Teaching Manners: why manners matter.

How important are manners in your home? And, the greater question might be, what do you define as manners? . Manners come from our social surroundings and dictate the smallest of behaviors. They pertain to the way we eat, talk, relate, play, and behave in culture. Usually the stem from our culturally accepted norms. The manners in our culture may be different from another part of the world. I teach my children that they are expected to use manners as a show of respect to the people around them.

This might be a bit deep for such a simple topic but, I think, that the loss of respect for one another is tied into the loss of manners amongst children and teenagers. Teaching children the importance of manners as a contributing member of society must come along side teaching them respect for one another.

For this reason, my children are expected to use manners at all times. We eat nicely. We close our mouths when there is food in them. Most of the time.  We don’t fart or burp… at the table.  And so, when one of my angelic children fake burped at the other, while at the supper table, consequences needed to come. Oh yeah, but it gets better. The other (that would be my smart, 13 year old, daughter Katie) showed him up.

With the real burp. Loudly. At MY dinner table. Huh? Sometimes I think they were replaced with alien beings. So, their punishment…

To sit on the naughty step until they could properly burp three times. Of course, we had to utilize both steps of stairs because there was two of them. And Katie thought it was ridiculous.  And hard. Levi couldn’t do it at all. He sat and sat.
Finally, Katie had 1…then 2…and 3!

Levi was still sitting with a big fat zero. Zero burps means he still does the time.

They had a moment of unity when Katie donated her time and air for the sake of her less fortunate brother, so she was able to earn his freedom.

I must say that I was in a fit of giggles. I am not sure if this was altogether the proper way to go about teaching manners to my children. But I wanted them to remember what can happen when they are rude.  I wanted them to be inconvenienced and not to forget what the punishment was for. They needed to be sure to use rudeness ONLY when they wanted to pay the consequences. It was a bit silly, sure. Yet being stern and strict doesn’t quite fit the crime, I didn’t think. However, in my home there is absolutely no room for forgetting manners.

I can’t stress enough how important I think it is for parents to be parents, not friends. Your children need you to help them become contributing members of the world that can relate and interact well with others. Try your best to match punishments with the crime and you will be surprised at the results!

What are some punishments you have used or heard about for small infractions against proper manners?


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