Your child will be more successful in life if they have good manners.
We exist in a world where success means engaging with other people - and good manners (politeness) is the way we lubricate those engagements. It's how we demonstrate our respect and a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others, and people of all ages, races, genders and cultures appreciate being appreciated. Good manners lead naturally to good behaviour, gratitude, courtesy and the polite treatment of others - all a passport to future success.
Good manners equip a child to handle social situations, build good careers and great relationships, and they help them make and refuse requests. It's been said that people will remember your good manners even if they don't remember your name!
Children are not born with an innate sense of respect, courtesy and politeness (far from it!). It's not until about the age of 18 months that a child begins to even understand that other people have feelings - and manners are about respecting other people's feelings. Manners have to be learned but they can't be learned before a child is ready.
When the time comes to help your child learn their manners:
- Set a parental example. Conspicuous, almost exaggerated manners at home not only sets a good example, it makes home-life genuinely more pleasant. Good manners modelled at home (rather than nagging!) goes a long way toward teaching them to your children - they absorb that good manners are just the way it's done.
- Be consistent. Acquiring manners takes practice and reinforcement. Don't give in to requests made without manners. Don't play the 'reminder' either, where children learn to rely on you to prompt them to say please. That makes them lazy and doesn't teach them manners, just that 'please' is a password to use only when a demand fails. (Over time, maybe build a rule that if the request doesn't have a 'please' it is automatically cancelled!)
- Don't ignore the tone. If the words are there, but the tone is wrong (mocking or sarcastic) hold the line. Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. Sarcasm is not sensitive.
Raise children with good manners and other people will want to have them back at their place again!