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  • Emily Post 101 – Sign Your Kids Up

    November 3, 2008

    I think I’m a fairly relaxed parent, but I have a zero-tolerance policy for bad manners.  

    This may be a bit of an overstatement, maybe not, but I tend to think that at the root of our societal ills is the fact that our society is too casual, too relaxed and good manners are not important any more.  It is my top priority in life to teach Sean to respect others and how to behave properly and so consequently he gets away with nothing in that regard. And honestly, it has been a lot of hard work these past five years to stay on his case with the please and thank you’s and beyond, but I am relentless. 

    I think the idea that children should be taught good manners crystallized for me about 15 years ago.  Back in 1994, my friend Patty was expecting her first baby.  As is the custom, I went to Toys R Us to buy her a baby gift.  I was nearly a decade away from becoming a mother at that time, so I knew a lot about how parenting should be done properly. 

    After I selected my gift, I stood in line behind a young gal with a little boy who was sitting in the seat of the cart. He was probably three years old.  He had a toy in his hands that obviously had come from the store. 

    So I was standing there minding my own business, waiting my turn to check out, when Bubba spit at me. 

    I stepped back quickly, dodged the incoming loogie and in my firm voice used primarily for getting the attention of my disobedient dog, I reflexively said, “Hey Buddy! DON’T you spit at me!” 

    It was a knee-jerk reaction, but in retrospect, it was inappropriate to direct my comment towards the child.  But 15 years later, I’m still not quite sure what the appropriate response is when spat upon.  Also in retrospect, I can’t quite see myself tapping the mother on the shoulder to inform her little Bubba had just tried to spit on me.  That just has confrontation written all over it and if ever there is a place I want to avoid confrontation it is at Toys R Us and church. There are all kinds of rules about correcting other people’s children and now five years into parenting, I still am not clear on what they are. 

    Had there been another check out lane open, I would have probably just moved, but I was stuck. 

    And then he spit at me again. 

    His mother turns to me at this point and she kind of chuckles and says, “Oh his grandpa chews tobacco and I guess he saw him spittin’…” 

    Oddly enough, that bit of information didn’t in any way make me find the scene nearly as amusing as she did, so I raised my eyebrows and looked at her like she was from Mars.  But really I doubt that even the Martians allow their children to spit upon strangers.   And then she turned back to the cashier and proceeded to buy Bubba the toy he had in his grubby little hands.  And I just could not believe it. 

    It was at this point that I raised my eyebrows so high I could have tucked them behind my ears.  Now, granted, at that point in my life, I was not fully aware or even slightly aware of how embarrassed one can be by one’s child.  But still. I knew even then that if MY child ever spat upon someone that I would come down on him hard and fast and apologies would be forthcoming and no way on God’s green earth would we be leaving the store WITH A TOY forPetessake! 

    And while I have eaten many a heapin’ helpin’ of crow in the last five years years, my stance on spitting children has not changed.  I had all kinds of grandiose ideas about child-rearing that have fallen by the wayside, but if anything, my stance on the importance of manners is more deeply rooted than ever.  You might check back with me in another ten years.  

    I’m firm on manners.  All else is subject to change.

    69 Comments »

    1. Shalee says:

      Oh, amen and amen. The thing that most parents don’t get is that when their children consistently have bad manners*, it reflects not so much on the kids, but on the parents. From whom else are those children supposed to learn these life lessons?

      *I’m not talking about the occasional moments of lapse in judgements. Every kid is going to have them. I’m talking about children who are expected to behave poorly and when you hear that you have them in your Sunday school class, you roll your eyes and remind yourself that God loves everyone over and over again until you actually start to believe it. And then you pray for patience and wisdom so that you can be a positive influence on the child’s life.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 8:14 am

    2. Jeanne A says:

      Sadly, I thought I did a good job of manners–‘please’s and ‘thank you’s. Now that they are 16, 17 and 18 ———-it’s often hard to see it.

      I guess I’ll just have to take the word of those other people—girl friend’s mothers, teachers, etc that they are polite and helpful.

      In another 5 years hopefully they will be nicer to their family again. But these years of trying to become independent people——–to distance themselves from the parents.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 8:14 am

    3. Heidi says:

      I am very strict on manners also. When Sean is a teenager, you will be so glad you held firm on this; but you already know that. When ours were little, interrupting adults was a big one for me. Oh,our kids tried it but it never ended well for them. But their little friends got away with it all the time, and I got really tired of halting my conversations so little Suzie-Q could tell her mommy she saw a butterfly.

      It drives me insane to hear parents make excuses for their kids’ bad behavior. Believe me, if they make excuses for their three-year-old, they’ll make excuses for their teenager and then it’s even
      uglier.

      * * * *
      Yes, interrupting — that one has been harder to teach Sean than please and thank you, but he’s getting it. He’s learned to put his hand on my leg if he needs to say something. And that it had better be important. I don’t watch much TV and one reason is because on those panel discussion news shows all they do is shout over one another and I can’t stand it. So uncivilized. ~ AM

      November 3rd, 2008 at 8:15 am

    4. ruth ann says:

      I’ve eaten my share of crow, too. Having kids has changed alot of my opinions about parenting.

      But I’m right there with ya, sista!! Preach it!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 8:37 am

    5. Amy Nathan says:

      Me too, table manners being at the top of the list. We can all fall by the wayside occasionally – for fun and silliness at dinner – but I want my kids to be able to look human when they eat somewhere else.

      And they do! WHEW!

      Another thing is, the manners are like osmosis at times. You show and you tell and then you add a pinch of prayer.

      Then when they don’t know you’re ’round the corner, and an adult says, “Hello X, how are you?” And my kid replies, “Fine thank you, how are you?” I still do a happy dance.

      Believe me, raising a polite mannered child today is not easy – but it does make you stand out.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 8:39 am

    6. Especially Heather says:

      Amen and Amen. Although I have learned alot having Emma around.. She tells people to shut up to my horror. I quickly apologize and tell her to use nice words.. but she is autistic and there is no easy way to handle autistic children.

      Obviously this boy just lacked good old fashioned parenting….He didnt have an excuse 🙂

      November 3rd, 2008 at 8:40 am

    7. Tonggu Momma says:

      This is a prime example of my momma’s favorite advice — do not judge parents by the actions of their children, but by their reactions to their children. The spitting was quite disgusting, but the lack of an apology and consequences are what makes this so hideously reprehensible.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 8:42 am

    8. happy geek says:

      I am working the manners, I really am, but when I am in public with my 2 and 4 year old you’d rarely know it. My kids have me eating the crow every day. EVERY DAY. But rest assured if they spit on you, they’d not be sitting pretty for long (if you catch my drift).
      But the chances are good that if you were behind us, they might try something like that.

      * * * * *

      All kids misbehave and experiment with rude behavior and test the limits, yes even my precious perfect little boy (wink wink). I just don’t let him get away with it and it sounds like you don’t either. That’s all you can ask. ~ AM

      November 3rd, 2008 at 8:59 am

    9. Pam says:

      I agree with you completely! And am impressed with the restraint that you showed in the checkout line with the clueless mother.

      I’m guilty of drop-i-tis…things tend to “drop” out of my mouth when I least expect it. My response to her probably would have been a disgusted and amazed, “Are you SERIOUS?!?!?!?”. LOL

      November 3rd, 2008 at 9:00 am

    10. Lucy says:

      I’ve said this before, but I just love your posts. This one is so ‘on the mark’. You are doing a great job.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 9:05 am

    11. Tonja says:

      As a mom who has raised three boys, now
      24, 27, 33…manners is one of the most important things they learned from me. Yes Mam and No Mam or Sir…Please, thank-you…stand when someone older enters…give a lady your seat…open the doors for a lady, and most important…speak when spoken to and be ready to give a firm handshake when needed. Manners will always make an impression, and people do NOT forget them. I think you are making a wise decision for your son!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 9:08 am

    12. The Roost says:

      The lack of manners is totally disgusting….it makes me want to spit! Keep teaching them to Sean….;)

      November 3rd, 2008 at 9:32 am

    13. Natalie says:

      I was just thinking how I seem to have failed my children in this regard. Lack of respect and good manners is rampant in my home of 4 kids. And for one child in particular, it seems in her nature to not think before she speaks. I’d love some advice on how to turn this around! We live in the South now, and it’s very much expected around here. (As it should be! It’s why the South is so warm and charming.) Help!

      * * * *
      First of all Natalie, we ALL fail our children one way or another every day, but in my mind the only real failing is if at the end of the day you don’t say to yourself, “Tomorrow I will do better.”

      Having said that, it’s never too late to start “requiring” good manners. Start this very day. Sit your children down and tell them you have something very important to tell them and then explain your new policy and how this will make them better people and it will make people like them better. And then be relentless and provide consequences for infractions and rewards for progress. Tell them EXACTLY what you expect of them and then be their best example. Better late than never, but definitely more challenging than starting earlier. God bless you and good luck! ~ AM

      ~ AM

      November 3rd, 2008 at 9:43 am

    14. ~*~ Jennifer ~*~ says:

      Oh… I agree with you on THIS one!! I even include yes ma’am, no ma’am training in my arsenal! I have my children say “I beg your pardon” and then THEY get the Martian eyebrows from other kids… they have no idea what they are talking about.

      We are losing it – sad to say… but I’m sticking to my guns. Good Manners are a MUST!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 9:51 am

    15. apathy lounge says:

      You’re preachin’ to the choir, sister!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 9:54 am

    16. Tammy Marcelain says:

      This reminds me of a story of when my mother in law had taken my son Derek to Walgreens when he was about 18 months old or so. She was unloading her items onto the counter and behind her she could hear giggles and people were moving back a bit. Same thing happened a couple of seconds later and she turned around and asked Derek (DJ at the time) what was happening, he said, “Hit People,” he had a balloon on a stick and was hitting the people in line behind them with it. I am sure she told him that was not good manners, don’t remember if she bought him the “people hitter” or not. That’s one of our favorite stories that we tell often around our house.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 9:55 am

    17. MJ says:

      Oh wow, completely agree, I just wrote a blog about the same type of experience!
      http://itsnotoverafter30.blogspot.com/2008/10/leashes-arent-just-for-pets.html

      November 3rd, 2008 at 9:56 am

    18. Renee says:

      “There are all kinds of rules about correcting other people’s children and now five years into parenting, I still am not clear on what they are.”

      It takes a village to raise a child, Antique Mommy, especially if it belongs to the village idiot.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 10:04 am

    19. Mandy says:

      OHHHH you are so right on! I am a Southern girl, so I have also taught (and still have to remind them at 10 & 12) my children to say mam and sir. My husband is from Pittsburgh and his family thought that was funny and inappropriate for some reason. His sister even told my children they had better not say mam to her, to which I replied, “They are my children and the consequences will be much worse for them if they don’t.” She never mentioned it again. Now, 12 years later, my in-laws love sir and mam, and have thanked me for “teaching” them (and my children) manners. They now say it just sounds so much more respectful than yeah and naw! So from all of us parents that love good manners, THANK YOU!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 10:04 am

    20. Mrs. Who says:

      You are SO RIGHT! I also think this is a big reason why our society has so many issues. Children who are disrespectful to their teachers and parents hides a much bigger issue about respect for others in general.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 10:05 am

    21. Meg @ SpicyMagnolia says:

      Once again, I’m so glad you wrote this post; I now know I am not alone in this world! And I’m so glad to know that you can be both a relaxed parent and relentless on manners! 🙂 There are plenty of things I don’t know about parenting yet, but one thing I know for sure: I am big on manners! Out of curiosity, does your husband see the importance of manners in the same way you do? Or are there some differences of opinions between the two of you on that subject?

      * * * *
      One of the few things we agree upon is the importance of manners. AD is a stickler for table manners, a bit more so than me. We are both sticklers on the issue of respect for others. ~ AM

      November 3rd, 2008 at 10:15 am

    22. Cheryl says:

      Never, ever quit teaching the importance of courtesy, good manners and respect! My husband and I are sticklers for good manners as well. Our hard work has paid off…we have a 19 year old and an almost 13 year old who are the most polite young men you may ever meet. I know it surprises people though…on Halloween, our youngest attended a party with his friends. When it was time to leave, he shook his friend’s father’s hand and thanked him for inviting him…I thought the guy was going to fall over from shock! HA!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 10:59 am

    23. Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years says:

      Sadly, I think your comment directed to the little spitter was as effect as it was going to be because, let’s face it, parents don’t want to know.

      I’m glad to know there are still young *men* being raised in Texas! 🙂

      November 3rd, 2008 at 11:05 am

    24. Julie at Elisharose says:

      Every now and again I get a glimpse that something is sinking in. And I am so grateful. Exhibit A:

      http://elisharose.blogspot.com/2008/10/little-lady.html

      November 3rd, 2008 at 11:07 am

    25. AmandaG says:

      Don’t have kids yet (pregnant with first) but this is something that is important to both my husband and me. We see kids running around in stores all the time just cutting you off as they fly past you without an ‘excuse me’ or anything. One time I held the door open for a little girl as we were both leaving a building at the same time and she actually thanked me! I was surprised. But most recently I saw the lack of children’s manners at Halloween. A lot of the kids would just walk up to me stick their bags out get their candy, turn around and walk away. Some parents would insist their kids say thank you and others were without parents. Maybe I shouldn’t be saying any of this as I don’t have my own kid.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 11:23 am

    26. Samantha says:

      I completely agree with you about the importance of manners. I would love to hear more about how you enforce this in your home. I’m expecting my first baby any day now (I left you a comment when I first learned I was having a boy and you sent me a lovely response) and although I know I will be laid-back about many things, politeness will not be one of them. There’s nothing more important than speaking to people kindly.

      Great post!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 11:23 am

    27. The voice of melody says:

      I also seem to be unable to find the amusing part in spitting at someone, stranger or not. That’s just too much!

      With a little boy of my own, I’ve also had the experience of being embarrassed in public, especially when he was a toddler. But it was not for spitting or hitting, or that sort of thing. No, it was usually for what would come out of his mouth! Things like “is that man pregnant? Look he has a baby in his belly!”. Then I’d feel like searching for that trap in the floor so I could crawl in.

      🙂

      November 3rd, 2008 at 11:23 am

    28. Leigh says:

      Hooray for you! Before I became an mom myself, I was also an expert on child-rearing and have many times done the Extreme Eyebrow Raise and Glare of Death, to no avail.

      So, then I switched gears. Now, on those rare occasions that I see a well-mannered, well-behaved child, I make a point to go up to the parent(s) and compliment them. Because, hey, it’s hard work and they probably don’t ever get kudos for it!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 11:24 am

    29. ShackelMom says:

      You are doing a great job! I also raised my kids to treat people with respect and have good manners… but I am not from the South, so my kids didn’t say ‘yes ma’am,’ and ‘no sir.’ I am one of those casual barbarians from California, so our cultural standards for good manners are less specific. No spitting at strangers is a given, as is saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you!’ Kindness and gratitude are always in order, as well as greeting people, even if it is just a friendly ‘hi.’

      Some years back we took a trip to the South with our four youngest kids. We would be visiting in churches and staying in homes. I told the kids that I was proud of their courtesy and respectful manners, and if they wanted people in this part of the country to realize they had good manners, they should try to add ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ to their responses, as it is a different culture. They had fun with it, and people were pretty impressed!

      So remember, good manners is courtesy, respect and gratitude, and it doesn’t always look the same wherever you go.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 11:58 am

    30. jean says:

      I love kids who hold doors open, who say please and thank you and I believe that I’ve raised my son to be one of those kids. It isn’t easy and it takes alot of reminding but in the end it has been worth it.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    31. Jeni says:

      Good for you! I definitely think manners are important, and we’re working to train our little 2 year old whirlwind to take the time to be polite.

      One thing that really gets under my skin is kids who show a lack of respect or even scorn for their parents and/or grandparents. Our Girlie may be young, but she knows that she doesn’t say, “NO!” when Mommy or Daddy or Grandma tells her to do something – or wrath will descend from on high and her little heiney will end up sore.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    32. Iota says:

      As an English mom in the US, I really really try to avoid saying “we do this better in England”, but when it comes to manners, I can’t resist it. Children are nagged to say please and thank you the whole time. Table manners are drummed into them. Waiting in line is a national obsession that we expect them to acquire. They are taught conversational skills like not interrupting.

      There’s plenty of things that you do better over here, though. Thought I should just say that. To be polite and well-mannered.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    33. Magi says:

      As one who was raised in the south (now living in the north)and who teaches in a high school, I am a firm believer in manners. My daughter may be only 2 1/2, but she says please, thank you, excuse me, yes/no ma’am/sir. Of course, she still needs prompting, but not as often as I thought she would.

      The sad thing is how many people react to this. Adults ooh and ahh about how polite she is to them. This should not be a rare thing.

      On Friday, when my husband returned with her from trick-or-treating, we were all sitting out front passing out treats. Virtually every child had to be reminded by their parents to say thank you. My husband told me that I’d be proud to know that he didn’t have to prompt our daughter once to say thank you.

      I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, I’m not. I’m lamenting the fact that this is now considered rare or unusual behavior.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    34. Danell says:

      It’s never been a rude, ill-mannered child that has gotten to me so much as the parental response to bad behavior. I mean, kids just DO THINGS sometimes…things that are embarrassing and disgusting. But it’s the reaction from the parent that I’m usually judging. Is mom horrified? Apologizing? Scolding? Well, good. It makes me feel like that kid hasn’t been trying out that particular behavior for very long and chances are, it won’t happen too many more times. (Well, at least with a little luck, too…) But mom laughs it off and REWARDS IT? With a toy? Shame. Shame, shame, shame. Your kid is a brat and I’m not thinking much of you as a mom, either. Criminy, at least TRY to tame your little spitter.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    35. Danell says:

      Gah, I should say that I really DON’T make judgement calls when it comes to parenting, otherwise! Really, I don’t! Like EVER. But something about being SPIT ON kind of does it.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    36. Grace says:

      I’m with you all the way. (Also an Antique Mommy.) Ate many, many of my words (or at least thoughts) which I entertained before having children. But manners were not optional in their training. Stay relentless. It pays. Antique Empty-nester.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    37. Lucy says:

      Good for you I wish more people did the same. Other peoples children are always a problem, just how far can you go. At church on Sunday I grabbed one of the children in our Sunday school during the service, who was running up and down the asle, upseting members of the congregation, and making other children play up. I ordered him to return to his mother, in a very cross voice, and to my surprise he went. I know he has problems, a single parent, and possibly autistic, but if he is allowed to do what he likes, the rest of the children think they can to.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    38. Tam says:

      I came down on my daughter like the proverbial ton of bricks when she spit at me while we were sitting in a restaurant with, of course, my in-laws. My father-in-law chided me for correcting her while in public. I told him (politely!)I will correct my children wherever and whenever they require it. She is now a very polite 9-year-old and the in-laws and her teachers often compliment this. Polite human beings are not born; they are made by parents and other adults who require it and practice it themselves. As a side-note, I have not received any more unsolicited child-rearing advice from the in-laws.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    39. Emily says:

      Amen sister. I’ve too eaten my share of crow, but seriously? She let the kid spit on you? I’d have marched the kid to the bathroom for a royal spanking.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    40. Linda says:

      Oh my! Spit. And mom chuckles?! Wow!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    41. Pam says:

      What DOES Emily Post say about spitting on strangers, I wonder?

      In all seriousness, I’m glad you take a firm stance. Politeness is about more than just behaving well — it’s really a reflection of the value of other people, and the realization that the world doesn’t revolve around ME.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    42. Stretch Mark Mama says:

      I only discipline other people’s children when:

      a) The parents are not around (as in, I’m The Substitute Parent In Charge) AND the deed is nasty enough to be addressed. Manners usually don’t fall in that list. (for other people’s children) But violence to people or things does fall in that list.

      b) The child is in danger, ex., running into the street and the parent doesn’t see it happening

      That’s it. Those are the rules I’ve set up for myself.

      It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when other people discipline my children when *I’m* around. They have no idea of the full situation, what’s gone on already for that day, and why I let something slide at that moment.

      With my own kids, I can discipline on just a few issues at once–otherwise I’d spend the whole day barking. Sometimes we skip on the more mannerly things b/c there are bigger fish to fry. Example – sometimes I have one kid throwing a fit, another one running away from me – – and I can’t always say to the third kid, “Johnny, make sure you sneeze in your elbow and say ‘thank you’ to your teacher and say ‘please’ when you ask me for candy the 876th time today.”

      All that to say…teaching manners is very important, but it doesn’t always rise to the top of the list.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    43. bea says:

      Bub is enthusiastic about all of the formulaic elements of manners – he’s very strong on the please, thank-you, sorry, I forgive you end of things. The problem is that he’s now becoming the manners Nazi – just this weekend a friend of mine dropped a Froot Loop and he sternly lectured her, “You need to say sorry! Now, say sorry!” Rules are one thing, but the idea that grown-ups need to be treated differently from children? Not quite so clear.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    44. Jan says:

      Spitting would NEVER be O.K.! And chew with your mouth closed! Ever seen an adult who chews with their mouth open? It’s pretty disgusting….

      November 3rd, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    45. Vintage Mommy says:

      I don’t think allowing your child to spit on someone even falls into the category of “good manners”, to me it’s just basic civilized behavior and respect for others.

      I’m hardly a “law and order” parent, but I would be appalled if my daughter did that and she would get the message in no uncertain terms.

      How about people who let their children torment pets – their own and others’??

      November 3rd, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    46. WeaselMomma says:

      Your knee jerk reaction was the right one. When a child is offensive in my home, I correct him. It’s my house and my rules. If a child is blatantly rude or disrespectful to me at anytime, he/she will be corrected. Especially if the parent is present and doesn’t do it first. If the parents don’t teach them manners, they have to learn somewhere. I find that people who know me appreciate my doing it. As for strangers….who gives a rip.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    47. Jennifer says:

      I could not agree more. I am the mother of three and I still judge other parents based on how polite their children are. It’s sort of subconscious, but I know I do it.

      I find that someone telling me how polite my children are to be the highest compliment.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    48. Adrian says:

      Ohmygosh! I don’t know what I’d do if a kid acted like that and the mother didn’t do anything or even apologize! I’m pretty even tempered, but I’d still be likely to snap in that situation.

      I think we need a total return to manners from kids on up to adults. People in general are just so RUDE these days.

      I do get frequent comments on how polite and helpful my boys are and I just eat that up! We have worked hard on that one and continue to do so even though two of our boys are grown. Rude parents can’t raise polite children and vice versa.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    49. Moriah (Please Pass the Salt) says:

      I absolutely agree with you – manners ARE important!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    50. Theresa says:

      I have watched (and helped) my daughter work hard with her 7 yr. old on his manners.

      About a year ago, we had the first sign that he really was “getting” it–my mother (his great-grandmother) told him to go get something for her–David just stood there looking at her. Mom told him a second time even louder. He told her, “Granny, I heard you the first time, I was just waiting for “please”!”

      November 3rd, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    51. Fiddledeedee says:

      I’m with you, A.M. This is a pet peeve of mine.

      And you know what else? What happened to kids addressing adults as Mr. So-and-So, or Mrs. So-and-So?

      I still call my childhood best friend’s mom Mrs. Klosterman. And that’s the way it should be.

      Mrs. Fiddle

      November 3rd, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    52. HarryJacksMom says:

      Aren’t these great days in terms of them really internalizing the rules and expectations? Great job, AM! I agree about the spitting….does climbing on others’ tables count, too? Sheesh!

      November 3rd, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    53. Susan says:

      I absolutely could not agree with you more. Sometimes I think my kids must feel they’re being raised in the Cleaver household, but that’s too bad! I am not a supporter of the relaxed manners thing that is suddenly sweeping the country. (Especially California, where we live, I might add.)

      My kids open and hold doors, give up seats to women/elderly, make eye contact, speak clearly so they’re understood, and do all of the usual please and thank you’s.

      I’m not saying they’re perfect, but I refuse to let them fall into this Age of Disrespect that we seem to be living in. I will do my darndest to instill all the good manners I can!

      Stepping off of my soapbox now… (Can you tell you toiuched on a sore subject for me?!)

      November 3rd, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    54. Deanna says:

      Manners certainly aren’t on the top of the list for a lot of people. I have heard SO many times, “Your daughter is so polite!” Well, she’d better be! lol Even my dad was in awe of how respectful my kids are. Huh? From the guy who threatened us with death for not behaving; he expected less? It’s a mystery.

      November 3rd, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    55. Rachel says:

      The worst manners my husband and I see are almost without fail in restaurants. It is unbelievable to me how parents will let their kids run around in nice “sit-down” restaurants, or stand in a booth facing away from their table towards you, or allow a child to have a screaming meltdown and not remove them. I especially hate the “he’s just tired” excuse. ARGH!

      November 4th, 2008 at 12:09 am

    56. Faerylandmom says:

      So I’m not the only one appalled by this so-called letting kids “express” themselves??? Whew. Nice to know… Once, when I had two toddlers and was very pregnant with a third, I was attempting to walk into a store sans automatic doors. Wrangling a double stroller through a manual door 7 months pregnant by yourself is no picnic.

      A group of young teenagers squeezed their tiny butts between the front of my stroller and the doorframe, without so much as a glance, let alone an “excuse me”. Or, heaven forbid a “Let me get that door for you, ma’am.”

      Oh. And there were OTHER DOORS TO CHOOSE FROM.

      However, I did learn rather quickly to stop saying “MY kid would NEVER do THAT!!!”

      Crow isn’t too bad if you add some salt, I found out. 🙂

      November 4th, 2008 at 12:39 am

    57. Gretchen says:

      Well…at least you didn’t slap the poor little unparented fella (as I would’ve wanted to do)…He’s probably in our penal system now….sigh.

      Manners are so tough–the interrupting one is so hard for us, partially because my son has some impulse issues which aren’t necessarily in his control. And…believe it or not, I’m not always as patient and kind as Jesus was when I’m interrupted. In fact, I’m sort of a WIP in this area.

      November 4th, 2008 at 2:00 am

    58. Amy F. says:

      Hi – long time reader, first time (I think) commenter. I completely agree with this post! It’s something I am working hard on with my three children, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. 🙂

      I just wanted to comment and recommend a great manners book for young kids called Emily’s Everyday Manners, by Cindy Post Sennings. My kids love it, and they really have learned a lot from it (such as not saying “YUCK!” when they see something on their plate that they don’t like… that drives me *crazy*!)

      November 4th, 2008 at 7:56 am

    59. stephanie says:

      Just for the record, you have done a great job instilling manners and respect in your little man. He is very well mannered and a pleasure to be around. Great work! And the pirate pics are too cute. He is such a cool kid.

      November 4th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    60. wanda says:

      Oh this is one area of mothering….that I am ON FIRE PASSIONATE about! Right after providing them a Christian foundation on which to lean upon….is manners!

      I have teens now….and they are awesome! Not perfect…..but very polite and considerate TO EVERYONE!!! I invested the time and energy in them and I’m so glad I did. The results are worth it.

      We had a rule on interupting. When the parent you need is talking with someone, simply walk up and put your hand on their shoulder…wait….Mom/dad will reach up and touch your hand to let you know that you need to speak with them and when there is a pause in conversation they will respond to you. Oh and thank you for being patient with adults and showing respect. (that was our behind the scenes conversation)
      I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve had with kids running up and yelling in their face…”mama, mama, mama! MAMA!!!” or on the phone…interupting! It’s so frustrating!
      Wake up people….rude behavior is NOT TO BE TOLERATED!
      Sorry….I told you I’m passionate about it.

      November 4th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    61. Lisa says:

      I’m relentless when it comes to manners as well. I think things like that used to be automatically taught to children. I still remember going to a relatives house and being hungry yet knowing that it was improper to ask for something to eat. We were allowed to request water and that was it.

      November 4th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    62. April says:

      I absolutely agree with you. I grew up in the South but live in the North. I’ve raised all three of my children the exact same and whenever I’m out people compliment me on the manners of my first (my third is still a toddler but seems to have all the characteristics of a polite young lady). My middle child, Lord help me! She is the child that grabs a rose from the birthday cake of your child before the candles are blown out! She is the one who is complimented on her looks and responds with “uh-uh, I’m ugly” while scowling and flaring her nostrils. At the age of five she’s getting much better. I have faith that, for anyone who does the leg work, it will all come around!

      November 4th, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    63. Tara says:

      As polite as children are in the south, I am trying to civilize my boys (and girl) up here in the north! Imagine the thrill I get when my kids say, “yes sir/ma’am” to people! Thrills my soul it does. And on Halloween I had the perfect opportunity to have the kids look adults in the eye and say, “thank you”. Woo hoo! Manners matter!

      November 4th, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    64. Allison says:

      As someone who will probably be an AM herself, I cannot agree with you more! There is still such a thing as common decency…spitting is never decent.

      November 4th, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    65. Sharon says:

      Thank you for teaching Sean manners. It’s great to see that your readers also think teaching manners is important, and part of a parents job. I work at an elementary school in California and a lot of students have appalling manners. Come to think of it so do some parents. Other parents are a bit suprised to find out that it’s not just the schools job to teach their children manners because that’s how it was done in their country. A child with very good manners really stands out, and that is really sad. I teach manners classes whenever possible and I aways appreciate it when the students aren’t hearing about good manners for the first time.
      You are doing a great job. Keep it up!

      November 4th, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    66. LORI says:

      OH BOY, DO I HEAR YA! I WAS IN LINE AT A GROCERY STORE A FEW YEARS BACK, AND THE PRECIOUS LITTLE PEARL IN FRONT OF ME (BAREFOOT, MIND YOU–ANOTHER PET PEEVE IN A STORE) KEPT BUMPING INTO MY CART WHILE JUMPING THROUGH THE AIR, KICKING, AND GENERALLY BEING A PAIN IN THE BUTT. I HAD A SLEEPING BABY IN A CAR SEAT AT THE TIME, AND WAS VERY ANXIOUS TO KEEP HIM THAT WAY. I ASKED IN WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A VERY POLITE (READ: COMPLETELY UNNECESSARILY POLITE) VOICE THAT HE PLEASE NOT RUN INTO MY CART ANYMORE BECAUSE HE WAS GOING TO WAKE MY BABY. TO WHICH HIS LOVELY MOTHER TURNED AROUND AND TOLD ME TO MOVE, BECAUSE I WAS IN HIS (ROYAL HIGHNESS’S) WAY…I SMILED AND CALMLY WALKED TO A DIFFERENT CHECK OUT, BUT WANTED TO THROW SOMETHING AT THEM. LIKE A WATERMELON.

      November 5th, 2008 at 1:35 am

    67. Joanna says:

      (Claps hands) Amen sister! Rath of Mom will fall swiftly with that kind of behavior.
      My kids have commented that they must not know Jesus when they see this behavior in others. They said this really loud once and the other mom turned around to go off on them. I had the I dare you look on my face. She backed away and so did I without one word spoken.

      November 5th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    68. Steffj89 says:

      Lord knows I try with my boys and they do love to hold doors and can and mostly do say please and thank you and yes maam/sir etc. but mine have also been known to be one to spit on someone or something equally gross. They surely wouldn’t be leaving a store w/ a toy after it, but I might not punish them otherwise right then and there….
      steff

      * * * *

      I guess I view punishment differently than correction. At our house, punishment is *usually* a private matter, but correction is swift and immediate. An incentive for good behavior if you find it embarrassing to be corrected in public. If the behavior is egregious enough, punishment comes when we get home, after the correction. ~ AM

      November 6th, 2008 at 8:42 am

    69. Steffj89 says:

      ok i can go with that…yes it gets corrected, but there will usually be much more major consequences when we get home

      spitting, hitting, screaming no at DH or I, throwing a fit because they dont get thier way all would have further consequences…
      steff

      November 8th, 2008 at 7:12 am

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