Manners and social skills matter everywhere

Good Manners and Social Skills Start at Home

Teaching your kids manners at home prepares them not only for life away from you, their parents, but provides guidelines for family members to interact with one another in a peaceful manner. So for kids to develop healthy relationships with peers, social skills training needs to start as early as possible. Bullying is now starting in preschool, as young as age three. In addition, with research  showing that social skills training is the missing link in bullying prevention, we need to provide our children with this training sooner rather than later. This proactive manners or social skills training, or social emotional learning, must start before they go to preschool or school. As a result, we need to equip them early to be able to get along with others.

Teaching your Kids Manners at Home – Family Manners

Good manners and social skills start at home, within the family. However, the make-up of the family doesn’t matter; what matters is that there is an atmosphere of family harmony. Therefore, the goal is for family members to live in peace, treating each other with kindness, consideration and respect. Moreover, this family harmony spills over into many relationships outside the home.

Our families deserve our best manners. However, many reserve their best behavior and manners for friends or those they want to impress. But in reality, our families deserve our best manners because we spend a great deal of our time with them. Our families love us no matter what we say or do, and they invest a huge amount of effort and resources into our well-being. And, we can count on them to be there for us in difficult times.

8 Principles for Family Harmony

Each of these 8 principles has a corresponding action statement:
1. LOVE: “I Love You”
2. RESPECT: “I’ll Listen”
3. COMMUNICATION: “Let’s Talk”
5. OBEDIENCE: “I Will”
6. ATTITUDE: “I’ll Smile”
8. THE GOLDEN RULE: “I’ll Treat my Family the Way I Want to be Treated”

Teaching your Kids Manners at Home – Sharing your Family Values

Moral values within a family are about making right choices for the individual family. Values means “ideals and beliefs that have importance in someone’s life and guide the decisions they make.” Moral means “beliefs about right and wrong behavior.” Therefore, moral values means “what we believe in and the rules we live by.” Moral values learned from our family influence the kind of person we become.In addition, they guide our behavior. In fact, our conscience, or inner voice (the voice of our moral values) can prevent us from doing something that goes against our family’s moral values. Likewise, adhering to our family’s moral values can earn us respect, guide us when undecided, and contribute greatly to family harmony.

Teaching your Kids Manners at Home – Having a Family Meeting

A great way to handle family disputes, problems, or other areas of strife or conflict is to hold a family meeting.  Anyone in the family can request the meeting. For it to work well, every member will have a chance to be heard and to be fairly represented. The situation is discussed, with all members participating, and resolution is determined and accepted by all. In short, remember, the goal is to maintain or return to family harmony.

My Family, Track 9, Cool Kind Kid Award-Winning CD

Teaching your Kids Manners at Home to Boost Friendships

Teaching your kids manners at home equips them to know how to get along with other kids they will meet, no matter where they go. Developing relationships with peers are key to kids having a fun and enjoyable life. So helping them to navigate the “friend” experience with early social skills lessons and activities will give them a head start on developing healthy peer relationships.

Rude Behaviors that Turn Off Friends

As mentioned before, bullying in now starting in preschool, as young as age three. Therefore, it’s important for kids to learn about the behaviors that are involved in bullying and how to avoid them. Many don’t know that there are some behaviors that kids do that hurt themselves; behaviors that they do that others find offensive or just don’t like.

These kinds of behaviors can cause a child to be bullied, teased, or excluded. These include swearing, which many kids think makes them look cool. In reality, swearing turns others off. Bragging and boasting, or showing off are a definite turn-off for other kids. For example, most kids are especially turned of by the type of braggart who takes credit for a team effort. Additionally, another behavior many kids, and adults, participate in is repeating unnecessary words. Most don’t know that they are saying certain words over and over in conversation; such as, “like,” “you know,” “uh.” These filler words add nothing to a conversation and tend to annoy people. Again, this behavior can result in teasing or exclusion.

Rude Behaviors that Hurt Others

Rude behaviors that hurt others are much worse than the ones mentioned above, that only hurt the one doing them. These behaviors are the ones that will result in consequences such as loss of friends, loss of the respect of others, or making others angry at you. Likewise these behaviors can lead to be being disciplined, hurting someone’s feelings, or maybe even hurting them physically.  The rude behaviors here include teasing, staring, name-calling or put-downs, tattling, gossiping, ignoring, and all forms of bullying. On the other hand, these are the behaviors that schools are trying so hard to eliminate, but sadly, are doing so with mostly reactive measures.

The solution to improving our bullying climate is in proactively training kids as early as possible that these behaviors are not cool.  Kids will have more friends when they avoid these behaviors altogether. As a result, teaching your kids manners at home, before they experience these bullying behaviors, gives them the self-confidence to reject bullying and behave with kindness, respect, and civility.

Rude Rudy, Track 10, Cool Kind Kid Award-Winning CD

Friendship Do’s

Key to getting along in relationships with peers is learning to live The Golden Rule, “treating my friends that same way I want to be treated.” Treating friends with kindness, respect, and our best manners will help insure that we will have many friends. In other words; be a good friend to have many friends. Some friendship do’s include: putting a friend first, helping a friend, sticking up for a friend, keeping a friend’s secrets, cheering up and encouraging a friend. In addition, friends enjoy playing and doing homework together, hanging out, sharing toys, games, books, and making a new friend or student feel welcome and included.

Friendship Don’ts

The list of rude behaviors above is first and foremost on the Friendship Don’ts list. Some other friendship don’ts include exaggerating stories to make yourself look good, excluding people because they are different from you, and being rude or inconsiderate. Similarly, but even worse, is having to have everything your way, needing to be first, acting like a spoiled brat, or being bossy. No-one wants to be around kids who behave this way. In short, a little proactive training can insure that kids behave in ways that secure friendships for them.

Poem: Be My Friend

You are special
You’re unique
You’re one of a kind
You’re cool and neat

You can be my friend
We’ll have fun and share
I’ll respect and like you
Be kind and fair

Whatever we plan
Whatever we do
I’ll let you go first
That’s called “After You”

We’ll be friends in sports
We’ll be friends in school
I will always treat you
With The Golden Rule

The Best Friend I can Be, Track 11, Cook Kind Kid Award-Winning CD

Getting Together with Friends

One of the best things about having friends is spending time with them. Whether at each other’s homes, at parties, sleepovers, or other fun things to do, good manners and social skills apply in all. From accepting an invitation to thanking the child and/or parents afterward, your good manners will insure that you are invited back again. Additionally, in between those are the many rules for being a good guest, a good host, and treating the others attending with kindness and respect. In addition, one important reminder; don’t give out party invitations in school unless everyone in the class is invited. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. There’s that Golden Rule in action again. In conclusion, teaching your kids manners at home prepares them for many fun times with friends.

Margie’s Slumber Party, Track 12, Cool Kind Kid Award-Winning CD

Cool Kind Kid Award-Winning CD Song Clips – Free Sample Clips

More to Come

In conclusion, there is much more information to come on this topic.  It will be included in my next blog post. In the meantime, please read this article by The Center for Parenting Education.  It offers some great tips on teaching your children manners at home.

© Barbara Gilmour



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