As a parent, I always hoped and prayed my children would behave when we went out in public. Our lifestyle at home was much more relaxed, but I expected them to be on their best behavior at restaurants, church, or “get-togethers” with friends and family. I probably could have saved myself some headaches had I adopted a different philosophy and taught my children that their family deserved to see their best behavior.
In 1834, Eliza Farrar wrote in The Young Ladies Friend, “Would it not be more refined and honest to live a little better every day and make less a parade before company?” As a grandmother and teacher of young adults, I think Ms. Farrar was right. One of our goals as parents is for good manners to become habits for our children. If we expect our children to chew with their mouths closed at a restaurant but not at home, they probably won’t chew properly either at home or the restaurant! Having different rules of behavior can be confusing for children and not very practical in the long run. Children must practice, practice, practice, and the home is the best place to master skills in a safe loving, environment make civility to norm, not the exception.
So, how can we encourage children to make home a nice place to be? The following are a few suggestions.
• Always display respect for your parents and to those in authority.
• Make it a habit to pay compliments to each member of your family.
• Each week, do something special for a member of your family.
• When there is a need, quickly offer your services as a volunteer.
• Always practice good table manners.
• Be aware of the noise you make. Never disturb others nearby. Always open and close doors softly.
• When you walk up or down stairs, do it as quietly as possible.
• Before entering someone’s room, always knock or ask permission.
• When using the telephone, TV, or computer, always be considerate of others. These items are to be shared.
• Don’t wait to be asked to clean your room. Make it a lifelong habit.
• When parents ask you to help with household responsibilities, do it cheerfully and perform the task well.
• When someone you love has received good news, or bad news—write the person a personal note.
It might be fun to type the above list and post it on the refrigerator. Catch your child practicing one of behaviors and compliment them. There’s no place like home to have a good attitude, respect, and consideration for others.