Teaching Kids to Mind Their Manners

If you reinforce some simple manners, you'll raise a polite, kind, well-liked child. (Image:  pixabay  /  CC0 1.0)
If you reinforce some simple manners, you'll raise a polite, kind, well-liked child. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Sometimes kids just don’t realize it’s impolite to interrupt, pick their nose, or loudly observe that the lady walking in front of them has a large behind. And in the hustle and bustle of daily life, busy moms and dads don’t always have the time to focus on proper manners. But if you reinforce some simple manners, you’ll raise a polite, kind, well-liked child.

The importance of properly greeting people

My cousin’s child is in junior high school, but never bothers to greet people. When her son was at summer camp, his mother told me: “The summer camp councilor is not close to my child.” I asked her: “Maybe it’s because your child did not know how to approach the councilor?” She pondered this and understood. When we met again, her son greeted me pleasantly and talked sweetly.

Chinese people don’t often tell you that your child is rude. When I was a child, I was not well-mannered, but my mother changed my bad habits. She taught me to smile and to greet everyone that I met, especially elders.

My mother devoted much of her life to teaching us to share, to be responsible and to always be optimistic. (Image: Nathan via flickr / CC BY 2.0 )

In reality, good manners are a key attribute. (Image: Nathan via flickr / CC BY 2.0 )

Good manners are the key

During a gathering, one of my friends told me: “This child of mine has never acknowledged people, but his academic performance is good, so I don’t bother to control him.” This benevolent father did not understand that manners do not necessarily come with intelligence.

In reality, good manners are a key attribute. The world will close its door to those with no manners. It is difficult to enter a conference room without proper manners, even with proper qualifications and skills.

Without manners, you will encounter obstacles

I have a female student in my English language class. We lived in the same building and I often met her in the elevator, but she never took the initiative to greet me.

Once, after the final exam,  I met her family outside the exam hall. Her mother asked about her daughter’s score. As usual, the girl did not bother to acknowledge me when we met. I thought to myself, it is important for the child to a least greet her teacher. Even if she received a top score, without proper manners, she will struggle in life.

I have a friend who is a music teacher. She told me that about the day she was not accepted for an internship at a private school in Zhuhai. Her piano and singing skills were the best among the applicants, but she was not selected. She felt it was not fair until someone told her: “The school did not accept you, not because you were not talented, but because you have no manners.”

Children want to be successful in the game or activity to win praise. (Image: Wellspring Community School via flicker / CC BY 2.0 )

Good manners is a form of upbringing, until it becomes a habit. (Image: Wellspring Community School via flicker / CC BY 2.0 )

Afterwards, she established a kindergarten group in Zhuhai. When she thought of the incident, she scoffed at herself:

Having good manners is a form of upbringing, until it becomes a habit. Learning good manners will help your child act toward others with respect and take into account their feelings. Your child will also gain the confidence that comes from knowing the proper thing to do.

Translated by Chua, B.C. and edited by Aizhu Lu.

Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our weekly email

 

The Chinese Phrase: ’A 3-inch Tongue’
The Buddha Statue of the Lama Temple