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Could teaching our children courtesy, manners, consideration, and respect help to alleviate bullying?
In these days of “road rage,” vicious mud-slinging political campaigning all over the media, pervasive violence in media and other “entertainment,” what can we do to foster compassion, empathy, and consideration in our children?
First of all, we can keep in mind that “actions speak louder than words.” Parents modeling considerate, courteous behavior at all times to all people is probably the most powerful influence on our children’s behavior. Do you make disparaging remarks about or use disrespectful names for certain groups of people or gossip about individuals in front of your children? Be mindful of what you say, even unintentional utterances.
It may sound old-fashioned, but actively teaching your children about courtesy and manners is perhaps the best way to encourage them to become compassionate, empathetic, and considerate human beings.
From a practical standpoint, teaching your children manners can give them lifelong survival skills according to some etiquette experts. Kids who don’t have social graces are likely to have a more difficult time with friends, family, and teachers. Anything you can do to help your child learn essential social skills like peaceful conflict-resolution and relationship-building, will help them to become more successful, productive, and happy in the long run.
I’m sure many of us remember growing up being constantly “reminded” by our parents to “say please and thank you,” “shake hands with Uncle John,” “hold the door open for Grandma,” etc. Is it possible to encourage good manners without having to nag our children constantly? Well, fortunately there are many helpful online resources to show us the way. A Google search for “teaching manners to children” will reveal a wealth of useful links including fun games and songs to make learning manners enjoyable for you and your kids. Here are few to get you started: