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.