Home » Home and Family

Rule 21: Mind Their Manners

Aug 15, 2008
Hollee J. Chadwick, a former newspaper editor, works from home as a journalist, humor columnist, and book editor. She successfully raised three daughters who went on to live normal lives.

We've all experienced it. You and your husband (or significant other) are seated in a booth at a nice restaurant. You're enjoying your dinner, chatting amiably and quietly. Then it happens. Thump! Splat! Mo-om! Ouch! The kid seated in the booth behind you is banging his head against the seat back. His sister seated across from him flings butter at him, and then the back and forth accusations and kicking starts.

Right then and there you say to yourself, "My children will never act like that in a restaurant." Yeah. Right.

I was brought up in a home where courtesy was king. As far back as I can remember, I was taught to sit up straight, to chew with my mouth closed, not to interrupt the adults, and to say "Please," "Thank you" and "Excuse me."

What I learned as a new mother taking her two toddlers to a restaurant for the first time was: Be Prepared. The time to teach manners is not when you are sitting in the restaurant--it's months before in the privacy of your own semi-soundproof and spill-proof home.

I can remember my father saying over and over, "You should treat your family better than you do friends and strangers." At age seven, thinking I was taking my father's advice, I said "Good riddance" to two of my childhood friends as they left our backyard to return home. When my dad, who was standing nearby raking leaves, corrected me, I quickly ran, mortified, after my friends and explained that I thought "Good riddance" meant the same as "Goodbye." Thankfully, they were also seven years old, so they had no clue I had insulted them.

Teaching your child to chew with his mouth closed and to use a fork or spoon may be a lesson in patience for you. Especially if your little angel has been allowed to "break the rules" here and there (like spitting or throwing food, eating with those sticky little fingers, or playing finger paints with pudding while you aren't looking.)

We make our own mountains out of molehills. We laugh at how cute baby Jane is being when she spews the peas across the table, reinforcing this feat with our positive reaction. Who doesn't love watching baby Johnny dig his hands and face into the cake on his first birthday? What's cute for a baby isn't acceptable for a five year old, or a 12 year old for that matter.

Punishment is not necessary when the wee tyke does this, but neither is positive reinforcement. Once may be cute, but after that it wears on you and makes your job harder, especially since raising your child is not your only job. Take it from a mother who has worn oatmeal to work on a wool suit, because I didn't have time to change clothes after my precious decided to play show and spit. Back in the 80s, I went to work once with a chunk of scrambled egg in my hair. Those were the big hair days, too. Yuck.

There is nothing harmful to your child in insisting they sit properly at the table and not wander around, eating whenever they please. If they would rather wander around, then they are not hungry. Simply removing their plate to the kitchen worked wonders for me. Meals are meant to be enjoyed by all parties, not just by the child.

Raising my daughters, I handled wide-open-mouth eaters by commenting on how pretty they looked when they chewed with their mouths closed. I've found, as a recent stepmother, that boys enjoy being gentlemen when it brings them happy attention.

Manners are not a punishment, nor are they tedious. Manners make everyone more comfortable and keep things running smoothly. They make it possible for other people to enjoy the presence of your children as much as you do.

As excerpted from "42 Rules (tm) for Working Moms" Super Star Press, 2008.
About the Author
Laura Lowell is the executive editor and author of "42 Rules for Working Moms." She has gathered practical advice and information from working moms all over the world to share with others. She lives and works in Silicon Valley with her husband and two girls. http://www.42rules.com/working_moms/index
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 134
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources