Respect and Manners

First we had a member of Congress screaming “liar” at the president, then a tennis star ranting at a judge and finally a musician jumping on stage when he had no place being there and stealing the spotlight. All of these have happened in the past week and in each of them I wanted to cuff them side the head and ask, “didn’t your parents teach you better?”

Manners and respect are a hard thing to teach kids. We had friends over for dinner last weekend and as their daughter jumped out of the car and reacted less then positive to something she was told to do my friend hugs me and asks, “does this manners thing eventually get easier?”

Respect

We’ve always had strict rules in our house about respecting adults, treating others with respect and using manners whenever appropriate. I wish I could tell you that it is an easy thing to teach, but it isn’t. What I’ve found is that the best way to do it is repetition. You need to constantly remind them and eventually it’ll crack through and they will listen.

A zero tolerance policy is also important. You can’t bend or it won’t work. Even the littlest thing has to be reminded. I can’t tell you how many times at the dinner table over the course of a week I have to remind the kids to chew with their mouths closed. I do it every time though because I know they will get sick of hearing it (I did when growing up) and eventually it’ll build in them a hate for other people doing it as well. Some day I won’t have to remind them. It’ll become second nature to them.

Boys are extra tough in my mind because we have to teach them extra respect and values. I’m sure that is a little old fashion to say, but I firmly believe it. Case in point that one of my sons best friends is a girl. They are total buddies and one day at school she took his jacket during recess and he hit her on the arm. He got in trouble for this and was completely confused by it because similar things like this happen all the time with his male friends and no one gets in trouble.

It was the perfect time to start laying down the law on the level of respect you must show a woman. Again a zero tolerance policy when it comes to hitting women. Yes, this was a playful tap between two friends, but I want to make sure he knows the difference and he does now. But, again I didn’t just blow off this like I could have but used it as something to reinforce the respect factor.

I don’t have all the answers. I’m figuring this out day-to-day with the kids as we are living through it. But, this week with all these people making tons of money and being watched by the world behaving so poorly really tweaked me. Whenever I see other parents letting their kids run all over them that tweaks me as well.

The only way we are going to have a next generation of well behaved individuals is if they are raised to respect themselves and others and know the manners that are appropriate in each situation. Take the time. Be tough with your kids on this and don’t let them slip. When they do slip, make sure you are there to discipline and teach them so that it doesn’t happen again.

How are you teaching your kids manners and respect? Any secrets to help the rest of us out?

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C.C. Chapman is the Founder of Digital Dads and the Author of Content Rules. He is a family first entrepreneur with two great kids (a boy and a girl) who loves the outdoors, cooking, photography and playing with technology. He consults with companies around the globe to help them embrace the new world of marketing and business. C.C. is a sought after speaker, photographer and content creator who looks forward to each day as a new adventure.

18 Responses to “Respect and Manners”

  1. Jon Michaeli Says:

    CC – I agree 100% on the zero tolerance policy, but sometimes it’s hard to follow through. For example, you’re about to leave the house for a fun activity, and you’d like to tell your son he now needs to stay at home because he hit his brother, but that would mean the rest of the family would suffer indoors on a nice sunny day.

    That said, I frequently feel like a broken record and ALWAYS reinforce good manners, especially those relating to the respect of others. On multiple occasions this summer, I felt extremely proud of my kids (ages 2 and 3), when they appropriately said “Sorry” or “Thank you” to people. The response is usually “What well behaved children.”

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any secrets to share. I do find that positive reinforcement for good behavior is more effective than punishment for bad behavior. And as you know, kids love to test to see if you mean business, so credibility is key.

  2. Jon Michaeli Says:

    CC – I agree 100% on the zero tolerance policy, but sometimes it’s hard to follow through. For example, you’re about to leave the house for a fun activity, and you’d like to tell your son he now needs to stay at home because he hit his brother, but that would mean the rest of the family would suffer indoors on a nice sunny day.

    That said, I frequently feel like a broken record and ALWAYS reinforce good manners, especially those relating to the respect of others. On multiple occasions this summer, I felt extremely proud of my kids (ages 2 and 3), when they appropriately said “Sorry” or “Thank you” to people. The response is usually “What well behaved children.”

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any secrets to share. I do find that positive reinforcement for good behavior is more effective than punishment for bad behavior. And as you know, kids love to test to see if you mean business, so credibility is key.

  3. mikemost Says:

    nice one C.C… the zero tolerance aspect is also one of the toughest thing for a parent to keep up with. Not that I wish to give the Darwin Idiots of the Week and more focus but all of the instances you reference shows the exact example of what not to do. That said, there was also a scuffle over on the ball field with a certain umpire and the NYY.. but I won’t go there either because I think that is when a sport and the line of authority has become a little too blurred with when you can or can’t “challenge” authority. Respect and and an “authority” figure are two separate things.

    As a matter of fact, sitting at the traffic light last night coming home I see in the parking lot what appears to be a father shouting and raising his arms, pointing and chastising what appears to be a 12 yr old (only assuming it is his son) and all I think is being in that boys head and the fact that he is not listening at all. He is only remembering what an ass his father is.

    Kids need to be taught respect but parents need to learn that just because they have a child they are not a superior person on this planet. Now unfortunately I am going to guess all of the Dad’s reading this don’t treat their kids like garbage and are looking to improve their ways and determine how to better manage family life.

    Kids need respect too.

  4. mikemost Says:

    nice one C.C… the zero tolerance aspect is also one of the toughest thing for a parent to keep up with. Not that I wish to give the Darwin Idiots of the Week and more focus but all of the instances you reference shows the exact example of what not to do. That said, there was also a scuffle over on the ball field with a certain umpire and the NYY.. but I won’t go there either because I think that is when a sport and the line of authority has become a little too blurred with when you can or can’t “challenge” authority. Respect and and an “authority” figure are two separate things.

    As a matter of fact, sitting at the traffic light last night coming home I see in the parking lot what appears to be a father shouting and raising his arms, pointing and chastising what appears to be a 12 yr old (only assuming it is his son) and all I think is being in that boys head and the fact that he is not listening at all. He is only remembering what an ass his father is.

    Kids need to be taught respect but parents need to learn that just because they have a child they are not a superior person on this planet. Now unfortunately I am going to guess all of the Dad’s reading this don’t treat their kids like garbage and are looking to improve their ways and determine how to better manage family life.

    Kids need respect too.

  5. macedonia Says:

    where narcissism is allowed to thrive (the attitude of “it’s all about me”), bad manners can quickly take over. i have a three year-old daughter who’s still working her way through the toddler’s creed of “it’s mine.” however, she’ll surprise my wife and i by wanting to share something and not be prompted to do so – she offers on her own. she learned that through repetition, from mom and dad reinforcing how important it is to share and how to think about the feelings of others.

    i’m right with C.C. regarding chewing with your mouth closed – that’s a big one in my house, too. every night at dinner, it’s the same thing with her daughter. gotta keep at it – eventually it will stick.

    seriously, i am of the opinion that narcissism is at the root of all other -isms that either separate people (racism, sexism) or can quickly turn ugly if not handled properly (materialism, nationalism). at the end of the day, they’re reinforced by the attitude that “it’s all about me.” it’s become clear to me that if there’s any hope for the next generation having patience and understanding for each other, parents have to step up their game at home in terms of instilling manners and respect. at the same time, i have to remember to praise my daughter when she does something well while laying down the discipline. she’s my one and only child right now, so this parenting thing is still very new to me…still working to strike a balance and it isn’t an easy task…

  6. macedonia Says:

    where narcissism is allowed to thrive (the attitude of “it’s all about me”), bad manners can quickly take over. i have a three year-old daughter who’s still working her way through the toddler’s creed of “it’s mine.” however, she’ll surprise my wife and i by wanting to share something and not be prompted to do so – she offers on her own. she learned that through repetition, from mom and dad reinforcing how important it is to share and how to think about the feelings of others.

    i’m right with C.C. regarding chewing with your mouth closed – that’s a big one in my house, too. every night at dinner, it’s the same thing with her daughter. gotta keep at it – eventually it will stick.

    seriously, i am of the opinion that narcissism is at the root of all other -isms that either separate people (racism, sexism) or can quickly turn ugly if not handled properly (materialism, nationalism). at the end of the day, they’re reinforced by the attitude that “it’s all about me.” it’s become clear to me that if there’s any hope for the next generation having patience and understanding for each other, parents have to step up their game at home in terms of instilling manners and respect. at the same time, i have to remember to praise my daughter when she does something well while laying down the discipline. she’s my one and only child right now, so this parenting thing is still very new to me…still working to strike a balance and it isn’t an easy task…

  7. macedonia Says:

    where narcissism is allowed to thrive (the attitude of “it’s all about me”), bad manners can quickly take over. i have a three year-old daughter who’s still working her way through the toddler’s creed of “it’s mine.” however, she’ll surprise my wife and i by wanting to share something and not be prompted to do so – she offers on her own. she learned that through repetition, from mom and dad reinforcing how important it is to share and how to think about the feelings of others.

    i’m right with C.C. regarding chewing with your mouth closed – that’s a big one in my house, too. every night at dinner, it’s the same thing with her daughter. gotta keep at it – eventually it will stick.

    seriously, i am of the opinion that narcissism is at the root of all other -isms that either separate people (racism, sexism) or can quickly turn ugly if not handled properly (materialism, nationalism). at the end of the day, they’re reinforced by the attitude that “it’s all about me.” it’s become clear to me that if there’s any hope for the next generation having patience and understanding for each other, parents have to step up their game at home in terms of instilling manners and respect. at the same time, i have to remember to praise my daughter when she does something well while laying down the discipline. she’s my one and only child right now, so this parenting thing is still very new to me…still working to strike a balance and it isn’t an easy task…

  8. Michelle Snow Says:

    I’m not a parent, but I do think the subject of showing respect for one another needs to be addressed and reinforced in everyone, not just kids.

    I think as a whole, our society has gotten to used to excusing bad behavior and even encouraging it — ever watched an episode of any of the MTV or VH1 “reality” shows? These people are becoming famous because they exhibit bad behavior on TV, not because they contribute anything positive to society as a whole. Look at people like Heidi and Spencer, who constantly exhibit bad behavior, yet they’re getting magazine covers and other shows and tons of money to boot. Yet all they do is be rude and narcissistic on camera. And this is what kids are seeing. Be rude and you, too, can make thousands of dollars and be famous.

    I was brought up on the golden rule of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I would never want someone to be deliberately rude to me, so I try really hard to show everyone respect, even if I disagree with them.

    I also think along respect, kids need to be taught the other two R’s – rights and responsibilities. Like we all have the right to say what we want, but it needs to be tempered with the responsibility to know when and how we say it. Like Kanye had the right to spout his opinion on the VMA’s, but he also should have accepted the responsibility to know that jumping on stage during Taylor’s moment in the spotlight was not the time to do it.

  9. Michelle Snow Says:

    I’m not a parent, but I do think the subject of showing respect for one another needs to be addressed and reinforced in everyone, not just kids.

    I think as a whole, our society has gotten to used to excusing bad behavior and even encouraging it — ever watched an episode of any of the MTV or VH1 “reality” shows? These people are becoming famous because they exhibit bad behavior on TV, not because they contribute anything positive to society as a whole. Look at people like Heidi and Spencer, who constantly exhibit bad behavior, yet they’re getting magazine covers and other shows and tons of money to boot. Yet all they do is be rude and narcissistic on camera. And this is what kids are seeing. Be rude and you, too, can make thousands of dollars and be famous.

    I was brought up on the golden rule of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I would never want someone to be deliberately rude to me, so I try really hard to show everyone respect, even if I disagree with them.

    I also think along respect, kids need to be taught the other two R’s – rights and responsibilities. Like we all have the right to say what we want, but it needs to be tempered with the responsibility to know when and how we say it. Like Kanye had the right to spout his opinion on the VMA’s, but he also should have accepted the responsibility to know that jumping on stage during Taylor’s moment in the spotlight was not the time to do it.

  10. Doug Haslam Says:

    CC- Great post. As you know, our son is 11 years old, and the manners thing is a constant project. He is usually pretty good, but occasionally will fall off the wagon in front of us, when it is harder to discipline him in front of his friends.

    Over time, the reinforcement pays off, and when our son has to fend for himself his manners ahave been very good.

    I tell other parents to let us know if he doesn’t show his manners, but we get good reports. Of course, maybe they’re being polite ;)

  11. Doug Haslam Says:

    CC- Great post. As you know, our son is 11 years old, and the manners thing is a constant project. He is usually pretty good, but occasionally will fall off the wagon in front of us, when it is harder to discipline him in front of his friends.

    Over time, the reinforcement pays off, and when our son has to fend for himself his manners ahave been very good.

    I tell other parents to let us know if he doesn’t show his manners, but we get good reports. Of course, maybe they’re being polite ;)

  12. zengrrl dot com » Blog Archive » the 3 R’s of human interaction Says:

    [...] Chapman over at Digital Dads has some good points to make on this topic, too, especially when it comes to [...]

  13. Christopher Moore Says:

    We have to keep at it.

    Consistently remind kids what is right and what is wrong. But don’t make examples of them in front of others. And keep a gentle balance of demanding respect, while giving them respect. The short answer? There is no short answer. Life’s a bitch! We are all flying by the seat of our pants here.

    My biggest problem, is explaining why the other kids never learned respect and manners. I know it is because their parents never learned these things. And maybe their parents never learned, and so on… but how do we explain this to our kids? How do we explain people who don’t know any better, or who don’t love their kids enough to teach them right from wrong?

    I remember my parents’ discussing right from wrong, good manners and respect. But the topic of neglect must have been one they avoided.

    … Chris

  14. Christopher Moore Says:

    We have to keep at it.

    Consistently remind kids what is right and what is wrong. But don’t make examples of them in front of others. And keep a gentle balance of demanding respect, while giving them respect. The short answer? There is no short answer. Life’s a bitch! We are all flying by the seat of our pants here.

    My biggest problem, is explaining why the other kids never learned respect and manners. I know it is because their parents never learned these things. And maybe their parents never learned, and so on… but how do we explain this to our kids? How do we explain people who don’t know any better, or who don’t love their kids enough to teach them right from wrong?

    I remember my parents’ discussing right from wrong, good manners and respect. But the topic of neglect must have been one they avoided.

    … Chris

  15. Eric Says:

    Lots a great replies already. The fist thing that came to mind as I read the article (I have 3 boys – 14, 12 and 8) is that it’s easy to “tell” you kids to be respectful but it’s a lot harder to consistently demonstrate it. (in traffic, talkig politics, talking about neighbors, etc). Oh sure, it’s easy to show them how to hold a door for a lady, but what about other times when we want to spout off in front of them?

    For the guy who questions consistency (ex – cancel a family trip because one hit the other). Let the punishment fit the crime. Consistency is about not excusing it, not about the strictest punishment in all circumstances. We need to evaluate the the situation. Bottom line – we have to think smart and focus on the outcome that we want from the situation. Same goes for “nagging”. If you are constantly saying the same thing over and over, are you really affecting change in your child or are they tuning you out? Maybe switch things up a little. Even at 14, my son will stand in the corner for 10 min for disrespecting his brother. Not every time, but enough to make the point. At other times, they have vaccummed the offended brother’s room or carried laundry for them. Drives home the point of who they have offended and who needs to be restored.

    Great example this past w/e. my son’s football game was postponed for weather from Sat to Sunday (opening day for pro football). quite a few parents were unhappy. they were more unhappy when we were short some key players and got stomped by a far superior team. That turned to a lot of parents bitching about coaching methods and practice schedules. Several, I am sure, openly discussed this in front of their kids after the game.

    There was some banter where I encouraged one dad to be the example for his kid and show him how to interact positivly with the coaching staff (volunteers btw). I said that his tone and example was a disservice to his son. His reply – “disservice my ass, I have the right to speak my mind, I think it’s called free speech”. This man is openly demonstrating to his son a lack of respect for those who are volunteering their time 3 nights/week and weekends because the results aren’t what he expected. I’ll bet at some other time he’ll tell him to respect others and wonder why he doesn’t.

    Being the example is far more important than what you say. Hard words for all of us.

  16. Eric Says:

    Lots a great replies already. The fist thing that came to mind as I read the article (I have 3 boys – 14, 12 and 8) is that it’s easy to “tell” you kids to be respectful but it’s a lot harder to consistently demonstrate it. (in traffic, talkig politics, talking about neighbors, etc). Oh sure, it’s easy to show them how to hold a door for a lady, but what about other times when we want to spout off in front of them?

    For the guy who questions consistency (ex – cancel a family trip because one hit the other). Let the punishment fit the crime. Consistency is about not excusing it, not about the strictest punishment in all circumstances. We need to evaluate the the situation. Bottom line – we have to think smart and focus on the outcome that we want from the situation. Same goes for “nagging”. If you are constantly saying the same thing over and over, are you really affecting change in your child or are they tuning you out? Maybe switch things up a little. Even at 14, my son will stand in the corner for 10 min for disrespecting his brother. Not every time, but enough to make the point. At other times, they have vaccummed the offended brother’s room or carried laundry for them. Drives home the point of who they have offended and who needs to be restored.

    Great example this past w/e. my son’s football game was postponed for weather from Sat to Sunday (opening day for pro football). quite a few parents were unhappy. they were more unhappy when we were short some key players and got stomped by a far superior team. That turned to a lot of parents bitching about coaching methods and practice schedules. Several, I am sure, openly discussed this in front of their kids after the game.

    There was some banter where I encouraged one dad to be the example for his kid and show him how to interact positivly with the coaching staff (volunteers btw). I said that his tone and example was a disservice to his son. His reply – “disservice my ass, I have the right to speak my mind, I think it’s called free speech”. This man is openly demonstrating to his son a lack of respect for those who are volunteering their time 3 nights/week and weekends because the results aren’t what he expected. I’ll bet at some other time he’ll tell him to respect others and wonder why he doesn’t.

    Being the example is far more important than what you say. Hard words for all of us.

  17. Laurens (from Can-EH!-Dia) Says:

    Manners and dicyplin: Some great ideas have been expressed already via CC and the comments. Concistancy, Vigilance and most importantly, RESPECT.

    I am the happy father of a 2 1/2 year old girl, and right from the beginning, both Mommy and Daddy (that’s me) have always demonstrated good manners. Before Brie could talk, we took her to Baby Sign language classes. No, she’s not deaf, but communication is vital to survival and happiness in the family for all members. Sign language is very ‘right side brain’,as well as music and art (the creative side), whereas numbers and words are ‘left side brain’ activities. Research has shown that the right side of the brain develops much sooner than the left, Brie was able to tell us when she was hungry, thirsty, or needed a Diaper change, using sign language. This was very helpful especially with food, because they can spin into a fit if you don’t ‘give’ them what they want. She wants milk, not water, so she gives us the sign, and she’s happy. A happy baby makes for a happy family.

    Brie learned to ask for things long before she started talking, but she also learned the signs for PLEASE & THANK YOU. she still uses them as well as vocalizing. We were lucky, we started early.

    Diciplin: we have a time out chair, and we rarely have to use it. but there is the odd time where reasoning doesn’t work, since the toddler’s brain is much like a caveman’s. up to 30 seconds is rare, and she always says she’s sorry before she’s allowed out.

    When playing in the park, she wants to put stones in her mouth, bleech!, she has learned that if she puts anything in her mouth (other than food during mealtime) she goes straight home. no more park. (lucky it’s literally across the street).

    Respect! that’s the key to family harmony. you cannot demand respect from ANYBODY. It is EARNED. yeah, you’ve all heard this before, but it’s true. We expect Brie to respect us, but she only will when we respect her. My wife is a gymnastics coach, (Pre-comp to provincial/state level ie 5-13 or 14) and always treats her girls with respect, and she gets amazing results. rarely does she have to raise her voice, and her athletes love her to death. (sorry, i digressed)

    Anytime Brie starts trhowing a fit because she doesn’t want to do something, we walk away (ie out of her room) after asking her calmly “Are you ready?) if she still fusses, we say let me know when you’re ready, and walk away. usually we just have to get around the corner of her door and she calls back to us, I’m ready!, and is cooperative with getting dressed, or whatever caused the fit.

    WHen we’re shopping, we try to go as a family. Should she start to fuss or have a fit, we ask her if she wants to wait in the car, or stop complaining. We have only had to take her to the car twice. One of us goes while the other finishes the shopping.

    Yes, we still have to remind Brie to say please sometimes, but she won’t get anything until she does.

    I’ve prattled on long enough already… more later.

  18. Laurens (from Can-EH!-Dia) Says:

    Manners and dicyplin: Some great ideas have been expressed already via CC and the comments. Concistancy, Vigilance and most importantly, RESPECT.

    I am the happy father of a 2 1/2 year old girl, and right from the beginning, both Mommy and Daddy (that’s me) have always demonstrated good manners. Before Brie could talk, we took her to Baby Sign language classes. No, she’s not deaf, but communication is vital to survival and happiness in the family for all members. Sign language is very ‘right side brain’,as well as music and art (the creative side), whereas numbers and words are ‘left side brain’ activities. Research has shown that the right side of the brain develops much sooner than the left, Brie was able to tell us when she was hungry, thirsty, or needed a Diaper change, using sign language. This was very helpful especially with food, because they can spin into a fit if you don’t ‘give’ them what they want. She wants milk, not water, so she gives us the sign, and she’s happy. A happy baby makes for a happy family.

    Brie learned to ask for things long before she started talking, but she also learned the signs for PLEASE & THANK YOU. she still uses them as well as vocalizing. We were lucky, we started early.

    Diciplin: we have a time out chair, and we rarely have to use it. but there is the odd time where reasoning doesn’t work, since the toddler’s brain is much like a caveman’s. up to 30 seconds is rare, and she always says she’s sorry before she’s allowed out.

    When playing in the park, she wants to put stones in her mouth, bleech!, she has learned that if she puts anything in her mouth (other than food during mealtime) she goes straight home. no more park. (lucky it’s literally across the street).

    Respect! that’s the key to family harmony. you cannot demand respect from ANYBODY. It is EARNED. yeah, you’ve all heard this before, but it’s true. We expect Brie to respect us, but she only will when we respect her. My wife is a gymnastics coach, (Pre-comp to provincial/state level ie 5-13 or 14) and always treats her girls with respect, and she gets amazing results. rarely does she have to raise her voice, and her athletes love her to death. (sorry, i digressed)

    Anytime Brie starts trhowing a fit because she doesn’t want to do something, we walk away (ie out of her room) after asking her calmly “Are you ready?) if she still fusses, we say let me know when you’re ready, and walk away. usually we just have to get around the corner of her door and she calls back to us, I’m ready!, and is cooperative with getting dressed, or whatever caused the fit.

    WHen we’re shopping, we try to go as a family. Should she start to fuss or have a fit, we ask her if she wants to wait in the car, or stop complaining. We have only had to take her to the car twice. One of us goes while the other finishes the shopping.

    Yes, we still have to remind Brie to say please sometimes, but she won’t get anything until she does.

    I’ve prattled on long enough already… more later.

The shoe cables a repent reward near the visible.