Sunday, 11 September 2011

25 Manners Parents Should Know

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Having coming across a really horrible list of "25 manners your kids should know" today (which I'm not going to link to as it's just so disrespectful to children, but I'm sure you can google it if you're interested), which just made me sad, I couldn't sleep until I'd whipped up an alternate version, so voila...  

 A rebuff to "25 Manners your kids should know"

#1: When asking for something, say "Please." If your kids see it as normal they'll start saying it at some point without you ever having to ask them to. Plus, it's just nice.

#2: When receiving something, say "Thank you." Ditto the above.

#3: If children interrupt you when you're speaking with other adults, rejoice in the fact that they have something they want to share with *you*, and remember their childhood is fleeting and you'll miss those interruptions when they're all grown up. If there is an emergency, try to notice the smoke/flood/explosive nappy before anyone needs to interrupt you anyway.

#4: If you would like your children to use the phrase “Excuse me”, use it reguarly and appropriately yourself, and see number 1 and 2 for reasons.

#5: When you have any doubt about doing something, ask yourself first whether it will enrich your relationship with your children. It can save you from many years of grief later.

#6: Listen to what your kids dislike. And what they like. And what they love, what excites them, what fills them with joy and fires their curiosity. Because if you're interested in these things you can enrich their world and make their lives joyful.

#7: Tell your kids how amazing they are every day. Kids with high self esteem don't tend to bully others. If your child makes an innocent remark about someone's physical characteristics, apologise yourself if appropriate, and take the opportunity to talk to your child about people's differences and how feelings can get hurt.

#8: When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are. Your kids will see that's the way the world works and want to join in. (See numbers 1, 2 and 4)

#9: When you have your kids' friends over, remember that between them they will have many, many multiples of the energy of just your kids. Make sure you have enough coffee in. (For you, not them ;) ) When your kids go to friends' houses... put your feet up and make the most of the break, you'll be missing them like crazy before they're due back!

#10: Knock on your kids' doors -- and wait to see if there's a response -- before entering. Extend your children the same rights over their privacy as you would any other human being, and you'll find they follow suit. (See numbers 1, 2, 4 and 8)

#11: When you make a phone call, remember that at one (or, more likely, several) point during the call, you will need to take someone to the toilet/change a nappy/get someone a drink/break up an argument over Lego/find the remote/have a nervous breakdown. Either perfect your 'phone between ear and shoulder while doing all the above' move, or get a bluetooth headset.

#12: Be appreciative and say "thank you" for any gift you receive from your kids. I've had a piece of blue tac wrapped in foil before now. (And yes, I kept it :) )

#13: If your kids swear, remember they're just words, and you give them power. Take it as an opportunity to discuss people who might be offended and where such language would cause a problem.

#14: Don't call people mean names. That includes your kids. That includes saying how annoying/naughty/exasperating they are.

#15: Make every day fun. Know what they enjoy and fill their lives with the opportunity to do it.

#16: If a play is boring, make sure they can let you know and you can leave quietly and go get ice cream. Or go to the park. Or go snuggle up and eat some fish and chips. Because life's too short.

#17: If you bump into somebody, immediately say "Excuse me." (See numbers 1, 2, 4, 8, and 10) And not “Oh S*** sorry” (see number 13)

#18: Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don't pick your nose in public. (See numbers 1, 2, 4, 8, 10 and 17)

#19: As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else. (See numbers 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 17 and 18) That is, once you've manouvered through the door with a pram, three children, a nappy bag stuffed to bursting, and four bags of groceries, picked your toddler's favourite teddy off the floor without trapping your fingers in the door hinge, and gone back for your shoe that came off ten yards ago without you noticing because you were too busy answering “Why?” for the fortieth time that hour.

#20: If you come across one of your kids working on something, ask if you can help. If they say "yes," do so -- you may learn something new.

#21: When a child asks you for a favour, do it without grumbling and with a smile.

#22: When your child helps you, say "thank you." They may never want to help you again, but if you help *them* every single day you can be pretty certain that they will.

#23: Make food fun! Make monkey platters and muffin tin meals, fairy bread butterflies and broccoli trees, mashed potato clouds and glow in the dark drinks, glittery jelly and traffic light toast. And finally, always, always eat squirty cream from the can.

#24: Keep a napkin in your bag. In fact, keep 20. They're invaluable for mopping up spills, cleaning sticky faces, drawing pictures on in restaurants, constructing origami frogs, and putting on questionable public toilet seats when even your five year old looks at it as if to say “You've got to be kidding me!”

#25: Offer things at the dinner table. If someone reaches over the dinner table for something, and gets their sleeve in the ketchup, refer back to number 24.