Teaching good manners

“Manners are the basic building blocks of civil society." (Alexander McCall Smith)

People ask me all the time about teaching your kids to have good manners. Here’s the best way I know how: Identify all the manners you want them to learn, and relentlessly practice them yourself…in your interactions with them.

  • Occasionally, look each of your kids in the eye and smile upon greeting them, and give them a firm handshake…as if they are actually a person worthy of your respect.

  • Offer them a genuine “thank you” whenever they do anything beneficial…even if it’s for a chore you think they should be doing regardless.

  • Apologize like a grownup whenever you mess up, without any “but” at the end…even if you think they're they ones should apologize first, or if you think apologizing makes you look weak (it doesn’t).

Don’t model good manners for them; practice good manners toward them.

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