The Importance of Raising Kids with Good Manners

After encountering a well-mannered child during a shopping trip, I've been thinking about how important teaching kids good manners and politeness is. If you asked your own children, what would they say good manners looks like?



Whilst out shopping with my daughter the other day, a child of no more than seven years old accidentally pushed into me, causing me to drop what I was holding. I thought absolutely nothing of it; kids can be clumsy and very often don't look where they're going. I was really impressed, however, when she turned and apologised, before mum had a chance to prompt her or apologise on her behalf.

It got me thinking about the importance of good manners in children.

Set the bar high when it comes to manners

Setting standards early and sticking to basic rules is obvious to me, but we hear so often how many of today's children are ill mannered and disrespectful, maybe as a society we aren't setting the bar high enough.

Should I have been surprised at the aforementioned child's courteousness or should we expect nothing less from our kids? Have we as a society regressed, as the media will have us believe, or are children just the same as they've always been?

Teaching manners and politeness

As opposed to the old adage of 'children should be seen and not heard', these days, children are a huge part of society. This surely means we see and hear a lot more of them than we did before!

With this in mind, can we really expect to be churning out perfectly formed, well rounded, polite and respectful adults in miniature? Of course not, as in adults, all children are different. But we do have a duty to ensure our kids have been taught basic manners and politeness, and to treat others as we would wish to be treated ourselves.

Has there been a fall in standards?

Personally, I would say 90% or more of children I come into contact with are absolutely lovely, but if the media is right, and our kids are displaying a lack of social graces, I can't imagine many parents deliberately set out to let this happen.

So why are parents' taking a battering for supposedly skipping this important part of a child's development? It's often suggested that today's changing work environment is a factor.

Women are now encouraged to return to work ever sooner after giving birth, which works wonderfully for the economy of course, and luckily there are some incredible childcarers out there to take up the reins for us when it comes to instilling those good manners. But it's a catch 22 situation for parents who strive to give the best in one way, yet struggle to find time to spend on such things themselves.

I suppose it all comes down to striking that elusive work/life balance, but as long as they are being taught basic manners at home, our kids should turn out fine.

What do kids think are good manners?

When I asked my daughter what she considered to be 'good manners', her answer was pretty typical for a seven year old: "You say please and thank you, share with your friends and help your mum".

At least she's mastered the basics. Now to stop her slamming shop doors in my face!

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

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