Saturday, 12 July 2014

Tips on Raising Well-mannered Kids

I've noticed this emerging pattern of kids that literally dictate their parents. I'm not judging anybody, everybody has his own bunch of unique circumstances, but it is no secret that spoiled children just make things difficult for us as parents in the long run. Whether it's the kid who throws a fit at the toy stand or the child who keeps breaking curfew, the end result is lack of trust and disrespect on both ends of the table.

It is a firm belief of mine that nipping the issue in the bud is a vital step in building well-mannered kids. I'm in no way implying my kids are perfect, they break the rules every now and then, they drive me mad all the time, it's just part of the package, but at the end of the day I'd like to think that my words meant something and that they shaped my child in a positive way. For example, my 6 year old twins and the youngest 2.5 year old get together and make so much noise. None of them are fond of i pads (wow right?) and are not keen at all on cartoons (do I hear another wow?) but they just love pretend playing and will use old and broken down toys and build their own little world. I can swear they actually see whatever the other is seeing in that time. But the result is a lot of sound, a lot! So one day my neighbor, whose wall we share came knocking, telling me that it was disturbing her. My initial reaction was obviously to protect my kids, I thought well lady, you sleep all day and stay awake all night whereas it is the opposite with my kids and so on an so forth. But as I took a step back and put myself in her shoes, then thought about the situation I had to accept that something could be done. Was it possible to quieten the children albeit slightly? Yes! So I started reminding them to be quieter, to take care because aunty was getting disturbed. A week has since passed, and I see the difference. Thank you aunty!

So some tips if it is your thing:

1. Don't be the smother mother: A dreaded truth is that being unduly protective can be counter productive for your child. Don't obsess about every little detail. Case in point, my two elders started arguing about something, and by habit I rush in to diffuse the situation but at that very moment I needed to use to the bathroom. I was quite stressed that the bickering would turn into a battle and rushed out only to see that the matter had been resolved. I decided I had to let conflict resolution skills develop and my pivotal role was to provide guidelines and then give them a chance. It leads to kids making better choices.

2. Engage the community: In today's world of political correctness, hardly anybody comments on anybody's behavior or mannerisms. But that doesn't make rude and crass antics acceptable. Etiquette is something you have to implement and then outline. Also don't be immediately offended by some criticism if it comes your way on the little misdeeds your little one may get into. Just take a moment and consider. Also know that your kids are learning from you. This is important to develop tolerance that is a fast dying quality these days.
3. Who rules? Yelling will hardly get you anywhere and that is a fact. True respect comes when you are firm and resilient in your principles. Children will get that. Don't give in to every whim and demand, allow yourself and your child some time to think about the smart and the right thing to do. Have discussions, ask them the whys and hows and allow them to earn a special treat instead of just giving in, this is so difficult for us since we do what we do for them so you have to show that before being a friend you are their parent. Some tough love does it and is in fact required.

4. Kids will be kids mantra: This one liner should be tossed out of the window, people who say, "they're just kids, let them be" are taking the easy way out. Bad habits can really work their way into the personality of your child. If your heart sends out a warning next time that your kid is really doing something wrong, be clear and as I said earlier, just nip it in the bud. I am sure kids will always be kids, but ethically challenged and immoral actions have to taken into account.

5. Reward vs. Bribery: Don't confuse the two, whereas the first can work as a powerful motivator (but not to be over done), the second will land in you in deep trouble. A reward system allows the child to acknowledge that his accomplishment means something, whereas a bribe is a temporary fix which may just spoil your child further. The best reward you can give your child is the sense of accomplishment. Rewards include appreciation, constructive criticism and the occasional ice cream and most importantly unconditional love in case he fails or makes mistakes. A bribe on the other hand, is just false premise and  the child quickly catches on thinking he can only earn your love if he behaves in a certain way which is in it self is also not a good thing.

As I learn something from my kids everyday, I endeavor to share my insights. What's right for one person may not be right for another but I think some basic commonalities exist everywhere in every home. I hope this post has been a help.


  1. Great article!! My daughter is my only child,so there is no chance for noise. She spends time reading or doing craft or watching cartoon.But I am happy to hear that your kids dont like iPad. Mostly nowadays kids are addicted to iPad.Thanks for the tips,definitely it will help many Moms here.