HOW TO BEHAVE HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE: The Very Best Way to Begin and End Your Day!

Would it not be more refined and honest to live a little better everyday and make less a parade before company"
Eliza Farrar (1834)

I received an email last week from a reader who wanted my opinion on an etiquette matter concerning her children and since I have found this situation to be quite common, I thought I would share it with you (with her permission, of course-thanks L.R.!).

Her family had visited with some elderly relatives of hers and when they were getting ready to leave, her children (ages 4, 7 and 9) put their coats and shoes on and quickly ran out the door, without saying good-bye to their hosts. She said that she "could see looks of disapproval on my aunts faces but since I was a little embarrassed about it, I casually excused my children's behaviour by saying "oh, you know how kids are" and quickly said my good-byes". On the way home, she tried to speak to her kids about it but felt that she wasn't getting anywhere. She mentioned that she had also noticed since then, that she had to remind her children to greet others with a hello, otherwise they wouldn't acknowledge the presence of other people around them. She asked what the best way would be to address this with her children and how she could go about correcting this behaviour.

While we always want our children to be on their best behaviour when we are out visiting with others, we should start by looking at their behaviour at home first. I asked her if her family makes a habit of saying 'good morning' and 'good night' to each other, of greeting each other when they are coming into the home or on their way out. She responded that she had never really thought about it but that it wasn't something that they did on a regular basis. I explained that since it had never been made a habit to greet one another in their own home, how could her children know the difference between proper and unacceptable behaviour when they were out in the world. If your children are used to saying hello and goodbye to each other as they enter or leave your home, it will be second nature for them to do the same in someone elses home.
It is our responsibility as parents to lead and teach good manners by example. Explain what it is you expect of them when it comes to greeting others, that it is impolite to not say hello upon encountering someone or say goodbye when you or they are leaving. Then practice what you preach diligently in your own home. Greet your children with a warm 'good morning' when you are waking them or when they come down for breakfast. Make a habit of saying a pleasant 'good night' instead of barking for them to go to bed (I know, I know, easier said than done!). Greet your children (and don't forget your spouse) as they run out for school or work and on their way back home from an activity or shopping.
Children are like little sponges, they pick up and mimic parental behaviour. Accidentally use a four-letter word in front of them, and little Bobby will be sharing his new 'word' with anyone and everyone he comes across in a matter of minutes. The same goes for teaching your children politeness and common courtesy towards others.  Our best behaviour should not be reserved only for who we encounter outside of our front door, but also for the ones we love and cherish inside those four walls we call home sweet home!

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree honey! I can't say enough thanks for the too kind comments you left on my blog today. I appreciate the feedback more than you know. I truly am thankful for all the joy my blog and other bloggers like you are bringing me. Have a great day sweetie! Kori xoxo