where have all the manners gone?

Thursday, August 1, 2013
RUseaside_4112


Ok. I am really fed up.  I think those of you who know me in life or have been reading for the 6 and 1/2 years that I have been writing know that I really try to look for the best in everyone.  I do.  I know that no one is perfect. We all have bad days.  But lately, I just cannot get over how rude and mean little girls have become.

When did we stop teaching our daughters manners people?  (and yes, I know boys can be rude too but I honestly do not see this as much with boys as I do with girls right now...probably because I am  around more little girls).

It starts with please and thank you.  I drive a lot of carpools (for camps, dance, art, sports, gymnastics, school).  Parents, please teach your children to say "Thank you for the ride, Mrs. Peanut." Is that too hard?  I know my daughter forgets sometimes but she remembers a lot of times too. And my boys never forget. I have drilled it into them. There are kids I drive day after day, year after year, that have never said thank you.  It is rude.

Once, I was picking up some children from somewhere because their Mom had an emergency. I don't mind doing this at all.  We all need to help each other out, right?  I brought all the kids snacks too.  The first thing one child did was complain.  She expressed anger that I was picking her up rather than her Mom.  Another stranger Mom overheard and said, "you should be grateful this woman is doing your Mom a favor."  Amen sister!

Next, I handed them all a snack.  The same little girl turned up her nose and said, "I don't like this. What else do you have?" Seriously?!  How about..."thank you for the snack, Mrs. Peanut." It seems every time I have friends over for Kate, some of the girls don't like the snacks we offer (apples, cheese sticks, pretzels, popcorn, blueberries, chips and salsa) and they go right in my pantry looking for something better (we don't have oreos or goldfish).  My kids would not do that.  I have taught them better.  I have taught them to say  "no, thank you" if they don't want something. We have role played what to do if they go to someone's house for lunch or dinner and they don't like what is being served.  I have taught them that you don't complain and you NEVER go in someone's refrigerator or pantry looking for something better.  You take a few polite bites and then eat more when you get home.  And you always say "thank you for the delicious dinner." Since my kids could utter the word "mama,"  I taught them the words,"thank you for the delicious dinner."  In fact, at the Peanut dinner table, that is all you are allowed to say about the meal.  You are not allowed to say you don't like something.  You are not allowed to say, "yuck."  Someone worked hard to buy the ingredients and prepare a meal.  You do not get to complain.

If I make something my kids don't really like, they have strategically figured out a polite way to express it.   Will is the best at this.  He will say, "Thank you for the delicious dinner Mom but I am not sure we should add this to our regular rotation."  That way he does not insult the food I have lovingly prepared but he lets me know he doesn't like it as much as our regular dinners.   And the ultimate compliment is "We should add this to our regular rotation, Mom!" The other peanuts have learned from his example.  Although Kate is still a work in progress with her table manners sometimes.  But we work on them daily.

I think people have gotten so busy trying to teach their kids to be stellar select team athletes and top of the class GT students and little fashionsitas that they have overlooked some of the simple but most important things...grace and courtesy.  

A little girl on Kate's gymnastics team is being really mean to her.  She questions Kate's heritage commanding Kate to "prove" she was born in China.  When Kate shared her Chinese name with said girl, the girl started teasing her that Dan Ru was her "boyfriend" not her Chinese name.  She tells Kate she does not like her and tries to get the other girls to say it to Kate too.  She pushes Kate out of line and cuts in front of her.  Kate tells me all the "sassy" things this girl says day after day. And I think to myself, where does this come from?  In fact, I woke up at 3 am this morning wondering why this girl is being so darned mean to Kate (who would not hurt a fly).

It comes from two places.  First, children who misbehave are almost always feeling bad in some aspect of their lives.  Secondly, they have not learned a better way to behave.  Either their parents have not taught them grace and courtesy or they have not modeled it or BOTH.

Let me share another example of how we teach it.....

One day Kate and I were walking home from school and a little girl stopped us and asked "Whose tummy did Kate grow in?"  Oh my.  My heart stopped with that question.  Kate was standing right there.  I took a deep breath and said, "We don't know honey."  She continued..."How could you not know? Why didn't her Mommy want her?"  I was STUNNED!  She kept going and going with rude and insensitive questions. "Why did her Mommy give her away?" Okay, she was a kindergartener so maybe she did not know better.  BUT her 40-something year old Mom was standing right there and never jumped in.  She never said, "Sweetie, that is not our business."  or "All that matters is Kate has a loving family."  I was livid.  I politely shut her questions down once I saw her Mom was not going to do so. She never even looked embarrassed that her daughter was asking rude, personal and insensitive questions.  This is my point.  We have opportunities every single day to teach our kids boundaries and kindness and empathy and manners.  But so many parents today fail to do so.

I am not perfect and my kids are not perfect.  We all have off days. Once I yelled at a sales clerk at the AT&T store in front of Will.  I was having a very bad day.  I ran out of patience. Afterwards, I apologized and told Will how wrong it was and I have never done it again. More importantly,  I have worked diligently and consistently for 16 years to teach my kids graciousness.  And you know what?  They are polite, sweet, compassionate kids. ANYONE who has ever met them would tell you that.  It is an investment in a person's soul to teach them kindness.  It is more important than teaching them to read before kindergarten y'all!

This makes it really hard to find good friends for my daughter.  Again, Kate is not perfect.  But she is inclusive and loving and sweet.  She would not say mean things to someone because she knows it is wrong. And she knows that because we have taught her that!  I want her to be surrounded by loving friends with compassionate and understanding hearts.  Friends who don't mind that sometimes it takes her a long time to get her sentences out and will not tell her to "hurry up" or "spit it out."  I want her to have friends who don't question how she came to our family but are just glad she is here.  I want her to have friends who lift her up not tear her down.  And let me tell you, it is hard to find friends like that these days.


Please see the post below for a special auction I am hosting for a family adopting.

77 comments:

  1. Very interesting post. I have a 14 month old and I often think of how I will be able to teach her manners and help keep her sweet and kind when so many other children around may not have manners. Also, some people just teach empty "thank you" statements and the kids never really understand the emotion and the feeling of the generosity given to them.

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    1. You are so right Chrissy!! ANd that is why I teach my kids to cook...so they see the hard work behind a meal. And we do service projects to gain appreciation and true gratitude. It is a lot of work but so important. I am sure you will teach your child well becuase it is already on your radar.

      Kim

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  2. I unfortunately understand all too well. I have seen little girls behave so badly and unkind in front of their parents that I just shake my head. My daughter is now a lovely young woman and has not been changed by these mean girls but I know she went through many sad times. She is in grad school and has found wonderful friends. In early school days girls were jealous of her being good at work, music and sports. I do know that she had talent in these fields but also her work ethic to make herself really good was often overlooked by these girls. I am so glad that Kate has loving brothers. My daughter was an only child and brothers or sisters would have been a huge help to her. I wish you all the best and hope Kate can find good friends.

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  3. I feel your pain and agree wholeheartedly! My precious 9 year old granddaughter has a cousin who is one year older who is always saying ugly mean things to her and the parents do nothing! Of course, the parents need manners too...need I say more? Just this week Taylor (my granddaughter) and the cousin and a mutual friend of theirs were swimming and totally left Taylor out and when they were called out for it, the cousin backtalked to Taylor's dad...the cousin's uncle. There are several friend and family members who won't allow their children to be around this kid...she's that bad. I could go on and on but you get my drift. In the end, Kate will be a productive member of society but it still hurts to see our little ones having to deal with these "mean girls".

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  4. I am so sorry this is happening! I do think it is partly because people are so wrapped up in themselves and their phones and FB (don't get me started!) that they often don't take the time to teach their children well. Every time she visits, one of my girl's friends opens every single drawer in my kitchen and says, "oh look, another junk drawer!" While true, I don't need her opening drawers and saying that. Also try to model good behavior and role play and practice replies with Maddy as she is a bit quiet and hesitant to speak up. You're doing a great job with your kiddos! :)

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  5. Passing this on to my mom. When I was little and I would call a friend on the phone I was "trained" to say, " hi mrs jones, this is Laura "abcd" is Maggie there? Thank you." I was friends with a little girl who would call our house and say "Laura there?". Same little girl after my mom would drop her off would never say thank you. My middle school my mom would say "you're welcome". Was always taught with gifts too to always say thank you no matter what it was or if I had the same item. I've seen it a lot too. This is my cousins pet peeve too...she sees it with her nephew too. It comes from the parents. Parents don't see that' as important anymore. I think it's the cornerstone on how a child develops into a wonderful adult. When I taught middle school I read queen bees and wanna bees. Great resource. Parents are sadly the ones to blame

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    1. Laura,

      My Mom did the same thing!!! I have found myself saying "you're welcome." Or "it is good manners to say thank you when someone gives you a snack" when I hand out treats at school. I also praise when I see kids with good manners.

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    2. I don't let go of said snack UNTIL i hear the thank you! You should see the shocked, and surprised faces. LOL.

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  6. I know exactly what you are saying. It is the same situation with my girls. They are so sweet and kind, but I don't see a lot of children that have those qualities. The boundaries that many children cross is shocking to me. I would love to find sweet friends for my girls too.

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  7. This is one of the things I am most grateful to my parents for. My brother, sister, and I may not be perfect, but we do try to be incredibly gracious and grateful.

    I cannot stand seeing such rudeness, and I often say that it seems much more difficult to be mean than to be nice. I'm sorry your Kate is having to deal with any of this. Children can be so cruel.

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  8. THANK YOU!!! Wonderful post.....I don't have any of my own kiddos yet, but you sound exactly like my Mom as we were growing up. Exact same meal rules, too!! We also were never allowed to be "shy". My sisters and I always, always had to say, "Nice to meet you, Mr./Mrs So-and-So" and look them in the eye. I can remember her drilling us again and again!

    Awesome reminder, and very well written!!! ♥

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  11. Amen, amen, amen! Another pet peeve of mine is children calling me by my first name. I am not your friend, I am an adult! Most of my neighbors think this is perfectly fine. Not me.

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    1. I think this could be a geographic thing. Not sure where you are from, but I grew up in a small town in the South and would address my friend's parents by their last names the first time I met them but 99% of them always replied "Sweetheart, Mr./Ms. Whatever is my Father/Mother, call me TheirName". It was like this with almost everyone as we were small enough to know everyone. Unless told otherwise though I definitely see your perspective.

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    2. I think this could be a geographic thing. Not sure where you are from, but I grew up in a small town in the South and would address my friend's parents by their last names the first time I met them but 99% of them always replied "Sweetheart, Mr./Ms. Whatever is my Father/Mother, call me TheirName". It was like this with almost everyone as we were small enough to know everyone. Unless told otherwise though I definitely see your perspective.

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    3. Funny. I grew up in the South and would NEVER call an adult by their first name. I still call my parents' friends Mr. & Mrs. and I am 45 years old! :)

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    4. My family is from the South, where every adult is called "Ms/Mr Firstname", our family relocated to the MidWest when I was 10, where children call adults by only their first name. It drove my mother crazy to be called by her firstname and it drove my friends' moms crazy to be called "Ms. Firstname".

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  12. Oh Kim,

    I am so so sad for sweet Kate that she is being treated so poorly :( Tia is the same age and the whole "who is my mommy?" question has been coming up and I can see it hurts her little heart so much. I can't imagine how Kate is feeling with these mean girls saying such rude things. I would speak to the gymnastics coach because honestly, that should not be going on!

    My kids are well mannered yet far from perfect - and I have to be honest when I read your blog I often think that you would never let your kids play with mine - lol. However I will say I have a 17 year old son and a 15 year old daughter and I don't think I have ever given one of their friends a ride where they didn't say thank you. Anytime they've had a friend sleep over they have always said thank you. My two younger kids friends have to be reminded by their parents at times - and they have gone foraging in our pantry - so perhaps it is the age?

    One thing my 15 year old daughter still says that makes me smile is if she tastes something and you ask her if she likes it - if she doesn't she will say "It's not my favorite". I can still see that little four year old who said "YUCK" when she didn't like something and I had to think of a way she could express herself without being rude :)

    I hope that little girl in gymnastics learns some manners!

    xo ellie

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    1. Ellie,

      I would totally let your kids play with mine!!!! I don't chose their friends. All kids lapse in their manners. I never expect perfection. I just cannot stand outright rudeness and meanness. And my kids can't either.

      I am glad your kids friends say thank you. Many of the boys friends do but not all.

      I love how your 15 year old says it not her favorite. Will does that too once in a while. Sweet.

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  14. My parents worked incredibly hard on these same manners with me as a child and I still utilize them today. I am grateful to say that I still am consistently complimented on my manners as a 30 something thanks to them. :) It is an important subject I too will work on daily with my future children. I teach professional training classes for a living and let me tell you that I am SHOCKED by what I see on a daily basis...!

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  15. AMEN!!!! I have an almost 8yo boy. He is far from perfect. He has friends that immediately go to my pantry when they walk into my house. I drill into him that he is not to do this. Like your Kate, he was adopted. He knows that but no details...heed for understands he wasn't in Mommy's tummy and we prayed him and God answered our prayers. One of his friends argued with him that he WAS in my tummy! UGH! This was a little girl, I hate to say. I taught elementary school for a long time before my son was born. There was definitely more drama with little girls.
    Thank you for a wonderful post! I shared it on my FB page :)

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  16. I agree with EVERYTHING you wrote. Everything. I taught my children manners. I HOPE they are teaching their children manners. I think it's one of the keys to success in life. You are a great mom to recognize that and to teach your children to value other people and their feelings.

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  17. I really believe that the vast majority of parents are doing the best they can, with what they have. I know that my poor girls are reminded 100 times before going to a play date to say please and thank you, accept whatever they're offered to eat and to not ask for anything other than a glass of water. I also know they have likely forgotten one or more of those things more times than I'd like to know.

    For most of the past year a little boy unmercifully teased and taunted one of my girls at school. I know this child's mother, well. She is quiet and polite and well-mannered. I know she expects more of her son and I'm confident he is getting good instruction at home.

    All this to say that I think even the most diligent, well-intentioned parents can still have children who are figuring out what it means to be gracious.

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    1. Kristi,

      I agree with you on some points but not all of them. I think yes, many parents want what is best for their kids. But I think they are mistaken on what that is. They overindulge rather than take the time to teach. Honestly, a lot of parents are not trying that hard. They want to do what is easy. They say yes because it is easier than saying no. They don't correct their kids because they fear a tantrum. I am not saying the parents are rude or have poor intentions...I am just saying they are not working diligently to teach their kids right from wrong. Yes, sometimes kids who are misbehaved come from lovely parents but still those parents need to learn WHY the kid is misbehaving and address it and too many parents ignore it and tolerate it because that seems easier in the short run. That little boy you write about is hurting and it is his parents JOB to figure out why instead of allowing him to hurt others.

      I see it daily in my practice. Parents come in because a child is out of control. I give them tools to fix it. MOst parents enact the tools and their kids are great. Some parents are too lazy and the problem gets worse. And they flat out tell me they are too lazy or tired and that it is too much work. And these are well educated, successful, polite, well intentioned people. They just want the quick fix.

      So, I guess I respectfully disagree with some of what you said . Yes, kids make mistakes and forget to say please and thank you. That is not what I am addressing . I am addressing kids who are consistently rude and mean and there is far too much of that in this generation. And I think that is completely the parents' fault.

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  18. So right on with this post! Our daughter is the oldest of two and is headed to Kindergarten in the fall. She attended a Montessori school for the past three years and was taught "grace and courtesy" there. Now she is headed into public school and I am afraid! Lol
    I focus a lot on manners with my kids and I hope it sticks even when they are surrounded by kids who may lack manners. ;) it. Is scary how some parents just don't focus on this! I'd seriously rather have polite, well-mannered children than rude kids who are star players on their team, etc.

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    1. Me too. Nice kids trump the star athletes in my book any day. Yet, I see parents spend thousands of dollars on private batting lessons and don't tell their kids to say thank you to anyone.

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  19. Wow, all I can say is 'Amen'. Wonderful post with some great parenting tips in here.

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  20. Amen, I agree.
    And *most* of what a child says and how a child acts/treats others, is either learned from his parents or siblings. Sure, in a lot of cases these are great parents, but they have no time/consistency/rules for their child(ren). They take the easy road. All three, time/consistency/rules takes time and patience... it is not an easy job.

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  21. I understand your frustration completely! My daughter is adopted from Guatemala and she is very shy and often times she is completely ignored by other little girls and teased. Last week we were at a good friends house who has a daughter her age and there was another little girl over and after we left my daughter told me they didn't play with her and said they didn't want to be her friend. These are 6-7 year olds for crying out loud! T
    My heart broke for my daughter and I told her that Jesus didn't like that behavior and she should tell them they're not being kind. Often times parents are so wrapped up in their own social agendas that they neglect to teach their kids manners, I'm so fed up with it!

    My poor girl has also had a difficult time making friends it so heart wrenching , I feel your pain. You have a lovely family God bless

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  22. I'm really glad you brought up this issue. It was so well written and on point. My heart was pained for your daughter and the insensitive questions she had to endure. During the school year, I was walking in the hallway and heard a young boy say to another mother, "Mrs. XXX I don't like you at all." I was shocked to see this and more shocked to see that the boy's mother never corrected him. In fact, the boy's mother actually laughed. It seems there's a meanness that growing in popular culture. You can see it in tv shows (don't get me started on reality tv), in politics and on internet comments. I'm not sure what this holds for us as a culture but I'm glad you reminded us all to pay attention to it a little more.

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  23. Very well said Mrs. Peanut. I struggle with my kids and hammer it in daily. I think if you make it a point and are consistent with reminding your children to use their manners and treat others the way they want to be treated it will pay off. It may not happen every time, but its something you have to instill and Jeanne W is right on the money when she says it's our culture. It starts with much younger programs than reality TV too. Watch any children's show on Nick or Disney in the afternoons which is prime time for younger viewing and you will see exactly where they get their rudeness, and disrespect for parents and adults. It's being piped in through our televisions. Dads are portrayed as big dummies and not leaders of the family and kids talk to their moms (and dads) as if they are teen friend. The kids are running the show not the parents... We have to take a stand and monitor what is coming into our homes. This also means you have to be okay that your kid(s) may be made fun of for being "different"... It happens to us often. I hear why can't you watch that, My mom lets me watch that." I've had this conversation many times with mothers of friends and even family. Good kids don't happen by accident and this parenting business is hard.

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  24. I also think it's become part of our culture, through tv, movies and music, that mean is better. Sad, huh? Mayors, senators, heck, even Presidents don't have to say sorry and they just move on, seemingly with nary a look backwards. It's glamourized to be "baaaaaad" and our kids are watching. I speak with my kids every.single.day about these things, the choices people make and good character. We talk about the mean girls and how the bullies must have a very sad heart. Yes, we speak bout it a lot! But every time something pops up, i take that opportunity to counter act it. I use it as a teaching opportunity. Brilliance saw a picture of a friend's daughter (we are slowly losing contact) who is 12 going on 30 and I asked her what she was thinking, because she was clearly bothered by it. She said, "she's trying to be much older!!"

    Where are the parents, indeed.

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  25. I wish every parent in America could read this. I think the amount of reality shows that glorify disrespect are ruining the next generation. Some children are allowed to watch these shows and then they spread this disrespect like a disease. I wanted to mention one thing that I did to help my special education students learn to deal with bullies. Conscious Discipline by Becky Bailey was a godsend to my students. Her techniques can also be applied at home. Other teachers and parents always told me that I instilled and taught the importance of good manners with my students. However, they were often teased by others. The book "Shubert's Big Voice" taught them to use their big voice to assert themselves while still having great manners. Words cannot express how much I appreciate your blog. I wish you could have a national talk show for parents! Thanks!

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  26. Amen!!!!! Oh thank you for this! I've been feeling so alone in my expectations. People have even mocked me over my requirement that my children address adults by Mr. or Mrs.

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  27. I seriously love this post! I'm seventeen and find myself wondering the same things about my peers...for instance, I'm on m high school's swim team and we go out to dinner as a team occasionally. The girl's on my team act like toddlers! They spit water, they throw food, they make houses out of straws, they don't say please or thank you, and (this grinds my gears the most)they buy $30 meals and tip the poor waitress 25 cents! It infuriates me. My parents raised me to be a good citizen and I don't know how the parents of my teammates neglected to teach them at least how to have table manners...

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    1. Molly,
      Thank you for your comment. My 16 yr old and his friends seem very well mannered but I know a lot are not. You should thank your parents for making the extra effort to teach you.

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  28. Kim,
    I think I wrote to you about this back on your Nurtured Home site. I have a really difficult time dealing with kids at my house, but at the same time, I want my house to be welcoming and the "hang out" so I am in the know as my kids get older. So, how do you respond to these kids that are rude? Do you correct them or comment back to them? I am a teacher and it is so hard for me to separate mom/teacher. I would most certainly correct my students, but am never sure how to handle these situations at home. I also had a complainer friend that didn't like my snacks and I couldn't wait until her mom came to pick her up!!! As soon as she left I had a little reminder session with my daughter, just to be sure she remembered our expectations - she did. She knew what I was going to say before I even said it.
    Amanda

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    1. HI Amanda. Great question. I will answer it next week on The Nurtured Home. look for it under reader questions:)

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    2. Oh I am eager to read it as well. My daughter's best friend is way too forward and rude. She criticizes snacks, meals, my parenting choices, you name it and she has an opinion on it. I know why she is this way but I struggle with treating her with grace. I find myself being very short with her and in reality, that is equally as rude. She is only 8 and she honestly has a great heart, she just needs guidance.

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  29. Great post. When I was growing up, my Mom's parting words before a play date were "remember your please and thank you's!" I am tough on my kids about manners too. They also order their own meals in restaurants and do so politely and respectfully. They are 9 and 7 and have been doing so for years. I am amazed how many kids can't do that. My son has recently started wearing hats and I am also all over him about no hats at the table. (That is old school from my Dad) Manners matter. I tell my kids manners go a long way in life!!! Wonderful post, as always!!! Kathleen

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  30. Hi Kim!

    AMEN (STANDING UP and applauding you!!)....I SO agree!!! Young kids, teenagers, and ADULTS too!
    With your permission I would like to link this to my FB page and have my teenage daughters do the same thing!!

    Just 'ole fashion manners go a LONG way...Please, thank you, 'my pleasure' (CFA famous words)and guys holding the doors open for girls and people in general holding doors open. Society has lost so much and it is so sad!!

    When my daughters were in middle school, I told them multiple times 'you don't have to be their best friend BUT you HAVE to be nice and polite and include them when you can'. Girls are just MEAN...and even as adults :(

    I know a little girl from Korea in Louisville who I know would love to be Kate's friend!!
    God will bless her with one. As a parent, just keep weeding the bad ones out. Can't tell you how many times I've done that and now my girls 'see' the difference!

    Blessings to your cute family!

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    1. Karen,

      Feel free to share this with whomever you'd like and on your FB page. I really want to write more about the topics mentioned by everyone in their comments.

      Kate does have a few close friends that are very sweet. It is just there are so many girls out there who are not behaving that way.

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  31. Love this post and totally agree. We recently brought our 3 year old daughter home from China and I've already been shocked by the insensitive questions and comment from adults, so I can't imagine what it will be like when she's in school. I just have to say I love following your blog!

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  32. Look at the beautiful tan on sweet Kate! And she looks so adorable in that hairstyle. I'm so sorry those girls are being so rude to her. The "mean girls" thing seems to start so young. NOT looking forward to that when Kerry starts Kindergarten in a few weeks.

    Great post, Kim. I see it all of the time, too...from kids AND adults and it is infuriating at times. I really believe good manners begin at home. I think so many kids are raised with a sense of entitlement, and, like you mentioned, the parents are often just more concerned with their children's success in other areas. Another thing I've noticed, and it really makes me cringe, is that in a lot of children's programming the behavior modeled by the young people towards the parents/adults is horrible! And don't get me started on some of the "reality" TV. The message sent is "if your behavior is bad enough you'll be rewarded with all kinds of attention!" Kerry is still learning, but she has known from the time she began to talk that some things are just expected, or just aren't done, no matter what your mood.

    Gin =)


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  33. Thank you! We are big on manners and respect in our home. I think real manners have been missing for years. I think most parents would say they try to teach their children to be kind and well mannered, but their lives don't prove it. I have friends who are great parents, they love their children and try their best, but they just never teach manners.

    I think the TV shows that are out today only add to the situation. My daughter, who is a spunky little Monkey Baby, started getting sassy a few months ago. While I do encourage my children to voice their opinions, I expect it to be done respectfully. I started noticing that my daughter liked to mimic a little girl on a show called Jessie. It's a clean show about a nanny for a family that has adopted internationally several times. However, every time this little girl would say something rude or sassy, there is a big laugh...which just teaches a child the wrong thing. I no longer allow her to watch the show and she is now back to her sweet, but still rotten in a cute way, self.

    Don't even get me started on the whole entitlement thing that seems to be running rampant among kids and teens!

    Anyway, thanks for posting this.

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  34. Kim,

    I'm 23 and have been reading your blog for years and can honestly say this is the first post I have ever commented on because I can't even begin to explain how much I agree. I was raised by two parents who were nowhere near well educated and my basic manners were to say "Please" and "Thank you". Table manners and other etiquette were lost upon me because my parents just never taught me. After trial and error on my own part, I taught myself proper table manners and other etiquette because I wanted to be respected by others.

    As an aside, I have cousins that are your children's ages and I absolutely cannot believe their behavior! Looking back, I know I probably was not a model child behavior wise but it further instills in me the drive to teach my children what my parents did not teach me. Furthermore, I think that when children are witness to other children's (and adults, honestly) bad behavior, it is a perfect time to teach them by someone else's example that that is simply not how one should conduct themselves.

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  35. I could have written this post myself many times
    Carpooling a friends child for 2years that never said thank you, complained or took out his angry towards his parents or the world on my car doors or my kids as he shoved and pushed around in the car. And most times his parents "giggled" about his rudeness ;-/ dismissing it as a cute little grumpy boy ;(

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  36. I have had this conversation with parents many, many times. I don't have children of my own, but I used to be a teacher and am still in the education field so I have been exposed to many children and their parents. What I don't understand is how I can have this exact conversation with the very same parents whose kids act this way. I think everyone is so quick to judge what goes on in other people and they fail to look inwards and at their own children.

    {I am, in no way, saying you are doing this Kim. I am fairly certain you are very self aware. I am saying 'you' in the very general sense.}

    But I really encourage everyone to look at themselves before you look at others. You might think your kids are polite, that you have raised them correctly, that they would *never* do such a rude thing, but in fact, they do! Sure there are some obvious rude parents and children but many of those who say 'not my children!' are really just not seeing reality.

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  37. Just a suggestion, have you read the book Queen Bees and Wanna-bes? I have not read it yet but it is supposedly good for helping moms help their girls deal with mean girls. I have on my bookshelf for in a couple years.

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  38. This was such a great post-- I am so sorry to hear that Kate is having friend issues! I was brought up to have manners and respect and now, at age 23, it appalls me to see some of the manners from my peers/age group! In college I was writing a thank you note to the parents of a friend for having me at their house for the weekend and my friend told me it was "weird" that I write so many thank you notes. Since when is writing a thank you note weird?!?!?

    Again, great post-- it was refreshing to read. Hopefully the "mean girl" will get a briefing on manners ASAP and be nice to Kate!

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  39. My husband and I were discussing something similar the other day. But the discussion came down to would you rather a child ask nicely for something, minus the please? Or ask with a please but say it insincerely, with the wrong tone? I would rather a request be said nicely with a please, but I can easily overlook it if it is said with a sincere tone. How do you feel about that? Not arguing, it's just been on my mind lately :)
    Julie

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    1. I agree Julie. If a child is polite and sincere I don't think the please is a necessity. I think the reason to constantly remind children of please and thank you os that it serves as a catalyst for kindness and civility. However, sincerity and polite tone are equally important. But I what I hear (sometimes form my own kids too) is "I'm thirsty!" (expecting a drink) rather than.."May I please have a glass of water, Mom?" I guess I want both--sincerity and a please.

      Thanks for your comment.

      KIm

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  40. Hi Kim,
    I too loved your post. I agree wholeheartedly and wish your voice could be heard everywhere.

    With my own children and with the children that I taught, manners were always very important. I never allowed rudeness or making fun of others in either situation. Congratulations on the wonderful way Will has grown up. I'm sure Harry and Kate will also grow up just as well. How could they not with you as parents. Your children are both well mannered and beautiful. Keep up your good work.

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  41. Excellent post! Society is "going to he** in a handbasket", in my opinion. There is so little civility in our world these days. Rudeness is tolerated in children because teaching and re-directing are too much work. It is the adults who are the root of the problem. They are rude and selfish and model it for their children.
    A new school year is starting and I dread sending my twins (born in China) back to school, where they never know when they will be the target of meanness. That includes from the teachers too!
    Regarding school: "It is not our job to toughen up our children to face a cruel and heartless world. It is our job to teach children how to make this world a little less cruel and heartless."
    Susan in FL

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  42. I could not agree more! As a mom of five and a preschool teacher manners take priority. We always tell our kids that your can get a lot further in life & relationships with stellar manners. I tell my parents that they may not know how to read & write when they leave my class ( each child's development is different) but they will know yes Ma'am , thank you , please , excuse me and no thank you. I am constantly amazed at the lack of manners & plain rudeness of kids & parents alike.

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  43. Hi Kim, I found your blog through Paige's blog so I am new here. I love this post. We have 17 and 13 year old boys. My husband and I are really big on manners around our house and we always get compliments about our boys being so well mannered. My husband always says that he thinks alot of the problem is that so many parents are trying to be their kids friends instead of their parents. We have also experienced kids that roam the streets and their parents have no clue where they are which also causes trouble. Alot of kids are not taught respect, which is the parents responsibility. If kids don't respect their parents unfortunately they are not going to respect anyone else. I'm so sorry Kate is being treated this way.

    Lora Ernest

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  44. I love this post, it could not be more true! I'm 19 and so many of my classmates and people my age were either not taught or simply ignore basic, common sense manners! Things that seem second nature such as saying the person's name when greeting them, looking people in the eye, and saying please and thank you are so often forgot with people in my generation! It really makes me sad, but it also makes me so grateful that I was taught to treat everyone with kindness and respect and to be as polite as possible. Even at sleepovers, I notice my siblings friends forget simple things such as "thank you for having me" or "goodbye, mr and mrs so and so." It's upsetting that so many kids overlook this, but it is also nice to know that I will have a leg up in the future over all of the impolite and rude people my age! Sounds like your kids will, too :)

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  45. I agree with your post. I constantly teach my children manners. However, both my children are autistic and say things bluntly and rude at times. I am horrified and always correct but it doesn't mean they are not going to do it again. It is a slow, constant work on progress. Do you feel the same way about a parent such as myself?

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    1. Cherry Tea,

      I have many friends who have children that are on the spectrum and have other differentiabilities and of course my expectations for those children are different. I have so much compassion for these parents and their children because everything is a little harder. However, I applaud your efforts at still teaching them manners. They are capable of learning and your efforts will be rewarded.

      Best,
      Kim

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  46. This was such a great post, and I experienced the "no thanking" from one of my daughter's friends today - after giving her a ride, buying a movie ticket, and a great. It's both ridiculous and sad since this girl is nine! She knows better - and I reminded my own daughter (who is seven) that kind of behavior is COMPLETELY unacceptable.

    My daughter is adopted and was born in Guatemala. She has brown skim, and it sickens me to hear what kids in both her kindergarten and first grade classes told her --- that she's brown because she's dirty.

    It all goes back to the parents. Sure, kids are going to forget sometimes, make mistakes - but the foundations of grace and good manners come from the parents. And it's time for parents to step up to the plate, roll up their sleeves, and be serious and consistent about modeling good behavior for their kids.

    As always, great post; I love your insight. Will, Harry, and Kate are all so lucky to have you and Dave as their parents.

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  47. Oh my friend do I hear you!! Girls are so mean! I swear, its in our genes! But, you are correct - parents don't seem to be teaching their kids how to be polite. Here we teach Yes sir, no sir, yes m'am, no, m', Hi Ms. Diane, etc. Little T is like your Kate - a sweet little girl that would not hurt a fly. Kids take advantage of her. The other day she went to a waterpark with her daycare. She had some quarters and some older girls asked if they could have them. She said no (because we had just talked about not giving away her money!) and those girl TOOK IT. She didn't even blink an eye and went swimming but it obviously bothered her because she told me about it. A year ago at gymnastics a little girl was holding hands with T as they were walking out. Another little girl ran up, yanked the hands apart and then held hands with the one girl. She then walked in front of T, turned around and stuck her tongue out. Her was right there and did nothing. Tiana? She looked at them and just kept on walking. Broke my heart! Keep on keeping on! As I told another friend on FB - we can only give our girls the right tools! Part of those tools include how to be polite!

    Hugs,
    Carla

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  48. Thank you for sharing this post with us. I remind my 7 and 4 year olds, all day every day to use please and thank you. To be polite, to wait for people to exit the elevator before walking in, to say hello and goodbye. My son had friends over the other day and one little boy just opened our fridge and helped himself to yogurt. I was appalled! Every time my son is a guest at someone's home I remind him over and over to be polite, do NOT ask for things except water and to say no thank you if he doesn't like what is offered. And, the more I read about little girls these days, the more terrified I am for what my little daughter will face!
    I know my children are far from perfect, but its my job (and my husband's) to make sure they are well mannered, polite and contributing members of our society!

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  49. Great post that I am anxious to share w/other moms :)

    One thought crossed my mind when you talked about the inquisitive Kgartner asking about adoption. Her choice of questions sound quite advanced for a six year old. My guess is that the mom had tried to explain Kate and her heritage, and did a poor job of it.

    As an adoptive mom, I find that using positive adoption language again and again helps embed adoption language so that my friends can better understand that adoption is built on love and not built on people "not wanting" our sweet children. I am hopeful that we are seeing changes in how adoption is discussed openly and positively so our kids can find security in their story.

    Many blessings, Jill in LA

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    1. Jill,

      I love your perspective and I agree about he positive m]language of adoption. We use it and tried to answering her questions. from my experience that is how a lot of 6 year old phrase it and it is hurtful. I'd love to hear more about your thoughts. I think it would make a great post here or on The Nurtured Home.

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  50. Oh dear- I am so sorry you and Katie had these experiences. As I New Yorker, we see this bad behavior a lot, I always imagined in the South things are always more gracious. I agree, manners and polite behavior seem much farther down the list of what children are taught from their parents nowadays.
    -Linda,ny

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  51. P.S. That's is the most adorable pic of Katie - I can already see her teenage face- she is growing up so fast.
    -Linda, NY

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  52. We have found that children who are homeschooled are much sweeter, less competitive, and just generally more compassionate.

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  53. It was a SUPER BUSY week and just adding my 2cents on this post! Oh boy have we had to deal w/a bully in gymnastics. It was name calling and even shoving off beams! I'm a MAMA BEAR when it comes to Bre and the grandkids! I reassured Bre that the little girl that was name calling was probably hurting somewhere deep inside and just to ignore it. Once while picking Bre up, I heard her say "You are ugly...you aren't good at anything"! I don't like your hair and I HATE YOU!! I was FLOORED!!! What's worse is..."I know the little girls mom VERY WELL". The name calling did NOT START until she joined gymnastics w/Bre. I figured it came from jealousy on the little girls part. I spoke w/her mother about the name-calling and she scoffed it off by saying..."Oh I will speak w/her...she KNOWS better". Ha!! Obviously NOT!! The mother act as if "it was cute!!". I had enough when the gym teacher had to get on "M" about shoving Bre off the bars! I eventually moved Bre to an entire different gym. Now the little girl is alot NICER to Bre when she see's her! I think it all stemmed from jealousy! I was amazed at how "little girls are SO MEAN"!!! This kid made it her mission to "tear Bre down"!!

    So far as manners, I have always been adamant about them. It's never "uh-huh" when answering an adult. It HAS TO BE "yes m'am and/or no m'am"! Also "please and thank you" is a common staple in our house!!

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  54. A pet pieve of mine is that parents don't teach their little ones to write a thank you note for a gift. I see parents who send blanket emails out for their little ones or one generic thank you note to everyone. How are the little ones suppose to know if the parent doesn't teach them. I have my daughter write thank you's immediately. I believe it is a teachable moment. I even explain that if you don't like or can't use a gift a thank you is still the right thing to do. It is about someone who took the time to purchase you the gift, wrap the gift, come to a party or send a gift is what matters. We always donate gifts we don't need, like or can't use. When I was young I wasn't allow to even open a toy until the thank you note was written. So I am with you. I think parents need to stop and think they are the ones who look bad when their child doesn't say thank you. I loose interest in buying or doing a favor in the future if I don't receive a thank you. I may let it go once or twice, because I know it can be forgotten on occasion. I agree with you Kim!

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  55. I live in a loosey goosey place and I feel like parents who are obsessed with letting kids have their 'Feelings" are just encouraging RUDE behavior. I have one friend who's kids are constantly rude to me and it's upsetting. I don't want my kids picking up their bad behavior!!!!!

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  56. I taught etiquette for years and my favorite age group was 4-8. It was always evident to me upon the first meeting whether the parents had taught any social skills in the home and I never got over the shock of meeting parents with rude attitudes. That is how these little girls learn their "mean girls" behavior. It all begins at home!

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Thank you for your kindness.