Thursday, August 11, 2011
Parents: Speak well and you'll hear good manners
When I think about teaching my children manners, it is not all about their actions. It is also about how they say it. We are so caught up on teaching our children to say, "Please and Thank you," have we forgotten about proper English? It is just as important for children to use the correct words when asking for something. Instead of "Can I have...? " It should be, "Please, May I have more peas?" "Could you please pass the vegetables?" As I listened closer to my children's words, I found I needed to listen closer to my own words. If I asked, "Does anyone want pizza?" the response was more often than not, "I want pizza." So, if we are to expect our children to be polite, we need to guide their response. We should say, "Would anyone like more pizza?" in hopes of a "Yes, please," or a "No, Thank you." It is just the same as with our actions. If we do the same routine when we sit down to the table, our children will learn from that as well. If my husband pulls out the chair for me, the children will see that it is a nice gesture for a husband to do for his wife. When I sit down, I always take my napkin, unfold it and put it on my lap. I use a knife and fork to cut and eat my food. I wipe my mouth by dabbing and I never speak with food in my mouth. Sure, I am perfect. Actually, I am not...I put my feet on my chair and hug my knees while sitting at the table when I am done. I often speak with food in my mouth because I love to talk. And I leave the table 10 times during any given meal. So, it is really me who is sending messages to my children that these behaviors are okay. It is up to me to be a good role model and not only tell them what are good table manners but physically show them.
I am sure this is not the first time anyone has said this. But to me it may be the first time I have had a minute as a mom to actually reflect on my own teachings and realize that I need to listen to my own advice.