Monday, July 23, 2012

Children and Manners--Some Tips

We had my daughter's sixth birthday party yesterday.  It was a fun time and the 11 children were mostly well-behaved with a couple exceptions.  I typically will try to redirect misbehavior, but sometimes, you just have to hit it head on.  I hate to have to scold a child, but I had to yesterday.  As we were gathered around the table to eat cake, one of the 8 year old boys started talking about "poop."  He was yelling about poop this and poop that, commanding the attention of all the other children.  I had to scold him and tell him that we don't talk about things like that at birthday parties.  

Don't get me wrong--I know kids like to talk and laugh about things like this, however, at 8 years old, I think that children are able to know when talk like that is not appropriate.  Which brings me to my next point.  How do we, as parents, ensure that it is not our child acting inappropriately?

No matter what we do, there is no sure-fire guarantee that they will act appropriately when we are not around, but I do have some tips that can help.
  1. Be an example at home and on the go.  Let your child see you act appropriately, using your manners.
  2. Talk to your child about appropriate behaviors.  When you see someone acting inappropriately in public, point out the person's behavior and discuss why it is inappropriate.
  3. Establish rules about appropriate behavior in your home, at the dinner table, etc.
  4. Teach your child what is appropriate behavior when at a friend's house, at a party, etc.  I remind my children that it is not okay to do certain things even if their friend is doing it.
  5. Before dropping your child off at a friend's house, for a party or anywhere, review with your children what is appropriate behavior.  Let them know you expect them to behave kindly, use their manners, not be loud or rude and not discuss certain topics, REGARDLESS of if others are doing it.  I had to put regardless, because it is easy for children to think it is okay if others are doing it first.
As with anything with children, discussions about appropriate behavior are not one-time events.  Remind them over and over what your expectations for behavior are.  Eventually, they may stick!

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