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Children And Good Manners


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By Margarita Nahapetyan

Good manners must be taught at an early age, according to a new poll released by the Web site BabyCenter.com earlier this week, which found that 81 per cent of parents, and particularly younger ones, are determined to teach their kids the rules of etiquette.

Amy Vanderbilt, the etiquette expert, once said that good manners are interconnected with emotions, and in order to learn them, an individual must feel them first, and not just follow the instructions blindly. Of all the 1021 mothers that have been surveyed in the new poll, the absolute majority agreed that teaching kids good manners has become one of the priorities in their child's upbringing.

When asked why do they think that manners are so essential, the largest group of respondents (64 per cent), said that the most important reason was to equip children with strong moral principles that would guide them in today's world. The second reason why parents wanted to teach their kids manners was based on the comparison between their own kids and the children who do not behave in a proper way. In other words, 58 per cent of parents want to make sure that their offspring do not act like that. As the reason number three was the belief that in the increasing world of constant challenge and competition, parents want their children to be prepared for a complex and competitive working world.

So what do these parents mean by good manners and which of them turned out to be the most important for them? The most popular responses were:

  1. 40 per cent said that children must treat adults with respect, addressing them as Mr., Mrs., or Miss.

  2. 29 per cent of the answers included: saying please and thank you, as well as sending handwritten 'thank you' notes for gifts and presents.

  3. 19 per cent said that kids should treat other children with respect and be willing to share.

In addition, a big majority of all the parents who participated in the poll, said that they are teaching their children to eat dinner with napkins in their laps, as well as to never talk with their mouths full, and always ask to be excused from the table.

According to Linda Murray, editor in chief of BabyCenter, the results of the poll are consistent with other signs that the youngest generation of parents are very much into taking control over their kids conduct and education. We are coming out of an era when children were leading their parents and ordering them what to do, she said, a time when children were allowed to call adults by their first names, given food the minute they asked for it, and put to bed when showing signs of being tired.

The average age of parents who actively are involved in BabyCenter's readership, is 27, and they are a new generation of mothers and fathers, Murray added. They themselves were born at the time when the world was more of a freewheeling place, and they feel responsible now to better educate their kids and give them "more of a grounding." Parents now are being guided by considerations to show their kids their love, but also to let them know that they do not appreciate their bad behavior.

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