Raising Rude Kids

6 Manners That Matter

Mother and Daughter Sharing Coffee

Kids really can say the darndest things. But sometimes, what can come out of our kids’ mouths is more rude than funny. As parents, we are often faced with the reality that we are raising little sinners rather than little angels.

My husband and I want our kids to be educated, well-rounded and successful, but more so, we want kids that are kind. We want our children to become teenagers and eventually adults who are considerate, thoughtful and intentional about their words and their actions, especially as it affects other people.

However, if we want to reap kindness in our grown children, then we need to sow kindness into their hearts when they are still little before they intentionally say the darndest things.

If you want to be more intentional about not raising rude kids as well, then here are,

Six Manners That Matter.

  1. Yes, Mommy. Yes, Daddy (Yes, Sir. Yes, Ma’am)
  2. When we call our kids’ names, we can typically discern what type of heart attitude they are bringing with them simply based on their reply. If it’s an attitude-filled “what?” or a lazy “Yeah?”, chances are they are not going to comply with our request with a happy heart.

    From the toddler age, we start working with them on saying “Yes, Mommy” or “Yes, Daddy” when we call their name and also when we give them an instruction. Dealing with their heart response becomes the priority. Far more important than the everyday instruction that was coming.

  3. Please, and Thank You
  4. Even as an adult, I find it a powerful consideration to hear someone use a kind “please” in their request or follow a service with a genuine “thank you.” These little words are some of the most powerful we have in our language. Teaching our kids to use them when they ask for something or when they receive something can be taught at a young age (even as a baby or toddler) and will be an asset to them for the rest of their lives.

  5. The Interrupt Rule
  6. I love telling a good story or adding a wonderful segment to someone else’s. However, when I choose to interrupt someone, I am communicating that I am of greater importance than that person. Listening is a huge skill that many of us simply lack. We can teach our kids both patience and humility, by training them to communicate nonverbally with you when they need something and you are in the middle of another conversation.

    In our home, we work on using this simple, one-handed version of the interrupt rule. Test it out and I promise you may just fall in love with your kids all over again.

  7. No, Thank you bites
  8. So sometimes dinner is terrible. And you don’t like it either. One way you can get off the hook and extend the same grace to your children is by allowing them one “No, Thank you” bite.

    This easy option simply gives your child (and you!) the chance to try something new without the expectation of finishing a whole serving. Our family employs the rule where you must try on a fork-full sized bite of the dinner dish.

    If you don’t happen to like it after that bite, then you simply say “No, thank you” and move on. However, you aren’t given something different; what is on the table is what’s for dinner. But, at least, the expectations are cleared, and many picky-eater crises are averted.

  9. Using “Mr. and Mrs.”
  10. I know that it feels cool to be on a first name basis with your kids’ friends. Except, you aren’t one of their buddies. You are their parent. To help make the distinction of authority and peer a bit more clear for our kids, we call adults by either “Mr.” or “Mrs.” and their last name.

    You may at first feel old when this happens, but honestly, we do it because we want them to know that as an adult, you are given a greater level of respect. And that’s important to us. And, in time, I hope you see it as such as well.

    Also, for other authority figures like teenage babysitters, we use “Miss” and their first name, like “Miss Olivia” or “Miss Leah.” Again, this is more of the distinction of authority and respect, while still honoring that they are not quite grown-ups, not just yet.

  11. Saying, “It was nice to meet you.”
  12. Whenever we meet people for the first time, there can be this awkward moment in the end when the new person kindly says, “It was nice to meet you.” Out of childish ignorance or distraction, our kids scurry away without even acknowledging the closing greeting. We are then left standing there, trying to offer either an amends or excuse for the childish rudeness. The good news is that there is a better way!

    We have walked our kids through what it looks like to meet someone new, how to introduce themselves and how to offer a courtesy goodbye by saying, ‘it was nice to meet you.”

    This practice often pleasantly surprises grown-ups while simultaneously teaching your children to give pause to the courtesy of others. I highly encourage you to take five minutes this week to practice this with your children.

Friends, we love our kids and truly do want the best for them. I believe one of the greatest gifts we can give them that will grant them the greatest successes in life is to teach them that people matter, and we demonstrate that best by using manners that are kind, considerate and thoughtful.

Take 15 minutes this week to work on just one of these manners and one day, when you are least expecting it; you will be pleasantly surprised at the things that can come out of their mouths.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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