Award-Winning Author | Manners Expert | Mom
Raising polite kids is my passion.
I have raised a lot of kids and I know that there are more than five things you need to do ensure they grow into kind and courteous adults.
These are at the top of my list, but after you read let me know if you have others.
Five Tips for Raising Polite Kids
1. Work to make life meaningful, not just easy. You are the parent not the fairy godmother; your child lives in the real world not Disney World.
For your child to fully comprehend kindness, compassion, honor, and respect she needs to experience the realities of life as they present themselves – the satisfaction of success, the bitterness of conflict, the sadness of disappointment, the sweetness of friendship.
Help her understand them and teach her how to deal with them. Praise efforts that are well done, and offer kind encouragement for efforts that are not. By understanding what it takes for people to live together, your child will comprehend the value of having good manners and good character.
2. Invest the time to teach your child good manners, life skills, and values that build good character.
It’s all on you. Schools, religious organizations, and your parents can help, but you are your child’s primary instructor and the main influence in her life.
Commit to making good manners and good character part of your everyday conversation with her until the day she leaves for college. She needs guidance, examples, and discussion about what it means to be a good person.
The ideal time to start teaching is when you child is just beginning to talk. She will be a clean slate until about sixth grade when her peer group takes over as the source of all information. You will have to become more clever with your approach at that point.
3. Set a good example with your words and actions. You may be a great teacher, but unless you consistently walk the talk your kids won’t buy it.
4. Resist the urge to give up when your child pushes back. Keep delivering the message.
Find different ways to say the same thing. Face down their scorn. Don’t lower your standards or your expectations. Children listen to you even when they act like they’re not. You’re just going to have to wait until they are out of college before they admit it.
5. Keep your sense of humor. You have to. There’s not enough wine.
Do you have other must dos?
About Beth Brainard
Beth Brainard writes manners and life skills books for kids, teaches etiquette classes for children and young adults, and speaks to parenting groups and organizations. Etiquette IQ is her specialty! Learn more about her award-winning book Soup Should Be Seen, Not Heard here.
Over the course of her career Beth ran a consulting firm specializing in social and corporate protocol, created and taught a K-5 etiquette curriculum, hosted a radio talk show for parents called “Kids Don’t Come With an Owner’s Manual,” and participated in the formation of the Josephson Institute’s K-12 Character Counts! program.
To put her sons through college she served as a Director of Communications for divisions of Disney World and Harvard University. Beth is a graduate of Harvard University and lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Paul. They have LOTS of kids.
This post was originally posted in March 2013 on the now-defunct Mom’s Choice Matters blog.