Manners and right conduct for kids – Part 3 #PetPeeveStories

Table manners tell us a lot about how kids are raised. Nothing speaks more of an individual than proper table manners. Cultural differences may serve as minor excuses for a little variation or two, nevertheless, there are general rules for table manners in children that we need to teach and remind them of (and I guess that’s true for adults as well):

Washing hands before and after eating. Proper hygiene is important in children because most of them come from playing and touching dirty objects. It reminds them that cleanliness is next to Godliness.

Chewing, talking and swallowing are three movements that cannot be done simultaneously. Even when it CAN, this is not a “Got Talent” show! Spit flies, words are not understandable and the child can choke on his food.

Table manners include manners on how to use those utensils and other paraphernalia properly. Use the right utensils when eating. If there are chopsticks in a restaurant and the child does not know how to use one, ask the server for spoon and fork. The restaurant IS NOT the appropriate place to teach and learn how to use chopsticks. It just makes a mess all over the table and believe me when I say that the sushi flies!

Sound effects are not part of eating. No slurping of food please. Use the napkin (which you must always ask for) and wipe your mouth for any dribble of food.

And finally, don’t forget to say thank you and please. Please pass the salt. Please reach me the fork. Thank you for a lovely meal. Thank you for cooking for us. Please, may I have seconds? Please and thank you are words that make mealtime an appreciative one.

Manners and right conduct for kids – Part 2 #PetPeeveStories

To continue from yesterday’s blog post on manners and right conduct for children, we will tackle appropriate etiquette on how kids should deal with adults and other children (and friends).

Part 2 – With adults and other children

Dealing with adults involves a learning curve. As Filipinos, we teach the kids to say “po” as a sign of courtesy and respect to our elderly.

When talking to adults (or other kids), remind them to look at people in the eyes. It’s a sign of proper communication and respect. And being able to tell the truth.

Don’t interrupt when people are talking. I remember my teacher in college algebra telling us that “when you are talking and I am talking at the same time, one of us is bastos (rude). I’d rather you be rude than me.”

Don’t use foul language. It’s important that those swear words are used sparingly. They’re signs of being raised by barbarians.

When you’re with other children, it’s important to remember that patience is a virtue. Wait for your turn. Falling in line is a sign of discipline. There’s an experiment that was done in children that showed kids who were more patient were highly correlated with discipline.

Never make fun of anyone. Bullies are made, not born. When your friends abuse other people, it’s not okay. And it doesn’t matter that it’s not okay to be cool. Being cool by hurting others is never okay.

Using kind words and giving compliments among other children are reflective of the kind of family they come from. And these compliments must be truthful and come from the heart.

They say that what a child says is more often than not the truth. They blurt out what they mean. And mean what they say. We just need to teach them what is appropriate and what is not.

Rowdiness is a reflection of the kind of breeding we have. And it’s not okay.

Manners and right conduct for kids – Part 1 #PetPeeveStories

Children are usually a bundle of joy and laughter. Some are also the devil’s advocate. And I’m sure you’ll agree with me that kids today (and the youth in particular) lack a lot of basic public etiquette.

Good manners and right conduct seem to have been thrown out of the window because guardians and parents spend less time with their children. They’re usually left to an electronic baby sitter or a nanny who wouldn’t care less (or is totally clueless) when it comes to child rearing.

Whatever the reason, a rude child is the making of a rude adult. An ill-mannered individual is not born. They are made. So before we all go ranting with anger on why so on and so forth are uncivilised people, they have a past. And it begins during their childhood years.

I will divide the blog into three parts (otherwise it gets to be too long):

1. Manners in general

2. With adults and other children

3. And at the dinner table

And you may have other thoughts you wish to share (so feel free to leave a comment). This is being written, as a gentle reminder on how to raise our children properly. Remember- we reap what we sow!

Part 1 – The General Rules

1. Always say thank you and please. Gratitude expressed is always appreciated. Most especially from someone you expect to hear the “thank you” from. Brighten up someone’s day – don’t forget to say please and thank you. Always.

2. Say hello and goodbye. At the clinic, I greet each of my little (and older) patients with Hello and close the consultation with a Goodbye. It’s always good manners to teach children proper greeting manners as well. Just to make sure that they’re not a robot.

3. Holding the door open for people is a nice gesture. When kids see adults running towards the open door and slamming it against other people, they think that it’s an appropriate behavior. Exiting and entering are manners should be taught. Reminder – allow people to exit first before entering. Rule of thumb is OUT before IN!

4. Kids intelligence should not be underestimated. Remember, they hear, see, feel, taste and smell what we do. Those sneaky things that we do under their very nose which they see and hear. Or those bad habits we have like being late or screaming at one another at the dinner table or whispering about bad secrets which they overhear.

5. Manners are important. Sitting properly. Cleaning up after making a mess. Covering your mouth when you sneeze. Saying “excuse me” when you need to interrupt a conversation. Saying sorry when you bump into someone accidentally. Learning how to answer the phone properly. Manners matter.

Raising a child should be based on our standards. Not theirs. And the kind of child you raise is a reflection of our child rearing.