5 ways Good Manners will Change your Child’s Life!

Children with good social skills have better relationships

Children with manners are more popular

Studies have shown that children with good social skills are more successful in nearly every aspect of life! And what is manners but putting social skills into practice?   As the famous etiquette queen, Emily Post, once said, “manners are common sense – a combination of generosity of spirit and specific know-how”.

The National Association of School Psychologists says that good social skills are critical to successful functioning in life. By teaching our kids manners and courtesy, we are providing the very foundations for good social skills which will aid in their success throughout life.

Often a person other people see as ‘charming’ is really just a person with good manners and practiced social skills!  Teaching manners and courtesy will benefit your child in several important ways:

1.  Children with good manners are more likeable and therefore more popular.

Knowing how to listen, wait their turn, be polite and know how to make conversation – children who have been taught these basic manners have a leg up in the popularity stakes.  Children with manners are likeable so they have more friends, stronger relationships with peers and adults, including teachers.  This in turn increases their confidence which in turn makes them more likeable!  It’s a win-win cycle!

2. Children with good manners do better academically.

Researchers found that when they increased social skills, they saw significant increases in academic learning. It’s not that social skills made children smarter but that having better social skills made them more open to learning well. Most of the top 10 social skills needed by students to succeed, as listed by the university researchers, were basically the skills we give our children when we teach them manners: cooperation, listening, be nice to others, etc.

3. Children with good social skills are more resilient.

Put simply, resiliency refers to an ability to cope with adversity.  Children with good social skills are more resilient because they have better relationships with peers and adults, better communication and conflict resolutions skills and possess a healthy sense of humour (in my opinion, a sign of good social skills in itself).  Teaching good manners means your child will have the social network and communication skills to keep them emotionally centered to weather life’s many storms.

4.  Kids with good social skills cope better under socially stressful circumstances.

Children with good social skills have been shown to do better in interviews and other socially stressful situations. This is, in no small part, because they have ‘practiced’ these situations to some degree many times before.  They have usually been exposed to a variety of social situations and armed with the skills to cope with them.  Formal dinners, work dos, parties, talking with older people, young people – the process of teaching children manners means providing the opportunity to practise their social skills many times before they leave school.  The result is that these children approach socially stressful situations like job and university interviews with considerably more aplomb than their socially awkward peers.  As competition for jobs and university spots is high, those students with good communication and interpersonal skills will outshine the others.

5. Good social skills are highly in demand in the workplace.

There has been a rise in social skills courses being taught in school in response to concerns from employers that young people are leaving school lacking social skills essential in the workplace.  Skills that employers value, such as good communication, are skills many young people just don’t have these days. Too many kids are inarticulate, hesitant, awkward purely because they have not been taught the social niceties or given frequent enough opportunities to practice them.

Manners are, in essence, the social lubricant that enables people to fit in smoothly in any situation. Good manners arms children with a variety of communication skills, from handling introductions and making small talk to making others feel comfortable.  It gives them social confidence.  Knowing how to behave in any situation frees a person up to be themselves – the best version of themselves because they are not worrying about making a fool of themselves or putting a foot wrong.

Where do I start?

Teaching good manners can – and should – start at a young age.  The dinner table is often a great place to start.  However, it is never too late to start teaching your children courtesy and manners.

Related article: Give your Son a Head start in Charm

Is there a way to raise our families without all the drama? Yes!

Parents are struggling to cope with all the demands of family, work and life.

  • You love your family but you are struggling to stay on top of things. You strive to be the best parent you can be but often you feel like a complete failure. Nothing you are doing is working.
  • Or maybe you are about to start a family or you have very young children. How do you avoid raising children who are spoilt, ill-mannered and unlikeable?

Raising a well adjusted child within a calm, happy, enjoyable family environment is something every parent longs for, but in this complicated modern world, that goal often feels unattainable. Parenting is supposed to be fun! Family life is supposed to be enjoyable! Unfortunately, for all too many parents, parenting has become a rather grim exercise in endurance.

Parenting wasn’t something our grandparents stressed about.

Think about it.  Our grandparents’ generation managed to:

  • Establish discipline with ease
  • Be consistent so children understood the lessons they were trying to teach them
  • Retain composure in all circumstances so their kids respected them
  • Establish clear boundaries so their children could explore their world with confidence and trust
  • Create an environment of warmth and laughter and learning
  • Teach manners and values that stood their kids in good stead throughout life
  • enjoy being a parent and have fun with your family!

Most of us struggle to do just one of those things effectively, let alone all!  Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could raise our families with the same ease?  Well, it is possible!

Read on to learn how to set boundaries in the same manner our grandparents did.

Does anyone know what the off button on the tv remote looks like?

too much tv is detrimental to family lifeMost of us enjoy watching tv, probably a lot more than we should.  But when you are a parent, knowing where the off button is – and having the courage to use it- is a necessity.  Everything goes on hold when the tv (or computer) is on.  But turn it off and:

7. Rediscover the art of conversation!

Our children today aren’t getting enough practice in the art of conversation – and it is an art! The ability to listen to what others have to say, respond in a way that makes them feel you were interested, and expressing yourself articulately and even, amusingly don’t come easily to most people. The best way to give our children these skills is to give them the opportunity to practise. Ask them hypothetical questions like ‘what would you do if you had a million dollars?’ or ‘what rules will you make when you are a mum?’ (my kids love that one!). A person who is a good conversationalist has a skill which will be of great benefit to them throughout their life.

6. Become a more balanced person.

It allows you and your children time to develop other interests.  They could be discovering what talents or interests they have, reading books, playing with friends or going outside to enjoy some outdoor activities. That won’t happen as long as the hypnotic presence of tv is before them.

5. Discover the joy of reading.

I tell my kids we only have one life but when we read, we have the chance to live a hundred different lives.  We get to experience life as a witch, a knight, a viking, an alien – the list is endless.  And – what I don’t tell my kids – reading allows the brain to develop, it fills in the gaps in one’s education (and there are many gaps today!), it stimulates the imagination, and increases vocabulary and understanding of grammar. Indeed, research even suggests it prevents dementia.

4. Laugh and have fun!

Whatever happened to games?! Kids still love to play board games with their parents, wrestle on the carpet, have ticklefests, play horsey, or challenge them to Wii games. Parents have a chance to get back in touch with their inner child and demonstrate to their kids that they are more than disciplinarians. Here is a chance to show kids that you love being with them!

3. Set up a lifelong healthy routine.

People are creatures of habit. Set up a child to get used to only watching tv at set times and the chances are good that he will continue that habit in adulthood. For instance, as a child, I was not allowed to watch tv until 5pm on weekends; instead, we went out swimming or picnicking or for a walk. To this day, I get restless if we are still home at 10am and I can not bear to watch tv before 5pm.  Even better, get into the habit of going out for a walk in the evening or playing a game of tennis on the weekends.  Habits like these will do your kids far more good than the routine of switching on the tv as soon as they get home.

2. Pass on your values and beliefs.

Children will absorb these things from tv shows if you aren’t equally vocal about your beliefs. And let’s face it, the kind of values tv espouses are not the kind we want our children to follow! So find opportunities to discuss what values are important to your family and why. Set up a Code of Conduct for your family. Have weekly challenges to see who can demonstrate a specific value.  When you are watching shows, look for opportunities to challenge the value presented.  The dinner table is a great place to start teaching children courtesy and etiquette. These are social skills that give a child confidence as they will always know how to behave in social situations, no matter where they are or who they are talking to. This is a great advantage in our competitive modern world.

And the  No. 1 reason to switch off the tv?

So you can build strong bonds with your family.  Modern lifestyles mean you can spend the whole day without having any significant exchange with your children. Tv, computers, mobiles, and games like xbox promote a lifestyle of individual entertainment. Nowadays, a lot of kids have tvs in their rooms which further erodes family interactions. Even when family come together to watch tv, its hypnotic quality means no real interactions between family members. Switching off the tv -and preferably all electronic gadgets at the same time – means rediscovering each other again. Building and maintaining family bonds are fundamental to a happy family, and this is one easy way to do so. Take the time to love and laugh, and your family will reap the benefit for a lifetime.

Parents Must Work as a Team

Consistency is an essential part of learning rules and boundaries.  In order to do this, parents must work together as a team.   parents must work as a teamRemember, the simpler, the better.  Don’t leave room for confusion or inconsistency.  A child quickly works out which parent is the ‘soft touch’ and, if they have the opportunity, will manipulate them to get their way.  By having a plan both agree on, parents can present a unified front to their children.

There will be instances where one parent feels strongly that the other parent is being unfair.  However unfair the situation may appear, though, (we are not talking about abusive situations), it is important that the other parent appear completely supportive, even if they have to grit their teeth or find an excuse to walk away.

Children will forget the circumstances of a perceived injustice quickly, especially if they know their parents always try to be fair.  What they don’t forget is discord between their parents.  What they file away is the beginning awareness of the tactic ‘divide and conquer’.  Any idea that they can run to mum or dad whenever they don’t like the decision of the other parent will cause friction in the family and between parents.  Don’t let this ever develop.  Always appear supportive and then discuss the issue in private.