“Say thank you,” “Sit up straight,” “Shake hands,” “Say please”…Most of us heard phrases like this as we grew up, because our parents were teaching us manners. Many of us do the same thing with our children. But why do we bother? What is so important about teaching manners, anyway?
For one thing, having good manners meet a social expectation – kids are expected to have good manners, and they and their parents earn more respect when they do. Another thing to consider is the role good manners play in your children’s future.
What Manners Do
At the heart of good manners is a respect for oneself and others. Good manners convey a sense of respect for the sensibilities of other people. When you say “thank you,” you’re taking the time to make the other person feel appreciated. Saying “please” respects a person’s right not to do what you’ve asked (it’s not so demanding with a “please” attached).
Good manners also show that a child listens to his parents and does what he is taught – these are good character traits that teachers and other authority figures appreciate. Manners convey quite a bit of information!
Manners and the Future
You do your children such a big favor when you teach them good manners. From bosses to girlfriends, good manners can make or break an opportunity. For instance, if your child is up for his first job and his credentials match another candidate’s, the more polite and mannerly candidate may end up with the job.
If your child wants to ask a particular girl out, she may refuse a relationship if your child has bad manners. Even before those adult scenarios, your younger child may find that good manners go a long way in endearing himself to teachers, coaches, and peers.
Simply put, your child may be more successful in life in general if he has good manners.
The Big Picture
It’s not just your child’s future that is affected by her manners; it’s her parents’ reputation and, ultimately, the civility of the culture and society in which we live. While no one is perfect, imagine a culture where good manners just don’t exist – not a pleasant thought! Good manners set a standard of behavior against which other behavior can be measured, which helps keep order and civility in society.
So it would seem that teaching your kids good manners has significant implications. It’s worth noting, too, that good manners modeled in the home can go a long way toward teaching them. In other words, rather than nagging about manners, just do them – then your kids learn that good manners are “just the way it’s done.”