YOUR CHILD Teach­ing your chil­dren man­ners

When teach­ing your chil­dren good man­ners, it is im­por­tant that you model the val­ues you are try­ing to in­stil in them

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Bonolo Sekudu

AS a par­ent, it is your re­spon­si­bil­ity to teach your chil­dren man­ners from a young age. Al­though chil­dren may pick up cer­tain be­hav­iour out­side the home, what they are taught at home, such as good val­ues and prin­ci­ples, will res­onate the loud­est. Of course teach­ings may dif­fer from par­ent to par­ent, but there is stan­dard be­hav­iour that so­ci­ety re­gards as man­ners, which you should in­stil in your child.

THE IM­POR­TANCE OF TEACH­ING MAN­NERS

Jo­han­nes­burg-based so­cial worker, Nthabiseng Madikgetla, says it is im­por­tant to teach your child man­ners that will en­able them to ac­cept oth­ers and be ac­cepted by oth­ers. “Re­spect is the foun­da­tion of ev­ery re­la­tion­ship and it is im­por­tant to teach chil­dren re­spect for them­selves and oth­ers. You must teach your child that re­spect is not only ap­pli­ca­ble to their in­ter­ac­tion with adults, but they also need to show the same re­spect to other chil­dren as well,” says Nthabiseng.

BA­SIC MAN­NERS

Nthabiseng says it's im­por­tant that you teach your child the fol­low­ing: Say­ing please and thank you: Teach your child to al­ways say “please” when they are ask­ing for some­thing and to say “thank you” when some­one does some­thing for them. Re­spect­ing other peo­ple's pri­vacy: Teach your child to al­ways knock on closed doors and wait for a re­sponse be­fore open­ing the door. They must also not go through other peo­ple’s stuff such as bags and cell­phones as this is dis­re­spect­ful and in­vades the other per­son's pri­vacy.

Ask­ing for per­mis­sion: It is im­por­tant to teach your child to never take some­thing that does not be­long to them with­out ob­tain­ing per­mis­sion from the owner. Teach them that in in­stances where they are not sure what to do, it is bet­ter to ask and get per­mis­sion on what to do.

Say­ing ex­cuse me: Teach your child to say “ex­cuse me” when they need to get through a crowd, bump into some­one or want to get some­one’s at­ten­tion. Teach them that it is also good man­ners to say “ex­cuse me” when they are in­ter­rupt­ing a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween two or more peo­ple and that this should not be done un­less some­thing is im­por­tant. Not us­ing foul lan­guage: Teach your child to

never use foul lan­guage and de­mean­ing words when talk­ing to oth­ers. Be­ing a good host: Teach your child to treat your guests with re­spect and be a warm and lov­ing host. They must show re­spect to adult guests and play nicely and share their toys with other chil­dren when they visit. Not laugh­ing at other peo­ple’s

sit­u­a­tions: Teach your child to never make fun of other peo­ple re­gard­less of how dif­fer­ent they are from them. Your child must know that peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and those who look dif­fer­ent de­serve re­spect and should not be mocked or made fun of.

STRUG­GLING TO TEACH MAN­NERS

Your child may not re­spond to how you teach them man­ners. The man­ner in which you ap­proach this may cre­ate a learn­ing chal­lenge for your child. This is be­cause par­ents teach through com­mu­ni­ca­tion and it is im­por­tant to say ex­actly what you want your child to hear and learn, ac­cord­ing to Nthabiseng.

She says the cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment of your child con­trib­utes to what they are able to un­der­stand and learn. Chil­dren in dif­fer­ent ages be­have dif­fer­ently and some of this be­hav­iour is age re­lated.

“You may find that there is very lit­tle con­nec­tion be­tween your child's be­hav­iour and what you are teach­ing them,” she says.

“Your child may not be learn­ing the man­ners you are teach­ing them as they have emo­tional or psy­cho­log­i­cal is­sues. Chil­dren do not al­ways have the abil­ity to ver­balise their feel­ings and thoughts and as a re­sult act them out. Your child may have dif­fi­culty learn­ing man­ners as a re­sult of men­tal health is­sues.”

Some men­tal health con­di­tions have symp­toms such as ag­gres­sion, im­pul­siv­ity and lack of so­cial skills. When you look at the be­hav­iour as­so­ci­ated with these symp­toms, it is easy to con­clude that the child has no man­ners. Chil­dren who are com­monly mis­judged to be lack­ing man­ners are later di­ag­nosed with men­tal ill­nesses such as At­ten­tion Hyper­ac­tiv­ity De­fi­ciency Disor­der (ADHD), Autism and Op­po­si­tional Defiance Disor­der (ODD).

MODEL THE BE­HAV­IOUR

Nthabiseng says if you want your child to have good man­ners, you must make sure you do as you say.

“The first step to hav­ing a man­nerly child is be­ing a man­nerly par­ent. Never sab­o­tage your chil­dren’s speech pat­terns by us­ing lan­guage you don’t want your chil­dren to mimic. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the best method of teach­ing and learn­ing and this also ap­plies to par­ents teach­ing their chil­dren man­ners. How­ever, there is proof that lit­tle chil­dren learn bet­ter through ob­ser­va­tion and they may not al­ways hear what you are say­ing, but will al­ways see what you are do­ing,” she says.

Re­mem­ber that pa­tience is im­por­tant when you are rais­ing a child. “As they grow older, they may look like they are not learn­ing and keep do­ing the op­po­site of what you are try­ing to teach them. Be pa­tient with your child and never give up. Teach­ing chil­dren good man­ners is not an event, but a never-ending process,” she says.

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