Thursday, July 10, 2008

Good Manners Thursday...

There is nothing lovelier than a well-behaved child. Nothing. I recently attended a party with a friend who brought her two daughters with her. Their table manners were immaculate. Their behavior throughout the evening was simply a joy to watch. They did not run around, snoop through the hostesses home, speak out of turn or beg for attention. It was a joy to have them as part of the company.
I find this scenario to be very unusual. I went to a ballet recital some weeks ago, c was performing. The recital takes place in a university auditorium with a live orchestra.. it's a big deal to us. Behind me sat, a darling 4 year old boy. He was not invited. The tickets specifically said the concert was for 5 and over. The child spoke above a whisper throughout the evening. His mother did not reprimand him or TAKE HIM OUT. Rude.
I went to a movie recently. G rated and the audience was full of children as you would expect, but there were several mother's who seemed to feel that the audience payed $5.50 to listen to their infants scream. I don't care how advanced a kid is, the noise of a movie is going to scare them before they are 2 or 3... leave them home.
When I am in a theater, I will often have a child kicking the back of my chair throughout the film, even if I ask them politely not too.
People have lost the back-bone to discipline their children and so we often have a bunch of little ill-behaved monsters running around who have learned their manners from repeated viewings of SHREK, Sponge Bob and The Simpsons, which I actually feel should be R rated for children.
When children visit a home, it should be insisted that they use inside voices, touch things with permission only, sit .. not climb on furniture and treat everything inside the home with respect. No child is going to behave like that all the time, so the parent has to be willing to TAKE THEM OUT and home even if it is inconvenient.
We have a no shoes/ clean feet rule at our house. One time my sister brought my then 2 1/2 year old nephew to my home. He would not remove his shoes, so my sister never let him in. She took him home. This was not convenient for her. She did not spank or yell, she just took him home. He went screaming. But when he came the next time, he took his shoes off without being asked.
You teach the very young child manners, which are really about being kind and solicitous to others, and you teach them the manners that you yourself with have to put up with the rest of your life as the parent. You are not just teaching them how to treat others, but how to treat you. When you teach a child refined manners, you are determining whether they will be considered refined and educated, or common clods when they are older. I think our generation of parents is quite lazy with this. We need to put in a bit more effort. Let's say no to the examples of SHREK, Sponge Bob and Bart and find more elegant examples for our children.


Raquel said...

I totally agree with what you have written about children needing good manners. There are too many children these days with good manners and I believe that is because their parents were never taught to have good manners either. Its good to have courtesy and respect- a time honored tradition that I will pass onto my children someday.

Raquel said...

I just foudn a typo: I meant to say there are too many children today without manners. I have had similar experiences in movie theaters myself- with adults and children alike!

Shauna said...

Well Said, Tiffany. I notice a huge difference in the peers of my children now compared to those peers of my children just a decade ago (and their parents!!!!!)

Circe said...

AMEN!! I think every parent should get a copy of this post in the mail every year. I don't want my kids to grow up to be the teenagers who TEXT during the symphony!! Even when it's a world-renowned guest artist! Even when they're sitting next to their mother!! Thanks for the inspiration and the reminder. I'm going to take all of this to heart! And I'll also pass on the compliments to the youngsters at the dinner party, in order to inspir them, too! :) I love good manners Thursday!!

Sara Christine said...

Great post! It makes me CRAZY when kids are allowed to misbehave.

Rebecca said...

Amen, sista.

A side note - how old were your little one's when they first went to see a movie? Annie's almost three, and her little friends have gone, but it seems to me it would be a little too much. So much stimulation, etc. And thoughts?

love.boxes said...

Rebecca, I don't really know that answer to that. My daughter was really sensitive and shy when she was 3 and it just never would have worked with her. I think we waited until she was almost 5, but I have nephews that went to the movies at 3 and were just fine.

Another concern I have, which you have to gage is the noise level. Many theaters here are unbelievably loud which I think is quite unsettling to a sensitive child.

Your daughter seems like a little princess, by the way. What a doll! :)

Celestial Fundie said...

I am very glad you have a no-shoes rule in your home. It really does make a difference.

I have an whole blog about removing shoes in homes: Shoes Off at the Door, Please
You might want to take a look.

Maren :) said...

This is a great post, Tiffany! I am all for good manners... and (because of the teacher in me) will usually say something to a child if the parent is not. (Probably not the best thing to do... )☺

You have a wonderful blog... love to see all your work!