Counselor’s Corner - Understanding Manners
This week, Ms. Divina Ancheta, our Behavior Interventionist, shares methods for parents to encourage your child to learn manners.
I grew up with parents who used methods that many would find authoritative, where they instilled the importance of manners in me. The most common words at home were “Please” and “Thank you”. I remember my mom was especially keen on having me send a thank you note within days of receiving a gift. It was this thoughtful act that helped me establish my own sense of appreciation. It is a tradition that I practice throughout my adult life and one that I pass on to my own son. I believe that good manners are necessary for people to live together harmoniously.
Pier Forni, a professor at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland said he thinks of manners as traffic lights for life. They transform a world full of cars into an organized structure that helps all arrive at their destination. Forni explains, “the rules of good manners are the traffic lights of human interaction. They make it so we don’t crash into one another in everyday behavior.”
Here are 7 ways on how to keep on encouraging your child to learn manners at home. These few steps will help your child get on the right track and help them stand out and shine.
- Lead by example: Say please when you ask your child to do something for you. Let your child hear you use manner words, like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, frequently. This way they will learn to model your manners. Address your child politely and they will eventually catch onto the idea of polite talk.
- Let them wait their turn: The root of good manners is to respect others. Being assertive is an excellent trait but it shouldn’t override politeness and good manners. Your child needs to learn to wait their turn to speak and not interrupt when others are speaking.
- Show them how to accept compliments: Teach your child to accept compliments politely, by saying thank you at the appropriate time.
- Explain how sensitivity is part of being respectful: Good manners reflect a loving and considerate personality.
- Acknowledge the use of good manners: This will help your child understand that they have values and help them to see that they are socially aware.
- Emphasize that manners should come naturally: Don’t force the use of manners. By making it part and parcel of your daily life it should come naturally, although a reminder may be needed from time to time.
- Create an environment where good manners are expected: Raise your child in an environment that expects good manners by teaching them to respect the views of others. Also remember that you, as a parent, also deserve respect. Your child should also understand that they should treat authority figures with respect even if they don’t agree with them.
As adults, we must be what we want our child or students to be. If we want them to be respectful, kind and have good manners, then WE must be respectful, kind and have good manners ourselves. The children watch and mimic us behaving this way.