Manners: Nina Style
Is encouraging our kids to become “little ladies and gentleman” an outdated concept or something not pushed enough by parents today? Given the way I used to mock my mother when I was a teenager, she won’t believe I think parents should teach manners often and as early as possible.
In the dating world my mom remembered, boys came inside the house and spoke to the parents before every single date. They opened doors, paid for an evening out, and generally called girls on the phone and not the other way around. By the time I was interested in boys (I was in high school and college from 1991-1999), it was common for girls/women to insist on splitting the check and even for some women to genuinely feel “offended” by the notion of having a door held open for her.
I’ll never forget how my mom grimaced at the idea of her daughters calling boys. I can only imagine what she thinks of the way young people communicate through texts and Facebook today and the general lack of “ladylike behavior” (as she would call it) that young women use when presenting themselves to the public. Of course she had rules for gentlemen as well. When a guy would pick me up for a date, even if it was a boyfriend I’d dated for over a year, she insisted he come to the door. One time when a date honked the horn and waited for me in the driveway, she guarded the door and wouldn’t let me out until he figured out to pick me up inside. It took him a long time to realize what he had to do, which begs the question: What were his parents teaching him about how to treat a lady? Or what were they not teaching him?
Now that I’m a parent, I appreciate my mom’s “old-fashioned” values. The crux of the issue is that good manners are not passed on to the next generation via osmosis.
One example of manners gone astray: Over the years I’ve had numerous children in and out of my house for play dates. Some kids say please, thank you, and no thank you. Some not only skip those basic manners, but literally stomp into my kitchen and demand a snack or even say, “What do you guys have?” I’ve seen some kids open and close my refrigerator repeatedly like a teenager might (my oldest is not even seven nor are his friends).
Believe me, I’m not judging the parents. Despite the constant discussions my husband and I have with the kids (even the 2-year-old) about good manners, I’ve seen my four-year-old walk into the pantry at a friend’s house and start looking through the shelves. Our almost-seven-year-old has never seen a napkin he intends to use and constantly interrupts adults. Nevertheless, I don’t think the fight for good manners is either hopeless or pointless. As they get older, we hope our kids will hear our message that certain behaviors are rude and unbecoming. We use the terms “lady” and “gentlemen” with our kids all the time. I find myself saying potentially “old-fashioned” statements like “ladies first” or “a gentlemen opens the door for his sisters.”
I’d love to hear other parents’ feelings on kids’ manners today. Do kids seem ruder because parents are not pushing manners enough? Do the expectations or lack of expectations at schools contribute to the problem? Do you think I’m crazy to consider the state of manners a “problem” in the first place? Looking forward to the discussion!
Now it’s your turn! Link up your post on the word MANNERS anytime this week and include the badge above linked back to this site. The code is available on the sidebar. Please visit a few other posts and show some love. If you are tweeting about your own post or a post you found and love, please use the #whatsyourword hashtag so we can all follow along. If you are seeing the series for the first time, check out the What’s Your Word page for a little more information. If you have a word you know you want to be all yours, just shoot me an email to be the featured post for the week.
Show me your Manners, leave a lovely comment and get ready for another round.
Next Week’s Word is Change!
I think this is perfect word for everyone, but for mother’s especially. My kids changed me forever. My life changed forever. Some of those changes were (and are) not easy. Write about what you feel or post a pic or a vlog! I love to hear your voices and see those faces!