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Teaching Children Good Manners

By Mei Yee

Pier Forni, a professor at John Hopkins, once said, “The rules of good manners are the traffic lights. They make it so that we don’t crash into one another in everyday behavior.”

I will admit my children do not always have good manners, and I don’t always have the best manners, so we need to lead by example. I have taught them to have good manners, but as I said, it doesn’t always come out that way.

Sometimes an “I WANT IT NOW” gets them a response of “excuse me.” Then it is like a staring war; either they get it or the “I WANT IT NOW” comes back out. This is when I say, “And what do you say?” Now, if they say please in an angry or sarcastic tone, I do sit down with them and ask, “Is that how you ask for something?” Until they calmly say please, we sit there staring at each other. Then I tell them, “Thank you for calmly asking.”

I am big on being sensitive to others' feelings, so after the example above, I explain to my children (calmly) that I do not appreciate being yelled at and how it hurts my feelings. So, then this way, it can start coming naturally to them because they know how it will make me feel.


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