Sometimes we look at our children and wonder where in the world they came from. They are loud, rude, and thoughtless. We wonder where in the world they learned such bad manners and are continually embarrassed by them in public. I think every parent has been there at one time in their life, and the good news is, the problem has a solution. The one thing to keep in mind is that children are not born with manners or character. Both must be taught on a continual basis. Below I outline, five key points that help transform rude children into proper gentlemen and ladies.
Parenting skills go beyond teaching your child to say, "Please" and "Thank you". Teaching a child what behavior is expected is a daily process, and you will have many opportunities each day to steer your child in the right direction.
1. One key point to remember is to teach and model the correct behavior. Your child is not born knowing the social graces and cannot be expected to know the correct behavior. So often, we parents get frustrated and angry when we see our child doing or saying something socially incorrect. We think that they are just acting out or trying to irritate you, when in reality, they have never been taught the correct behavior. Be specific when you teach your child and remember that follow-up lessons are necessary. Some examples of this are as follows.
You are sitting at the dinner table and your child burps. Instead of saying, "Don't be so rude!" you can say, "It's impolite to burp at the table, but if you do, you should say 'excuse me'.
Another example would be when your child states her feelings in a less-than-polite way, you can rephrase what she already said in the way you find acceptable. If she says, "I hate this green stuff!" You can politely correct her by saying, "What you should say is, 'I don't like spinach'." Honestly, it is a more polite way to say the phrase, but in our home the phrase, "I don't like..." is not allowed at the table. Thankfulness and gratitude are the focal point of our dinners, and our children are encouraged to try everything.
2. The second key point is to learn to accept mistakes. When kids are young they will spill, drop and break things. It takes time to acquire the motor skills necessary to be tidy and neat, and if your arms grew two inches overnight, you might drop and spill things too. Childhood is a constant stage of growth and adjustment. Children will make social blunders. It takes maturity to learn how to act in social situations. Accept age-appropriate mistakes for being simple childishness.
Something extremely disturbing, is when a parent is trying to correct a child's social blunder by overreacting or being indiscreet. Learn to correct privately. As annoying as your child's lack of manners may be, resist the urge to reprimand him in front of other people. Making a scene as you attempt to teach your child proper manners can just be bad manners on your part.
3. The third key point is to expect good manners. When you know your child has learned the proper way to behave it is important to expect those good manners. Be consistent. Require good manners every day. Remind gently. And over time you will find your children turning into proper ladies and gentlemen.
4. The fourth key point is to be the parent and take charge. Simply give yourself permission to be in charge and begin expecting your children to obey you. With this solid foundation you will build a loving, trusting relationship with your children. More importantly, you will be able to lead your children into adulthood with values, wisdom, and life skills that only a strong, supportive parent can impart.
5. The Fifth key point is to establish routines and rules.. If you have very specific rules and routines you will find that things flow more peacefully. If you don't, then expect chaos. It is well worth the time and effort to establish family priorities, rules and schedules for the usual daily routines.
None of us are born knowing how to be parents. We can love our kids with our whole heart and soul, but we are not born with a gene that gives us an instinctual knowledge of all the right answers, nor do we automatically know how to solve daily child rearing problems. But you can confident that your parenting skills with grow with time. Two things that have helped me tremendously is to seek counsel from older parents and to read, read, read every day. Reading is super important to continue developing and growing. It opens up your mind to a wealth of wisdom and helps you to avoid many pitfalls. These are some of the key skills that I have learned in my journey teaching children. They work very well if applied consistently.