Saturday, August 13, 2011

Raising children with manners

Children without manners make me cringe.  As a preschool teacher I insisted on manners being used in the classroom.  We all sat together at 2 tables in the classroom and please and thank you were part of my curriculum, even if it was not part of the formal one.  I remember walking into another classroom during lunch and hearing the students speak to their teacher in an appalling way.  When I commented on this and told the teacher that she should insist on good manners, her answer was that was the least of her problems.  fyi I was the head teacher and it was part of my job to help the newer teachers.  I wasn't just being a control freak.  About that, anyway.  My belief is that if we teach children manners first, the other stuff will follow.  Sometimes it won't, but I don't think that the opposite is true.  Children can learn to say please before the learn that hitting is inappropriate.

I was at the Castle playground today with Lilly in Chatham.  We had tons of fun and met a very nice little girl and her mom there.  But there were some issues with the slides, as is apt to happen at playgrounds.  There is one slide there in particular that was very popular and there was a long line of kids in line.  This one boy, about 4, was repeatedly pushing past kids to the front of the line.  After the 3rd or 4th time I (very sweetly) pointed out the line.  He smiled at me and went down the slide.  And the next time, he stuck his tongue out at me as he went down.  At that point I decided that it was time for Lilly and I to eat our lunch at the picnic tables.  

I was really aggravated at that kid, but even more so that NO OTHER PARENT/GRANDPARENT SAID ANYTHING!!!!  There were about 6 other parents/grandparents standing around the slide waiting for their kid and this kid cut in front, pushing his way through at least 6 times while I was standing there.  I was the only person to say something.  What does that teaches a child when the parent stands by in this situation?  I think it could teach them that it is okay to act like that themselves or that they don't have to defend themselves to bullies.  Maybe I am reading too much into the situation, but I don't think so. 

From a very young age I have taught Lilly manners.  When she speaks to us in an inappropriate voice I model the correct way and ask her to repeat it.  She is getting to the point now where I can just ask her to say it again in a different way.  She is not perfect by any means.  She is 3, after all!  I am proud of how polite she is and how considerate she is of others when we are on the playground.  A small reminder to look out for the little ones was all she needed today to be aware of the younger and smaller children playing alongside her.   

What do you think?  Did I over think this?  Are manners going by the wayside?
Post a Comment