1. Do It Yourself
This is the most obvious tip, if you want your kids to eat dinner without putting their elbows on the table, then don’t do it yourself!
2. Many Small Talks
I think that sitting down to have ‘the manner talk’ doesn’t really work. You are better off teaching one or two things at a time as they come up.
3. Be Careful of Friends
Your teen might be great around you, but as soon as they get around a certain burpy, cursing friend their flatulence level goes from 0 to 60. You cannot forbade your kid from hanging out with them, but you can make them aware of how people treat this kid differently because of the way he acts (maybe teachers do not like his manners or at birthday parties other parents see him/her as rude).
4. Don’t Make a Stink
One of the biggest pitfalls is that parents make a huge deal about manners. I am not saying you should not emphasize good etiquette, but when parents fight with kids about elbows, it makes the kids want to break the rule just because it makes you angry. Pick your battles, and light pushing is better than hardcore nagging.
5. Lots of Praise
We love to be praised! When we do it right, tell us–lots!
6. Get Someone They Admire
My parents gave me tons of advice when I was younger. I really do not remember any of it. Yet, I do remember every single thing my dance teacher or older cousin said to me during our once a year lunches. Get someone they admire to stress good manners and etiquette so they listen with new ears.
Great Books on This Topic
I read Emily Post’s Etiquette guide when I was a senior in High School (I for some reason–probably because I am uber organized–love etiquette and manner books). Here are two of my favorites, also by the Emily Post Family.
The Gift of Good Manners: A Parents Guide to Raising Respectful, Kind, Considerate Children by Peggy Post and Cindy Post Senning
Teen Manners: From Malls to Meals to Messaging and Beyond by Cindy Post Senning and Peggy Post