See if you can imagine this. You’re eating out with your friends, you go to order your lunch and as you finish giving your order, your friend leans in and says in your ear, “and did you say please to the waitress?”, reminding you to use your manners.

What the heck? I mean, do they think you’re a child or something?

We think of that as being odd, because we reserve that kind of treatment for children. We do this in the name of teaching them ‘manners’.

I’m not sure who came up with this ridiculous idea, but it’s certainly time for a rethink.

It seems like adults get so caught up in trying to force children to be respectful and polite, that they forget that the example they are setting is not exactly encouraging either of those things.

Let’s face it. We can’t control another person. Sure, maybe they’ll say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’  to avoid your disapproval and judgement, but will they mean it? Will it come from the heart? Unlikely. What is way more effective, is instead,  model the choices and values that are important to you.

7 Manners ADULTS Need to Practice

how to be Nice to your kids

1. Say thank you

Everyone’s so concerned with controlling kids through praise that you’re more likely to hear a ‘good girl/boy’ than a genuine heartfelt ‘thanks’. But what’s more  meaningful is just a simple thank you! Just appreciate them! That’s not only the most respectful and polite thing to do, but the best way to model good manners.

2. Apologize

Parents make mistakes too. When you make a mistake, apologize. Children deserve that. They are people. Again, the best way to encourage things you value is to actually model them yourself.

3. Respect their stuff

Nobody likes people to disrespect their things. Kids are no different. Holding the power of being a parent over a child’s head by expecting rights over their things is wrong. Children have the right to own things. You want them to respect your belongings? Respect theirs.

4. Listen when they talk

This is probably one of the rudest acts a parent can do to their child. When someone talks to you, the polite thing to do is listen. When you don’t listen to your child, you teach them not to listen to you.


5. Don’t laugh at them

Nobody likes to be laughed at.  Age doesn’t change that.

6. Be respectful

We all deserve to be respected. Many adults think that respect is given only because of age, no matter how they before.  Yes you deserve to be treated respectfully, but don’t assume it is expected. If you want respect, give it-even to children.

7. Don’t dismiss feelings

We don’t tell an adult that is upset to stop crying.  Just because children are still learning to regulate their emotions,  doesn’t mean they are any less valid. The right response to emotion is always empathy at any age.

What are you modeling for your children?