Bad manners and etiquette are the bane of existence for many parents, but it is usually not until they are displayed outside the home that parents will take the problem seriously enough to work on it. Even worse, children who behave perfectly well mannered inside the home appear to forget all of the proper lessons learned as soon as they set one foot outside, and the little gentleman or lady you have been training up is barely recognizable!
Public Manners & Being Polite to Other Adults
Dealing with a lack of manners when outside the home is best done in private. Although it is tempting to immediately correct and discipline the child in public – by way of exonerating yourself and proving that you have indeed discussed this manner already – it is important to wait until you and the child are actually in a private setting.
This is actually a premier teaching opportunity! When your child fails to make eye contact when being addressed by an adult, wait until the person moves on and then explain that it is polite to make eye contact when being spoken to. In some cases, the child may not even be aware that he is acting impolitely, and instead may have been consumed with self-consciousness.
This is oftentimes the case when a child is complimented on something. Not knowing what to say, the child grows embarrassed. Give him the tools he needs to act in a self assured manner but letting him know that when complimented it is considered polite to simply thank the person making the compliment.
When to Take a Child Away for Bad Manners
On the other hand, if your child has been extremely rude by virtue of his behavior, it is entirely appropriate to lead him away from the situation and to a private location to discuss the bad manners issue. This should not give you license to berate your child, but instead should only result in a loving and brief explanation of the kind of behavior you expect him to have.
Get Kids to Respect Your Manners Expectations
To ensure that your child is completely clear on what is acceptable to you and what is not, you must clearly state your expectations. If he know what you expect of him, and practice it with him in role play, then he will have the tools he needs to react in the appropriate way the next time you are out in public. Be sure to catch your child doing the right thing! It is easy to only correct when there is a problem; do not spare the praise when he does the right thing!
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