6 Ways to Teach Manners to Teens

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

2 Responses to “6 Ways to Teach Manners to Teens”

  1. child safety
    August 20, 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    7. Teach them why it’s important.

    Many kids especially in my generation don’t really understand the importance of manners. Everyone deserves to be treated with a neutral amount of respect, even if you don’t like them.

  2. Andy
    March 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    Kids can be taught manners. I see them all the time. I teach 7th grade, and I actually have kids thank me for teaching them after lessons. I know that their parents have taught them to do so, and it’s wonderful. What a gift that we give each other when we thank each other and find new ways to show respect and cordiality. Here’s an article about it… http://growingupwell.org/2009/10/12/good-manners-helps-teens-succeed/

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