How to Raise a Well-Mannered Child

Toddler girl sharing blueberries with young mom
images by Tang Ming Tung / Getty Images

As you know, being a parent carries a tremendous amount of responsibility. Of course, children need to be fed, clothed, and loved. Something else they need is a healthy dose of manners and lessons on how to behave in public.

Armed with the knowledge of proper etiquette, your child will do better in business, be more socially acceptable, and generally be happier in all aspects of life. This is something that parents and caregivers need to teach the children. And then they need to reinforce it with constant reminders and rewards for good behavior.

Children don't have to be little statues, but they should know what's appropriate and what's not. For example, outside voices should stay outdoors, and when indoors, running and jumping around are generally not acceptable.

You can make etiquette fun. Instead of yelling every single time your children do something wrong, you can do a soft reminder. Another thing you can do is turn manners instruction into a fun etiquette game they'll remember long after the lesson is over.

Quote on Children's Manners

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers. “ ~Author Unknown

The above quote was inaccurately attributed to Socrates, a Greek philosopher who lived from 468-398 BC. If this quote is true, it definitely supports the idea that there is nothing new under the sun—children have been misbehaving since the beginning of time. Having a child who is disrespectful can be a source of constant embarrassment and distress to a parent.

Your child does not have to behave poorly; be encouraged and take action now. Remember that as adults we have the experience, poise, and grace to realize not to say the wrong thing, something we most likely learned from our parents and had reinforced by society. The key we must teach our children is to first be respectful in all things and to then think ahead before they open their mouths to speak.

Words of Encouragement and Advice

Children need to be taught to live well and be honoring. In addition to telling children what to do, parents should show by example. If you are modeling rudeness at home, do not expect your children to somehow turn out to be models of gracious behavior. Take responsibility for your child’s behavior and do something about it. Be a good role model that your child will want to follow.

Respect is caught and your child will catch the fine art of being mannerly, well-spoken, and respectful from your example and your discipline. If you teach your child at home that their inappropriate or rude remarks are cute and funny, he won’t be able to discern the problem when he is out socially. Begin at home.

Give your youngster positive reinforcement. Children love praise, especially when it comes from a parent or loved one. Very often parents respond only to their children’s undesirable behavior, ignoring their victories and positive actions completely. This choice may actually have the reverse result. Children want attention anyway they can get it—even if that means doing bad things. Encourage them to continue behaving well.

Teach five phrases that your child must master. These are "Thank you," "Please," "May I ..." "Excuse me," and "No, thank you." 

Be patient. Children are born self-centered and cry to make sure their needs are met. Every parent recognizes this very early in the parenting stages. Stay encouraged, just as with anyone learning how to do what is right, children need time to understand how to be mannerly. Teach them the importance of respecting other people’s feelings and needs, and you will go a long way toward achieving this end.

As the children learn to listen more, speak less, esteem others, and humble themselves, their Golden Rule behavior will begin to shine forth. At first, you'll need to give immediate feedback, until they master the skills. They'll eventually see the natural positive results from their good behavior, and that will encourage them to continue throughout life.

Respect Your Children

Children are little people and should be respected and treated as such. These future leaders, moms, dads, teachers and who knows what else must be groomed for success and personal presentation. Don’t neglect the opportunity to one day walk in the blessed knowledge and pleasure of one whose children are distinguished and honorable, having a good name and reputation. Expect more; you won’t be disappointed.


Edited by Debby Mayne