Teaching Manners & Etiquette for Families - Laurie Tew of Oak City Etiquette

A Comprehensive Guide for Parents

Many people today ask the question, “Do manners still matter?”  The answer is a resounding “YES!”

By definition, civility is courtesy in behavior or speech.  The lack of civility in our society has never been more apparent. It seems people can no longer “agree to disagree” or have differing opinions. This has led to increased division, anger, and violence, which in turn causes anxiety and distress among all ages and sectors of society.

A comprehensive study of children aged 3-11 measured their level of self-control and its effect on their success. After following them 32 years, the results were overwhelming! Regardless of family situation, socioeconomic background, or various other factors, the results were the same: the participants with higher self-control at a young age had better physical and emotional health, financial stability, and meaningful relationships.

In contrast, those with low self-control at a young age had greater financial insecurity, criminal backgrounds, and poor health—including addiction.  Teaching civility to children is foundational to their overall well-being.

Having self-control is a result of learning to be courteous.  Teaching manners is more than a list of rules or do’s and don’ts.  Explaining WHY we should act in a certain manner shapes the ATTITUDE behind the behavior that results in courtesy shown to others and self. Treating others with courtesy, respect, and kindness begins with treating ourselves with respect.  Developing character takes time and effort.

As parents, we play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our children and our world. We are the first examples they follow. Let’s model civility for our children, and in turn teach them the importance of civility. 

How can you show courtesy today? Think of a few practical ways you can increase the “Courtesy Meter” in your home.  Make a fun game of “I Spy Courtesy” throughout the day and see who comes up the winner!

 At Oak City Etiquette, we believe the importance of teaching civility to children cannot be overstated. It is crucial for their overall success, and for the success of our society. 

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