“Politeness is a sign of dignity, not subservience.” – Theodore Roosevelt
We are living in a world that is supposed to be ultra-competitive. The burning desire to succeed is slowly resulting in a society where empathy isn’t valued much. However, our gross indifference is not a matter of pride; it’s a loss of our human fiber. Stuck in such a mix of aggressive values, children are bound to find what they observe as ‘normal’ and then stick to it. This could explain why elders of every passing generation remark on the decline of politeness amongst kids. To be fair to the little ones, they aren’t entirely at fault. There is a lot that the parents can do right to rectify this dire situation.
We at DIY, deal with kids on a daily basis and we notice how different kids behave differently under similar circumstances.
Based on our understanding, let us share our thoughts on this subject by suggesting a few tips –
Be a role model
Kids look up to parents not just because they are smaller and shorter. They quite literally emulate parents in every way possible – including the way they talk as well as walk. So, it’s important that parents understand their responsibility: be consciously polite with your children and others around you including your partner, fellow parents, friends, house help, etc. Your temper, voice, vocabulary, and resulting actions reflect on your character which in turn reflects on the child’s behavior.
Speak to your children
Nothing lets the child know that you are invested in their emotional well-being than a hearty conversation. Have a chat about why it’s necessary to be polite and kind in today’s world. But when you do so, just ensure that it doesn’t come across as an order. You can’t demand politeness because that itself would defeat the purpose. Best to let them know that politeness is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Appreciate as required
When they display good manners and polite behavior, make it a point to shower a few words of appreciation to let them know that they are doing fine. This feedback mechanism will let them know that their decent behavior is being observed and respected. Children vie for their parent’s approval more than anybody else’s. It’d be advisable to fill in the blank spaces whenever needed.
Start with the words
Sometimes, a child wants to express themselves but they fail to find the right words at the right moment. This is where words like ‘please’, ‘thank you, ‘excuse me, ‘sorry’, and ‘beg your pardon’ come into the picture. When your child listens to you using these words, they pick it up accordingly and use the same as well with people around them.
One of the oldest tenets in parenting is to never expect too much too early. Your children are growing and they are bound to err. It’s your place to let them breathe and pick themselves up. If you lose patience, you would be the one who is being impolite. Best to give them time to understand what it means to be polite in the first place.
Kids, of all ages, are fascinated by stories. Use wonderful yarns, referring to historical figures, to establish the necessity of good manners and gentle disposition. There are more than enough examples from the past, featuring popular figures, who showed how politeness is the key to developing good communication skills. Build on this and share your learnings with your kids.
No need for rewards
A quick solution to a child-related problem is to bribe them with rewards. This sets an unrealistic expectation for every time they are being nice. Instead, take a different approach wherein you teach them that being sincere is the only way to be and not something that needs to be rewarded.
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