The normal parental course of action for manners training is constant correction. Eventually though, this can stress out even the calmest parent and child. So is there something more fun than cotillion (a Southern manners staple for the upper classes), to get a child to have good manners? I have listed a few ideas below to get you started.
Leave It To Beaver has probably one of the most annoying characters on early television. Eddie Haskell was a smooth talking teen whom all of the adults loved. He was mannerly and full of compliments. The kids all knew though that his middle name was actually “trouble” with a capital “T”.
Unfortunately, I think we are beginning to raise a lot of Eddie Haskell’s. I love to meet a child who has been taught good manners by his or her parents. Let’s face it, even marginal manners in a child (or an adult, but I digress!) are becoming more rare in our age of flash point anger, entitlement and a lack of personal responsibility. I applaud any parent who has taken the time and effort to insist that their children say “please” or hold open doors for other people.
Peter is one of my favorite apostles. Mainly, I think it is because we have very similar personalities. He is also probably one of the best examples of God taking someone from where he was. With Jesus’ love and training, God used Peter to do amazing things in His Kingdom. Peter was very likely a poorly educated fisherman, at least compared to someone like the apostle Paul. Yet Jesus took him from the fishing boat and worked with him patiently for three years. Let’s face it, Peter made some major mistakes that could have gotten him fired had the apostles been a corporation. Yet even after his denial of Jesus, Jesus still sought him out and worked with him. Just a few weeks later, Peter preached the sermon on Pentecost basically creating the first congregation of believers. Later God also used Peter to preach to Cornelius and open the church to Gentiles. Evidently, God can see past any weaknesses we have and help grow us to where he can use us.
My daughter likes to joke that the reason she doesn’t get punished very often is because she is an only child. Honestly, she is probably not too far off base with her assessment. If you analyze what you correct your children for, I would imagine much if it is a result of some sort of sibling conflict. The next most frequent category of stress, especially for parents of tweens and teens is the conflict between the child and one or more parents.
My husband and daughter will confirm for you that I am far from an expert on handling conflict. My training as a teacher, though, has taught me some better ways of handling disagreements. While it definitely won’t resolve all of the conflict issues in your home, it may eventually make them more pleasant to deal with when they do happen. (These are listed in no particular order.)
My daughter had probably one of the best kindergarten teachers in the history of education. She took a room full of little children from a variety of backgrounds and turned them into a sharp bunch of students. At the end of the year, all of the students made the principal a book. The other kindergarten classes had papers with writing that went everywhere and made little sense. Mrs. S had students whose work was just beautiful. The sentences looked like they had been written by much older children. Even the drawings were neat.
Mrs. S didn’t stop with academics. Her students were the best behaved and neatest students in the school. She demanded they wipe their feet before entering her room. She constantly washed their hands with Purell and expected them to behave. In fact, she had a reputation for being one of the strictest teachers in the school.
Yet the children absolutely adored her! They would do anything for Mrs S and had. Years after they left her classroom, many of them still kept in touch with her, even when she retired. After watching her in action for a year, I think she taught me a lot as a parent about how to get only the best from a child.