Inspiring Mannerism in Children


Ms. Nandita Prakash
Education Advisor

We often blame the young generation to be mannerless and compare them to our generation. While the comparison is necessary, so is the self-analysis. Reflecting at our own childhood, our parents would insist on us wishing every elder person we see be it relatives, our neighbours or even helpers. That is how we could still smile and greet people out of habit. Are we as persistent as our parents in instilling such a basic mannerism of wishing people you see and meet? How many of us still make sure that our kids wish our drivers and nannies each morning? This basic mannerism is fading so much so that kids in school do not even wish all the teachers but their favourite ones. Neighbours they choose to ignore and helpers they disrespect. There is still a time and way in which we all can undo this misbehaviour developing in our children.

First and foremost, we have to teach children to sit and reflect on each misbehaviour that they must have shown during the day in your absence. Encourage them to think if it was right. Help them find out the positive alternative of their behaviour and do it in case of repetition of the same event/experience. Ask them if they felt better after self-correcting their behaviour. It is important for the child to experience and feel the good in them.

Every parent wants to be respected by their kids. Especially in their growing teenage years, children tend to dissociate emotionally from their parents as their dependency on parents begins to reduce. To avoid such dissociation, you have to work from their primary years. Kids will respect you when they see you respect your own parents. Near or far, they are ways in which you can show your respect and love for your own parents in front of your kids. They learn the loving behaviour and most assuredly follow the same. Make sure you make them talk to your parents as often as you do. Share talks about your parents, their positive behaviours and how lucky you feel to still have them around. Similarly share achievements of your kids with your parents and convey to them how happy their grandparents feel.

Do not cut them short when they are talking or interrupt them. Take turns while talking and have patience to listen to their entire conversation even if you already know what they are going to say or even if it’s a repetition. This will help them become much better at conversations and more confident. They would also learn to stay respectful during arguments.

Involve them in decision making. Small decisions such as “we are out of breads, what do you suggest we should do?” Agree to some of their ideas to give them the confidence of decision making. Give them compliments such as “wow! That’s a brilliant idea. How could you possibly think of that?” With time they will learn to respect your decisions as well. Such children, when they grow up, become polite in their conduct and behaviour, their personalities cannot be threatened easily by actions of other people.

Respect their privacy and ownership. Do not enter their room without a knock and permission. Just as you would like them to take permission while entering your room. Always ask before you take any of the objects which belongs to them even if it’s a pencil. Thank them as you return the object. Say a loud and clear sorry when you are wrong. All these manners become behaviours in children and stay for lifelong.

Never stop telling stories. Kids undergo a lot of confrontations with their peer group and that develops a state of confusion, self-doubt in kids. As parents if you are aware of what has been bothering them lately, you can tell them a story with a relevant moral in it while you are driving them to school or just having dinner. Just leave them to ponder over the moral of the story but make sure it is related to the answer that you wish to suggest. Stories are the best way to teach morals to children no matter how old they may get.

Never leave or enter your house without a hug. Not only for the release of Oxytocin, but also to reinstate belongingness and a sense of being loved. Do not stop it even if you may be angry with your kids. A simple hug can assure them that they can count on you at the time of crises. It keeps their self-esteem and sense of belongingness high. They are less likely to commit mistake or deliberate wrong doings.

Mannerism can be learned and not imposed. If you back bite other people in front of your kids, they are most likely to consider you unreliable. But if they find you a genuine person, they would trust you more than anyone else ever. Always remember “Children See, Children Do”


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