Written by Barbara Gilmour, NJ Mom Squad Team.
Manners and etiquette seemed to go out of fashion quite a few years ago. Our country is plagued with a lack of common courtesy, empathy and regard for others, and sometimes just plain rudeness. I’m sure you have all experienced “road rage” while driving, had a pleasant meal out ruined by screaming kids eating nearby, or watched an out of control parent embarrass their child at a sporting event that is supposed to be fun.
One of the key things we may not realize is those who have good manners and social skills are more confident, and others notice their behavior in positive ways. On the other hand, those with poor social skills usually are unaware that they are lacking in that area; they are clueless. However, those with good social skills are very aware of those who don’t have them. I’m not talking about how to hold your fork. I am talking about how you conduct yourself with others; and how we train our children to interact appropriately with others.
In a recent focus group with young parents, one of their biggest concerns was their child being “black balled;” being labeled as a kid with “bad behavior” who was excluded from play dates. Social skills matter wherever we (and our children) go. A child’s lack of social skills can lead to the behaviors that result in bullying.
Children (or adults) who routinely refuse to care about personal hygiene, what we call personal manners, leave themselves open to teasing, ignoring, and excluding, and these may lead to bullying. No one wants to be around someone who is offensive.
The teen who answers the phone or door with an attitude, just might find the baby-sitting or lawn cutting job that was being offered goes to someone else. A child who grosses others out at the table might not get invited to a birthday party, or maybe a school dance. We have a song called “Manners Matter Everywhere,” which shows kids in a fun way that it is important to take their manners with them whenever they go out their door.