The Gulf Today - Panorama - - PARENTING - By Ar­min Brott

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

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