The Art of Raising Well Mannered Children
In today’s times, when social interactions are the key to survival, attending parties, eating out, interacting with people has become part of our daily lives. Going out with kids can turn into a nightmare, if they are not taught how to behave in company of others. Contrary to popular belief it is possible to train your kids so that they grow up with beautiful manners both inside and outside the house. Here are some suggestions:
Set expectations right: Right from the time your child is a toddler make sure that he understands what you expect from him. The sense that his parents expect a certain behaviour from him early on, will train him to work within those boundaries as he grows older. Explain to him why he is expected to do something rather than just preach it to him as if it is the gospel truth. For instance, you could explain why you are asking him to have a banana rather than a chocolate bar before his sports activity. The knowledge that a banana will give his body more energy than a chocolate and it will help him in his sports activity more will make this idea more acceptable to him.
Be a role model: Show your child what good behaviour is all about by being a living, talking role model. So curb your desire to scream when frustrated, put your dirty laundry away first, eating with proper table manners and you will be pleasantly surprised to see your kids following suit. This is a much effective tool than constant nagging and yelling.
Tap the power of praise: Always remember to praise your child for good behaviour or even if he makes efforts in that direction. This will boost his confidence and give him a sense of accomplishment. So next time your older son shares his coveted toy with his sister or puts away his toys lavish him with praise.
Empower him with decision making skills: In many cases your child might be behaving badly, as he feels that he has no control over the situation. So when he refuses to have a bath before bed time be firm; but tell him that he can choose which pyjamas to wear and what toys to play with in the water. Similarly giving him the choice in school snacks and dinner menu (listed by you) will reduce meal time battles. Putting the ball in his court will make him more responsible for his actions.
Ease your child into feeling empathetic: It is very difficult to’ teach’ your child to feel empathetic towards another human being. You can slowly steer his mind to think about people other than himself. So if he yanks away a toy from his friend, gently ask him afterwards “How do you think Riya would have felt when you yanked away the toy from her?” This will prompt him to think about other person’s feelings as well.
Remember that no two children are alike so refrain from unnecessary comparisons with the neighbour’s angelic child. Cut your child some slack and give him time to get his act together. The idea is to be consistent and never give up and sooner or later your child will start behaving well.