My mother always said, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I find myself using this same phrase. The other common phrase I find myself using is “treat others like you want to be treated.” But how do we get our children to understand this? We start by teaching them to mind their manners.
Manners are behaviors and speech that positively display respect and honor to others and you. By utilizing good manners you can build up relationships.
“It is important to teach your child manners because children need to know how to act and speak toward others in a way that shows he/she has respect and honor for others,” said Linda, a pastor’s wife and mother of three grown children. “This builds up family and social relationships. When we build up one another, we have healthy, loving relationships. After all, life is all about relationships, not material things or getting ‘one-up’ on the other guy. Good manners foster healthy relationships.”
Taking time to teach and model good manners is not only good for those he/she may interact with, but also for your child’s own well being.
“Good manners are gifts that we can give to others that are priceless,” said Linda, who believes that manners are caught rather than taught.
“Children will learn what they live,” Linda explained. “We can tell our children how they should behave but if we do not model the desired behavior it is unlikely our children will do what we say. Our children will do what we do. We have a great privilege and obligation to train up our children in such a way that is pleasing and positive. Good manners are good for both parties: the one displaying the good manners and the one on the receiving end of good manners. It is a win/win situation.”
By saying please and thank you, offering a “bless you” or an “excuse me” it shows that you care for others and can create a peaceful and respectful environment.
“Having good manners can open doors to conversation and developing healthy relationships,” said Linda, who also suggested using compliments and avoiding foul language.
If we teach our children to look out for the needs of others by holding a door open for someone, letting someone go first in a check-out line, or giving the ‘right of way’ to pedestrians and bicyclists when we are driving, then we are setting the stage for our children to be good citizens and model good manners for others.
Read our top ten manners to teach children.