Manners and Children…

What is considered to be a well mannered child? One who always says please and thank you, who looks an adult in the eye when talk ing to them? At what age is this to be expected? Do you correct your child’s manners in public? Do you ask another child to mind his or her manners?

Obviously I do not expect much from my 2 year old. We are working on the very basics these days. Please and Thank You. We are having a little more trouble remember to say please when we want something than we do saying thank you. Over all I think Alexander is doing a good job.

I am pretty certain that Rebecca is better mannered when she is not with me. I know what she is capable of, I have seen it on occasion, but it is nice to hear from other parents. We are still working on Christopher, but so far, for the most part things do look promising. He is not perfect. No six year old boy is and no six year old boy she be expected to be so. There are certain basics I expect from him at the dinner table. At this age he should properly be using fork and napkin and should know when to wipe his mouth. He should sit at the table properly and not slouch or fidget. I do not expect him to know how to identify all the forks, knives and spoons in a formal table setting.

I do have a problem when a six year old child asks for something without saying please or thank you… without even asking nicely. This really, really bothers me. Am I supposed to remind this child to say please and thank you Or would I be over-stepping my bounds? It’s not as though this child was doing anything mean or spiteful or dangerous. I did have to reprimand this child several times on the playground when rocks were being thrown, grass being tossed or general disorderly conduct being displayed as this child was, at that time, under my supervision. I have no problem disciplining another person’s child when it may compromise the health and well being of my children, others around them or that child in particular. I firmly believe that it is my duty as a parent. But discipline and manners are different. Or are they? While I was irked and extremely annoyed by the complete lack of manners shown, I did nothing correct it. (I thought it a bit peculiar that even after the proper pleases and thank yous were said by my children — all three — and the other guest, this behavior was not exhibited by the other child.) I did tell the child that we neither stand on nor do we do not walk across the couch. I repeatedly asked this child to please eat the cheese sticks at the table as we do not walk around with food, nor do we walk around with glasses filled with beverages, liquid sloshing dangerously close to the top… but I did nothing about the manners…

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