Incivility: Cause and Cure, or Just a Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T
One of the more distressing realities of life today is incivility. Disagreements of every kind have been around forever, but the rudeness and nastiness of the way they’re expressed has been getting worse and worse. I remember when parents and teachers would reprimand kids with the saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” which is a grammatically cleaned-up version of what Thumper told Bambi when discussing their malodorous friend, Flower. That sounds about as current as "The Golden Rule," or words like “manners” and “decorum”. What has happened?
My guess is that the prominent adults we so often see engaging in childish, disrespectful discourse know better but have decided that the rules don’t apply to them. There is nothing we can do about their behavior, but as parents we can and must teach our children to speak and act respectfully to everyone, and insist that they do.
Here’s a list of just a few of the things you can teach your kids:
- Pleasantly greet members of the family, first thing, with “Good morning!”
- Look at people they are introduced to and give a pleasant response.
- Table manner: sit during the meal, ask for things to be passed, show appreciation for the food that has been prepared, whether it’s your favorite or not.
- At home, practice sitting quietly (without electronic devices) before going to a restaurant, and be amazed when people comment on your well-behaved children.
- Step back to allow smaller children to go ahead at the playground.
- Say “excuse me” if you accidentally bump into someone.
- Apologize for angry outbursts.
- Open the door for others, never shove ahead; be especially aware of the elderly or handicapped.
Above all, demonstrate respect in your home. Your children will be a blessing to others, and their future spouse will thank you!
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
Kaye is a certified leadership parent coach at ParentGuru.com.