Tuesday, September 8, 2009


It's back-to-school time. No more linen or white shoes...and no more flip flops--please! Autumn is just around the corner. Back-to-school time is a great time to start fresh with your child's behavior training.

Good manners should start at home. Unfortunately, in today's fast-paced world, parents rarely have the time to teach their children proper etiquette skills. Also, if parents don't know how to behave, then children rarely have a chance to learn etiquette skills. Nowadays, most parents send their children off to daycare or school with the attitude of "You fix 'em--I don't have time!"

On a visit to the library, I overheard this...A mother came in with three children--two teenagers and a small child, who was about three years old. Of course, the little one was squirming and fussin'. The mother and the teenagers kept putting their index finger in front of their mouths and shushing her. I looked up and giggled--well, she was a small child, after all. To my horror, a few moments later, I heard the mother tell the little girl to "Shut the **** up!" I simply cannot imagine my mama ever talking to me that way. The worse thing I ever heard my mama say was, "I swannee!" A genteel Southern lady like my mama would never even say "I swear," and that's what I swannee means in Southern talk. So, that was my mama's idea of cussin' and it was reserved for those times when she was about to explode with anger...she's soooo Southern!

Parents should set a good example for their children. They should also take responsibility and teach their children how to behave before they send them off to school. Remember that today's children are tomorrow's leaders. Here's some tips that might help you get started teaching your child how to behave:

~Teach your child to share with others.
~Teach your child to wait their turn.
~Teach your child not to interrupt while others are speaking.
~If you show respect to others, your child will learn a valuable lesson from you.
~Teach your child the importance of being honest.
~If you practice kindness by using kind words like "please, thank you, you're welcome, and excuse me," your child will learn another valuable lesson from you.
~Praise your child when they show good manners.
~Remember to lead by example!

Here's a couple of etiquette books I recommend to parents of small children and teenagers:

For little girls...this one is just the best...White Gloves and Party Manners, by Marjabelle Young (Stewart) and Ann Buchwald
Stand Up, Shake Hands, Say "How Do You Do?" by Marjabelle Young Stewart and Ann Buchwald...an excellent book for little boys

Teen Manners, From Malls to Meals to Messaging and Beyond, by Cindy Post Senning and Peggy Post...a must-have for teenagers. This book answers questions that come up in real life.

Any of these books would make a great gift for a child or teenager. Even better, study the book with them and brush up on your own etiquette skills!

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it."
Proverbs 22:6

Thank you so much for stopping by today.


tintarosa said...

We called my Grandmother - Ma'am. My brother named her Ma'am because everyone made him say "yes Ma'am" and "no Ma'am". She loved hearing us call her Ma'am especially in front of her friends.

Anonymous said...

All wonderfully said!! Thanks!!

QueenBeeSwain said...

Miss Janice- Fhank you for the reminder from my momma! she teaches elementary school and is pulling out the Tiffany's Table Manners for Teenagers to read and discuss with her classroom this month!


Hattie said...

Oooh, Miss Janice! How I agree with you on teaching young children manners and leading by example.

Thank you for this much needed post.

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Manners are so needed in our society today. I'm afraid that a lack of manners has become the norm for adults and for children. Unfortunately, your experience in the library sounds way too normal. Thank you for your efforts to do something about it. laurie

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Oh Yes! The manners seem to get worse every year. When I saw "September Is National Children's Good Manners Month" I thought "Too bad it's not just National Good Manners Month -- for all ages!"

Bamawhitney said...

Thank you for this wonderful post!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed your post. I still say "I swanee" sometimes. sometimes often.

Thank you for suggesting White Gloves & Party Manners. I think I'll try to find it for my girls.

Nanette said...

Hi Miss Janice,
It always makes me so sad/mad/annoyed to hear parents cussing at their children. Think how awful it is when it comes from outside, but when it is the people we trust, well that's just horrible and there is absolutely no reason for it. Maybe the mom will take the opportunity while at the library to look into a good thesaurus. Oh, I could just go on but I'll stop there.:)Have a good Wed.!

Anonymous said...

I shake hands & say "How do you do" and so do my children...I can't believe how many people comment on that...I've even had people chuckle about having nice manners...so strange...Great post. Nice manners have to be taught from the beginning, I can't stand when people let their kids act like maniacs & say "well they are little"...no way.

M. L. said...

I need to do a better job of teaching my child not to interrupt others while they are speaking. That concept is still a bit for her although she isnt doing too badly.

Kathie Truitt said...

I saw a young mother with a newborn baby - oh, so tiny - in a shoe store. The baby was wailing and the mother said 'Shut the f*** up.'

I couldn't believe it! I tried not to judge and just put it up to a young mother not having enough sleep,etc. (Although, honestly I'd almost rather die than have my children hear me saying something like that - especially to them!) Anyway, I said to her, "Oh, honey, these days are hard. I remember having a newborn and it can be so hard. Can I maybe help you? Hold the baby while you try shoes on?"

She then told me to 'Shut the f*** up.' I was flabbergasted.

I know I probably should have minded my own business, but I just felt that was a child abuse waiting to happen.

So sad.(sigh)


Miss Janice said...

That is verrrry sad!
Miss Janice

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Great post- thank you! I will pick up that last book as I am going to do a short program for my sorority girls. The lack or manners and respect that I deal with from my college kids would knock you over, Miss Janice. None of them know how to "mind their P's and Q's". If you have any other tips or resources you think I should use, please let me know!!

Ginny said...

Thank you for helping me be the Belle of the Ball at the wedding in North Carolina. I followed your instructions to the Tea!!! Pun intended...We wedding was at a beautiful farm and wonderfully elegant. Thank you again from your 'Southern' California fan.

Ldy ~~ Dy said...

Thank you Miss Janice for the reminders on teaching our young good manners!! I will look for the book to give to my daughter. It's always good to have information one can use to raise a young boy! My little grandson is a joy...yet every little thing helps to guide them along the right path.

Princess Freckles said...

If only you could come to the library where I work and teach these parents a thing or two! I was considering hosting a "Manners Class" here this Spring myself. I remember attending one as a girl and I loved it!

Lexilooo said...

I'm always amazed by how parents talk to their children, and vice versa. I was always taught to call adults Mr. and Mrs. Even today, I still call "adults" Mr. and Mrs. and I am 29!

Kate said...

Good manners really do make a difference!

Michelle said...

Alway timely advice! It is a challenge in today's world to instill manners and kindess in children, but so worth every effort.

Kerree said...

Just ordered these books from Amazon. I think my kids are pretty well-mannered (I have been training them for a while) but it will be nice to see if there's anything I missed. Thanks for the recommendation.

Nabeel said...

a comment about your blog header image. The table picture, I think there's just too much going on at the table. Whatever happened to simplicity and lots of space? The table has too many decoration pieces and no room for movement. I love the colors though

Miss Janice said...

Thanks for stopping by...Yes, there certainly is a lot going on with ALL my tablescapes:) That's the way I like it! However, I do appreciate your honesty.