Thursday, March 11, 2010

PSA Thursday: Manners

There is an article making it's way around the mommy circuits that has made me think a lot about raising kids today. Are you Raising a Douchebag? is a funny and eye opening look at how and why so many kids are...well douchebags these days.
I really have no parenting experience right now. Raising a 4 month old is as easy as making sure he is fed, dry, and loved. But I realize these moments are fleeting and someday soon I will have to instill manners and values in him. I will have to teach him right from wrong. I will have to mold him into a productive, responsible member of society. I will have to make sure he is NOT a douchebag.
I know it won't be easy. Especially when manners and politeness seem to be in the minority these days, in kids and adults alike. I have worked with the general public my whole life and have seen first hand how rude kids today are. Then I look at their parents and the apple didn't fall far from the proverbial tree.
I could go on about this all day.
Please, Thank you, and Excuse me seem to be rarely used these days. So do simple things like holding a door open for someone and making eye contact when you talk to someone. If I had a dollar for everytime a child/teenager mumbled their order to me with headphones in their ears and their eyes glued to their cell phone, I could retire.
While I can't say I know exactly what my parenting strategies will be, I can say this. My kids will say Please and Thank You. They will speak respectful to other adults and call them Mr. or Mrs. They will hold open doors for people and say excuse me if they bump into someone.
I'd like to think that teaching a child manners is much like the game Monkey See, Monkey Do. As a Sociology major in college-for a semester at least- we were taught that kids mimic the behaviors they see everyday. I've become much more self-aware of my own behaviors lately and try to make sure that I am "practicing what I preach". I know my 4 month old can't see it now, but one day he will. And I don't want to raise a douchebag...

What are you Manner pet peeves? Anything you are having a hard time with in terms of teaching your children. Or things you wish people were teaching their children?

and giveaway to benefit the Susan G Komen foundation is still going on. Enter HERE.


Anonymous said...

This is a big pet peeve of mine too - seeing the entitlement and lack of manners in other kids :) Mine aren't perfect, but there are definitely a lot of douchebag kids (and parents) out there!

What really hit me hard as far as the lack of parenting skills/manners in others was when taking the kids to see one of Ken's softball games. A boy was kicking over the pile of sand that Mari was building up. She very politely and firmly asked him to please stop wrecking her tower. He looked like a year or so older than her, and he kept coming over and stomping on it every time she rebuilt it. His mom was sitting right there watching it and did nothing! Unfortunately, I've seen too many parents fail to reprimand their own kids, yet they won't hesitate to scream at another adult who dares to open their mouth and tell their bratty child to please stop. I am not confrontational, so I just told Mariela that since he wasn't being very nice, to go find a new spot to play in. He followed her, and so then I scooted my chair in between them and told him that he didn't need to keep wrecking her towers when she asked him to stop. The mom still said and did nothing. When the situation has been reversed, and one of my kids is being too aggressive toward another, I immediately say something to them about their inappropriate behavior and make them apologize if needed. Too many parents use the excuse of "They're just being boys" or "She's only 3, she didn't know any better", etc. Kids do what is expected, and oftentimes parents don't set their expectations very high.

Another pet peeve of mine is parents who do everything for their kids, and then complain that their kids never "clean up after themselves" or "get off the couch" or "do anything to help out". Kids don't seem expected to have chores anymore. Sure, sometimes it's faster to just pick up the mess yourself that the kids left, but it doesn't teach them anything. Mom had a good article a while back about how old kids should be in order to learn certain tasks around the house. I think it said something about being 3yrs old to help clean the toilets :) I didn't quite do that, but at 4 & 5, they were folding and putting away their own laundry, and they both sweep the kitchen (or attempt to). I shamelessly admit that I bribed them with a special prize from their prize box the first few times, but now they are used to being expected to do it. I think it's good for kids to be expected to contribute around the house.

Sorry, I didn't mean to write a book here!


Unknown said...

Couldn't agree more!!