Sunday, March 28, 2010

manners matter

it's not often that I'll stand up and spout about what I think is right and wrong in the realm of childrearing. It's not easy bringing up kids that's a given, different people have different ways of coping with their kids who are all individuals and it's sensible to acknowledge that what works for one child might not work for another.

but i do strongly believe in people teaching their children proper manners and i like to think that I have brought up my kids (well Miss 5, I'm just starting with Poss) to use manners appropriately.

if there is one thing I detest above all things it's kids who speak to adults without the correct level of respect. I do not mind children calling adults by their first name or a name of the adults choosing, different circustances call for the use of different names / titles etc.  Mrs Clutterbug does not sit with me comfortably so Shish is fine, we have some friends who have been introduced to our kids as Aunty or Uncle, others by their first name and teachers are obviously Mr / Mrs / Miss / Ms.

this weekend has brought all my grievances about good manners or lack there of to a head... we had visitors, long time friends who date back to the boys going to primary school together. Their little girl is Miss 5's age, very intelligent (quite possibly gifted) and often very sweet. Her manners? Atrocious! she speaks to adults as though they were her equal. She took to calling Hubby by his nickname (something which her parents call him and have never corrected her from doing) along with answering back and dropping the "please" and "thankyou" from her requests.

I'm not saying she is a bad girl, maybe just undiciplined? Her parents are not as strict as we are (and having said that we are firm with our rules rather than unreasonable and there are consquences when the kids do the wrong thing) and while I know we are not perfect parents I think they could work at setting better boundaries for their daughter.

Now that my Miss 5 has friends over etc, I am more comfortable when I talk to other people's kids and so I found myself more than once this weekend, pulling this little one up on her manners. I couldn't help myself, if she wanted something from me she was going to ask properly. Hubby also told me he said to her (in her mum's earshot) that it was time to start calling him by his first name instead of his nickname... to her credit she did.

I feel a little bad, like this girl might have gone away thinking I was a meany. But I feel like I would be a hypocrite if I disagreed with it so much and yet sat idly by. What do you reckon?


Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this Shish. Why so many kids these days that have shocking manners? It's all the more difficult to say anything when the parents are around, so good on you for saying something.

Michelle said...

My parents always told me to call someone Ms/Miss/Mrs/Mr X unless that person told me otherwise. My friends were always requested to call them by their first names.

It's a weird situation to be in. On one hand, I don't mind precocious kids, but they do still need to remember basic manners and their parents should instil in them what is acceptable in their home and when in public or another's home.

In short, I don't think you were a hypocrite. So long as you were polite in the way you spoke to her (so many adults aren't) - and knowing you I'm sure you were - then it is fine.