MIND YOUR MANNERS
Q: I’m a little old fashioned, but I believe in manners. When is the right time to teach them to children?
A: In the early stages of parenthood, we don’t care much about manners. Our infant’s loud burps (and other bodily sounds) usually elicit laughter, and as children learn to speak, we consider their inadvertent insults or seemingly rude behaviour rather adorable. But as children get into preschool and start having playdates and doing the birthday party circuit, manners become increasingly important.
Unfortunately, teaching manners isn’t easy. If pre-schoolers could draw a picture of the universe, they’d put themselves at the very centre. They want to be first, best, strongest, and they want everyone around them to notice. They couldn’t care less about anyone else’s needs.
You’ve probably already started teaching your child manners. When he wants more green beans (okay, white rice), you prompt him to say “please.” And when she receives a present, you encourage her by asking, “What do you say to Grandma?” While “please” and