily basis. It is hard to understand where he gets the respect for his elders from. When teaching a child manners it is a great idea to follow what you preach! Some parents abid by the "do as I say not as I do" rule. This then confuses the child and makes them wonder "why do I have to do this when my mommy and daddy don't. In the case of taking your child to a resturate it is best to keep in mind that young children get boried really easly. So if your children are along with you go to a kid friendly resturate where children can have fun while they eat. Children should have the oppertunity to enjoy their childhood we are no longer in the dark ages when people though children where minature adults and thus had to have impecable manners. Parents should teach their children respect and manners but not go over board. Learn what it is best to teach the child at a certain age and go from there don't push everything onto their little shoulders now for they might grow up rebelling against you and everything you did for the smple fact that you treated them like adults before it was time.
 
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Lainey_WebMD_Staff replied to daisyrd32's response:
I went to our local bakery and the women behind the counter was shocked to see how well behaved my granddaughters were. The woman mentioned it a few times and even complimented the girls too. My granddaughters were happy to get a positive response and left the store with smiles on their faces.
 
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Boyzmomee replied to daisyrd32's response:
IMO, manners are not influenced by "genes."

Temperaments likely are. Teaching a child "manners" starts very young, saying "please" and "thank you."

We also try hard to model good manners and respect for our children.

I have a child with ADHD who has very good manners and displays respect towards others. It is my obligation as a parent to teach him that.

Children don't need to "enjoy themselves" by displaying poor manners or a lack of respect for others.
 
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fcl replied to Boyzmomee's response:
I agree. It is our job as parents to teach our children how to behave. It isn't always easy but we need to remmeber that kn owing how to behave, being well-mannered will make their lives SO much easier later on. Having good manners will help them know what is expected of them. In those difficult moments we need to remember that raising them properly is more for their good than ours


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