My greatest accomplishments are my children. As a mother of two boys, it brings me much joy when others tell me that my children are well-behaved and well-mannered. Yes! Our hard work as parents has paid off in some respect.
For some, it is easier said than done. Thankfully, even though it can be difficult, it isn’t impossible. Facing it head on sooner rather than later is key, these five tips have helped us along the way.
1. Be a Mannerly Parent
Unfortunately, even adults don’t exhibit good manners all the time– one may be prompted to use a colorful response when getting cut off in traffic or even when losing their cool with a whining toddler. You’re human and it’s bound to happen a time or two! However, children are always watching and listening to what we as adults do and say. It is important that as parents we set the tone and model manners.
You can consider it a form of show-and-tell. It is particularly important to treat people– including your children (toddler and up)– with dignity and respect. Respect goes a long way!
2. Magic Words
As early and as frequently, use the two simplest, yet powerful words– “please” and “thank you”. A good place to start is modeling this behavior at the dinner table. This, in turn, will allow your child to learn table manners, conversational skills, and parental values.
Give your children credit, when credit is due! When your child demonstrates good behavior praise them for it. When a child doesn’t need to be reminded, giving high praise and making a big deal about it encourages the behavior.
Speaking about the accomplishment to others makes the praise a lot more powerful when it’s overheard indirectly by the child. The power lies in the praise!
Be consistent when you direct and correct manners. Maintain a loving and respectable approach. Establish a routine and stick to it! Offer praise when a milestone is reached and follow through with consequences. As a result, they are sure to think before they act!
5. Listen to your children
Sometimes the unexplainable behaviors are simply due to the fact that they just want to be heard. Leave the lines of communication open and listen to what your child has to say. You will be surprised how insightful and logical they can be (from a child’s standpoint of course). It’s not uncommon for children to be stubborn if they can’t get their way. Every child wants to feel like they matter.
At the end of the day, there will be plenty of times you’ll want to throw in the towel, pull out your hair, lose your patience or even want to run away for a few hours. Just know, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As long as you keep in mind that your goal is to raise good human beings with a sense of respect for self and others, you are pretty much heading in the right direction.