Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Manners - to teach or not to teach that is the questions

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Manners - to teach or not to teach that is the questions

    So I am curious how others feel about children and manners.

    How do you help your child with manners, do you find others criticize you for not reminding your child, what age do you see your child express these feelings themselves?

  • #2
    if manners are important to you, then the best way is by modeling. so, i tell my children please and thank you all the time, but never require it. what i do expect is a kind tone. i do not accept "get me some water!". so i reply w/"could you please find a nicer way to ask me?" or i say "may i please have some water?" while getting them the water. then i do not care if they use "magic words", but am happy w/"can i have some water?" however, i do not require that they use kinds words in order to get what they need. i don't believe in being mean back to my children. if they refuse to use a kind tone, i still get the water, b/c i want my children to be kind to others regardless of how they are being treated. make sense?

    i find that now, my 4 yr. old uses "please" and "thank you" quite often, but again, the tone is more important to me than the actual words.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with PP to an extent. I believe tone is more important than words, however, I do not feel that anyone should go out of their way to be nice to someone who is blatantly disrespectful. While I realize this may be a religious perspective for some, I don't subscribe to it. I'm not necessarily saying that they should be mean to those who are mean but I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to do favors for someone who was disrespectful to me and I don't expect anyone else to do so either.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mama_in_PA View Post
        I agree with PP to an extent. I believe tone is more important than words, however, I do not feel that anyone should go out of their way to be nice to someone who is blatantly disrespectful. While I realize this may be a religious perspective for some, I don't subscribe to it. I'm not necessarily saying that they should be mean to those who are mean but I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to do favors for someone who was disrespectful to me and I don't expect anyone else to do so either.
        i wouldn't consider getting my son some water "going out of my way". i just try not to behave in ways that are contingent upon other's actions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ditto PaxMamma - I model it. My son is 6.5 and although he has some social deficiencies (for lack of a better word) he has picked up from the modeling and is quite a polite kiddo.

          Comment


          • #6
            "i just try not to behave in ways that are contingent upon other's actions."

            I couldn't agree more!

            We believe leading by example is the best route also. Modeling the behavior we hope to pass on to our child(s) so it can become an authentic part of who they are. I know I learn best and put a greater value on things that I have decided on myself, rather than someone telling me how to feel, or act, or what to say.

            I feel if I tell my child "say thank you", then they are just saying it for me and not truly meaning it. I respect my childs own way of expressing gratitude (and their own feelings) like a hug or drawing a card. Just like telling my child to say sorry, instead I say "I'm sorry that happened", and hope my child follows suite. Usually 9 times out of 10 my child finds some sort of genuine way to express their sorrow; like bringing the other child a toy, offering a hug, sharing a new toy or holding the other childs hand.

            Comment


            • #7
              When my DC yell, "Bring me a drink of water!" in a rude and hurtful way then I explain that it hurts my feelings when they are mean to me. I don't feel like being nice to someone who hurts my feelings. This way I'm showing them how to express themselves as well as explaining that being mean is not the way to get what they want. If they continue to be mean then they can either get their own or do without. After all, I'm human too and just as deserving of respect as they are. Now if they're angry and being mean out of emotion then that's entirely different. We find out why, empathize and try to find ways to express our feelings more constructively so that we don't hurt the people we love.

              Comment


              • #8
                I wanted to share an article written by an amazing author,
                Naomi Aldort, called "How Children Learn Manners", http://www.naomialdort.com:

                "Our son Yonatan came home last Christmas from the theater and related an observation. On the way from the theater to the lobby he noticed that parents were instructing the children to ask the Santa Claus for candy with a "please", and after getting the treat say "thank you". Yonatan went to the lobby and was surprised and puzzled. He found that the children indeed said "please" and "thank you", but that their parents came along and took their own treats, saying nothing.

                "The parents of these parents must have told them to say 'please' and 'thank you', yet they didn't seem to learn it." He said. "Do you think these children are also going to stop saying "thank you" when they grow up?"

                What do we expect a child to learn when we tell him: "Say thank you to your friend"? Most parents believe that the child will learn to be grateful, and to express her sense of gratitude. But do children learn these things by being told to do them? How did we feel as children when told to say "thank you"? When did we really develop a sincere sense of gratitude? Did saying "thank you" before we had the feeling to match the words make us grateful? Or did we develop a sense of gratitude later on in no regard to those instructions? Is it possible that some of us feel resentful when needing to thank someone, share, or apologize, because as children we hated doing these things?

                Maybe we are dealing with our inability to trust. Is it possible that gratitude is not likely to be felt by a child or at least not in the way adults feel and express it? Could it be that when childhood needs are fully satisfied, gratitude will naturally develop? Perhaps we need to allow children to observe gratitude, generosity and kindness, rather then teach these behaviors to them.

                What do they learn by being told

                If telling a child to say "thank you" (and other manner words and actions) does not teach her/him to authentically feel and express gratitude - what does it teach?

                A few possible things:

                1. The child learns that telling others what to say or do is "good manners". The content of the "talk" is practically lost, as the child is mostly aware of the fact that someone is telling her what to do.

                2. A less obvious message is the one: "I cannot trust myself to know what to say or do; I should rely on adults (authority) and obey instruction" (dependency, being a follower).

                3. Linked to the previous one is "I cannot know on my own what to say or do, therefore I am not good enough" (low self-esteem and feeling inadequate and incapable).

                4. A similar feeling of inadequacy can spring out of self-doubt: "Why don't I feel like saying 'thank you'? Something must be wrong with me".

                5. A child learns to be phony and even simply to lie: "I don't really feel like saying anything, (sharing, helping...), I guess I am supposed to lie, pretend, or put on a show that does not reflect my real inner experience".

                6. The child learns to hate sharing or saying "please" and "thank you", as his formative memory of doing so is that of resentment, being controlled, and being unreal. In doing something while not wanting to do it, he is learning to hate the expression of being grateful (sharing etc.) and the natural authentic development of his manners can be delayed.

                Our Expectations

                One aspect of manners that we hurry to teach is responding to an adult's (disrespectful) inquiry about name and age: "Tell the woman how old you are, Johnny" is an instruction we give when we feel embarrassed for our child's lack of responsiveness. One of my three children never responded to the probing of adults until well after he was 7. In every such interaction I was on his side, defending his need. I would say to the inquirer: "He doesn't seem to want to talk to you" and smile, adding: "I can talk to you if you wish". In later years I found out by asking, that Lennon became interested in sharing information about himself, but wanted me to speak for him. I then started to handle those circumstances differently. I would turn to Lennon and ask: "Do you wish that I would tell Earl about you?" Sometimes he would want it, others times he wouldn't, and I simply followed his request. Lennon now feels comfortable and confident enough to respond to most people's questions, or - more rarely now - to say that he doesn't want to. His choices are clearly related to the person's authenticity. He is allergic to phony talk.

                As a mother I have discovered that my child's manners are not about me impressing anyone. My child deserves my full respect to be at the stage of awareness, confidence, and of acquisition of manners that he is. It is not easy to feel comfortable when our child doesn't fit society's expectations - but knowing that these very expectations don't fit the child, helps me remember whose well-being I stand for. Maybe we are still dependent on the approval of others as we were in our childhood, when we were told to say "thank you" and did so just to please our parents. We need to build our own self-esteem, so we are less dependent on approval of our children's ways of being for enhancing our feelings of self-worth.

                Making a good impression on friends, relatives, or strangers, becomes clearly unimportant next to the welfare of my child. Yet, I can still impress these friends and relatives. What I will impress them with, is not my compliance to their standards of behavior with children. Instead I will demonstrate to them my respect to my child, and my strength in following my own heart and my child's needs.

                How then will they learn manners?

                How then will a child learn social manners? Can we trust the child to develop and mature in her own time, the way we trusted her to learn to walk and to talk? Why are we in a rush to have children behave like adults before they are adults?

                When lovingly and respectfully treated, children will learn manners on their own simply because they want to live happily in this society. We can ensure this development by the following three approaches:

                1. To "teach" a child to be grateful, express your gratitude for her contribution to your life: "It is such a joy to spend the afternoon with you". It is how you treat your child that teaches her how to be. Telling a child what to say is not respectful. It is not the kind of manners you want her to learn. Thanking her for her help and being kind and generous toward her are really at the heart of your teaching tools.

                2. We can provide examples in our interactions with others by expressing gratitude, sharing generously, and treating others kindly. Our children will assimilate what they see, hear and experience around them.

                3. For your child to learn manners with pleasure, and enjoy behaving in pleasing ways, she needs to see you enjoying yourself through these expressions. She needs to see you being real, authentic, and fully present when you express gratitude and treat people kindly.

                4. We can provide ample freedom and opportunity to express painful feelings. Children, like adults, can best experience kind and giving feelings when they are not preoccupied with upsetting experiences. When a child tells me "I hate my sister", I validate his feelings and accept his emotional outburst - only then he can be free to love his sister. If hurtful and angry feelings are numbed, the loving and kind ones fall asleep with them. It's a package deal.

                I find gratefulness to be a great tool for positive awareness, and the heart of manners. We can demonstrate it all through the day. I often say things like: I am so happy to have this wonderful house. I love this community. We are so lucky to live here. I am so grateful that Bach was born before me so I can enjoy his incredible music. I am amazed and thankful to be alive....have eyes, ears....and so on. Being grateful, sensitive and kind is not a lecture - but a demonstration.

                Children become what they absorb around them. Be what you want them to become, and treat them the way you wish them to learn to be with others.

                Maybe what we need is to develop our own manners of respect toward our children. It is not easy, but very simple: Children develop adult manners by the time they are adults."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by apimarianne View Post
                  5. A child learns to be phony and even simply to lie: "I don't really feel like saying anything, (sharing, helping...), I guess I am supposed to lie, pretend, or put on a show that does not reflect my real inner experience".
                  thank you for sharing this amazing article! #5 is the biggest reason why i don't require manners: sorry, thank you, etc., b/c i never want my children to tell me something they don't mean. i hate empty apologies. i don't make them, i don't accept them.

                  and i LOVE the attitude of gratefulness she talks about. i really need to do this out loud more.

                  wow, thanks again!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by apimarianne View Post
                    I wanted to share an article written by an amazing author,
                    Naomi Aldort, called "How Children Learn Manners", http://www.naomialdort.com:
                    Thank you for posting this!
                    Originally posted by apimarianne View Post

                    In later years I found out by asking, that Lennon became interested in sharing information about himself, but wanted me to speak for him. I then started to handle those circumstances differently. I would turn to Lennon and ask: "Do you wish that I would tell Earl about you?" Sometimes he would want it, others times he wouldn't, and I simply followed his request.
                    This is what we do with my daughter who is exactly like this with people.

                    I also agree with tone and modeling.
                    I too say can you ask me in a different manner if I get a different tone.

                    We are their caregivers and caretakers.
                    The children are still just children and 5-9 years old, at that age are still just very much new to this world and learning.
                    It is a constant, the learning process, and to shake off culture and society's *do it this way* is not easy.

                    Thank goodness we have API Support Groups available to support parents.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mama_in_PA View Post
                      When my DC yell, "Bring me a drink of water!" in a rude and hurtful way then I explain that it hurts my feelings when they are mean to me. I don't feel like being nice to someone who hurts my feelings. This way I'm showing them how to express themselves as well as explaining that being mean is not the way to get what they want. If they continue to be mean then they can either get their own or do without. After all, I'm human too and just as deserving of respect as they are. Now if they're angry and being mean out of emotion then that's entirely different. We find out why, empathize and try to find ways to express our feelings more constructively so that we don't hurt the people we love.
                      Mama in PA, I think it is really important to be sure as parents we do express our needs and feelings, absolutely, so we can raise empathic, compassionate children. One way that helped me voice my needs as well as see what underlying need my child, spouse, co-leader, neighbor might have is NonViolent Communications, NVC, http://www.cnvc.org/. NVC guides us to reframe how we express ourselves, how we hear others and resolve conflicts by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, needing, and requesting.

                      Here, on this forum, our book club is reading Respectful Parents Respectful Kids and the authors will be moderating the discussions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have five children ranging from newborn to 11 years old. If there's one thing I've learned it's that there is no single parenting style that applies to all children, all parents or all circumstances. I have read many parenting books and have not found a single one that worked with all of my children at all times on every level. For those of you who were fortunate enough to bear children who fit into these guidelines, I imagine your homes are peaceful and wrought with sunshine, rainbows and pots of gold. However, my home is a whirlwind of chaos because, without getting into too much detail, my step-children have a different set of rules everywhere they go (their mother is mainstream and loves her career more than her children). My biological children have a difficult time dealing with the on and off of this chaos as well. I love my children as much as any mother could and I have explored a vast plethora of suggestions on parenting. In this cyclone of confusion I've come to two conclusions: I will be respected in my home and my children will be respected in their home. Everything else is a crap-shoot.

                        I have read a lot on gentle discipline and agree with many of the points therein but, like any model, there are points which do not work for us because of our unique situation. My point is that I've been flamed here and in other areas on this forum because I don't biblically follow any single parenting trend (I'm non-mainstream after all). That said, I believe I will discontinue any further discussions on this board since it seems my contributions are less than valued.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I agree completely, there isn't a one size fits all approach to parenting. I have done much of what you have done, read many books and taken bits of what works for me and leave the rest. Each of my children are unique in their needs and personalities and what works for one does not work for the other. Also, what works for one time in their life, may not work for the next.

                          It must be difficult feeling like your home, your sanctuary is in chaos, that must be an overwhelming, defeating and frustrating feeling. Combing families cannot be an easy job.

                          I am sorry that you feel you have been flamed here or on any other board. I am thankful you are here. Everyone deserves to be heard.

                          API values each family's unique situation and hopes to offer an assortment of options (a toolbox of sorts) to choose from. API also believes that there isn't a one size fits all parenting approach.

                          I hope you will return and find this a place of support.

                          Happy mothering,

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I love the idea of modeling the behavior for your children. When ever my DS would hand me a toy or any object for that matter I would say thank you. And so at 14 mo when I would hand him something he started saying thank you, that was his first word besides mama and dada. And now when he says thank you I always say your welcome and just like me if I tell him thank you she says welcome. Its so cute so see a little guy his age say things like this and really mean it and want to say it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mama_in_PA View Post
                              My point is that I've been flamed here and in other areas on this forum because I don't biblically follow any single parenting trend (I'm non-mainstream after all). That said, I believe I will discontinue any further discussions on this board since it seems my contributions are less than valued.
                              Hi Mama in PA,

                              I understand that you feel very passionately about your children and you've been an active member of this forum since it started. In reading through the posts here and in other places on the board, I don't see anyone flaming you. I do see some healthy conversation occurring and some disagreements but as in all things in life, disagreements are bound to happen.

                              I don't think anyone was specifically trying to hurt your feelings or make you feel as though you shouldn't post here and I'm sorry that those feelings have come up. I would like to ask you to reconsider your decision and continue on as an active member of the forum.

                              The goal of the API forums is to offer support and advice for parents based on The Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting. As that is the goal, moderators and other forum members will offer input based on how a certain situation can be handled within the framework of the Principles as opposed to parenting in general.

                              If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me.

                              Warmly,

                              Melissa

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X