How do you teach your children to have manners if you don't have any yourself?? This is a question that I often have to bite back before I create some kind of play ground smack down but it is also something that really pisses me off.

I am sick to death of parents complaining about their kids having an attitude or no manners or whatever it is, when they don't actually do anything about it! I know parents have a lot of stress in their lives and I am also aware of the mother guilt we already carry around with us, without adding in the judgement of others. But the thing is you can't spend energy whinging about your kid's lack of manners or the way they are behaving if you are not prepared to spend any energy on actually doing something about it.

This has happened to me a number of times but it really got me thinking about it the other day when I was at Bunnings (somewhere I certainly do not frequent - so that was unusual in itself) and I took my two year old to the playground there because he was harping on about it and I felt was only fair, since he didn't want to be at Bunnings either.

So off we went to the playground which was unusually empty - yay! I thought to myself, I can sit outside the gate and watch him, because I don't have to worry about any issues with anyone else's ferals and he can just run around without incident. Anyhoo, as I got to the kid safe gate and held it open so he could run in, another mother and their child raced in from nowhere and in through the gate. It was not like the other mother was too short to have opened the kidsafe door herself (so I don't think she was waiting camouflage style), for someone else to open it.  Anyway, she trotted on in behind my feral but in front of me (as I was still holding the gate open) and she said ....... nothing. I had to bite back the "Why, you are welcome!" I mean would it kill anyone to say thank you?? I spend so much of my day teaching my kids please and thankyou (get your feet off the table, eat with your mouth closed etc) as I am sure so many other mothers do. So why is it that when the time comes to model the behaviour parents are after - it's a non event??

This free and easy attitude to manners came to mind again today with a trip my mother took to the movies with my son. She said they spent so much time waiting for people to stop fooling around and sit down in front of them, stop mucking about with their phones and basically shut the hell up that she wanted to come home for a rest and a cup of tea to get over it. Watching a movie at the movies is not the same as watching a movie at home and if you want to muck about, then wait till it comes out on DVD and do that mucking about at home. I am so sick of people and their inconsideration for others!! Which again reminded me of how uncommon manners appear to be now days and the fact that we are still teaching them to our kids.

So where are we losing out? Where is the lesson and the actually reality of manner taking place, short circuiting? It brings me back to our roles as mothers. It is our job to teach our children manners, it is our job to teach our children how to behave in relation to other people as they make their way in the world. So the next time you don't take an opportunity to teach your children how manners work - by chipping them if they are rude (don't just roll your eyes and laugh saying to others "Look I told you they had an attitude" and then not challenge their behaviour) or saying thank you the next time someone does something like hold a door open or pick something up or whatever it is for you - then don't go whining about nobody having any manners or how terrible your kids are. I don't want to hear about it. 

I shall get off my soapbox now. Thanks for listening. 

Anything getting on your goat lately about kids (or parents) and manners, I'd love to hear about it! 




09/25/2012 10:08pm


how wound up did you get with that word?

09/27/2012 2:16am

Depends whose using it and when. I did have to think about it for a moment. : )

09/26/2012 3:55am

Thanks Lee!! I know I am not the best mother in the world, but I am trying... I am constantly on my kids back to the point where I am exhausted. I am not coping at the best of times and at my wits end trying to bring the boys up mainly by myself....If you have any suggestions on how I could get rid of his attitude please advise me... I am open to suggestions! the last thing I need is people talking about how rude and feral my boys are....

09/27/2012 2:19am

I think ALL kids have feral moments. I guess my point is how it's handled at the time. But if you have chiped them about behaviour over and over again it is very exhausting and sometimes easier to ignore, which creates more problems. It is very hard policing that line in the sand!


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