We live in a world rife with self-centeredness, don’t you agree? It’s hard to pinpoint where the blame lies, but I’d say it doesn’t really matter. What matters is – how do we fix it?
In this article we will give you our top 10 parenting tips to teach your children manners, just like we were taught when we were young.
Back then, there was no “selfie culture”…no social media for that fact.Don’t get me wrong, social media can be great. It enables us to stay in touch with family and friends virtually (pun intended) and instantaneously. That really is great. But it also lends our culture to a previously unknown level of self-absorption.
These are the parenting tips that I held firm to while raising my kids…and they worked!!!!
As is my theme, start early! It pays off in the end.
Top 10 Kids Behaviours Parenting Tips
1. Please and Thank You
I know this seems pretty intuitive; please and thank you’s have been around for a while but this is one of the easiest parenting tips to implement and at a very early age. This needs to happen within the family, not just when the kids are out in public or at the elderly aunt’s house.
When you’re out and about, it’s easier (I think) to set expectations for your kids because you are usually more attentive to the little things.
I speak here of the everyday, mundane interactions between you and the kids and between siblings (especially when they think no one is paying attention…read: you have to always pay attention)
One of the best tips for parents we can give is pay closest attention in the early years because if you parent well in the early years, your job is 100 times easier in the later years. You will have kids that respect each other and you. It’s worth it.
Listen up here, this is a big one (see what I did there?).
Teaching a child to stop what they are doing and engage with the person talking to them is a parenting tip that will help your child go far in life. Think of the times, in-house or out in public, that you were in a situation where you felt that you were not listened to. Maybe the other person doesn’t even look up when you speak to them, and think about how that makes you feel?
When you speak to someone and they do not look at you, it makes you feel that you are not being listened to. As parents, it is up to us to teach our children that it is “good manners” to look at a person when they are talking to you.
This parenting tip, when applied to your child will result in many comments from other parents, teachers and anybody else your child associates with saying “It is such a pleasure having your child around”.
The ability to listen and fully engage not only makes for a child people are happy to have around, but as they get to adulthood it will serve them well with prospective employers as bosses do not want to have to keep explaining processes and procedures.
Not listening shows poor people skills, that is, it’s rude. Do your children a favor, and yourself, and explain to your child the importance of properly listening to people when they talk to you and how having this skill will serve them very well right now but also well into the future. This is one of the best parenting tips we can give you!!
This is HUGE, and it follows on from “Listening”.
Children ignore their parents (and others) as a way to flex their muscles – it gives them a sense of control and power in a world where they really have no control.
Our best parenting tip for a child who ignores you is to understand WHY this is happening and what is important for you as a parent and also what is important for your child.
The typical scenario here is: “Julie, put your shoes on please, we have to go.” Then 1 minute later – “Julie, please get your shoes on.” Then another 2 minutes later – “JULIE, GET YOUR SHOES ON!!!”
In her article Why Your Kids Are Ignoring You, psychologist Erica Reischer Ph.D. calls this the ask, ask, ask…..yell pattern and says that the problem with this behaviour (even though it gets the job done in the short term) is that it is creating bad habits in the long term for both yourself and your child.
It means that your child is learning to only respond when you yell, and you are learning to yell to get your child to respond/react. This is confrontational and is not how correspondence happens in the real world.
The best parenting tip to combat a child who ignores you is to not address it at the time when you are both emotional, upset and probably angry. Neither of you needs to be involved in an emotional rant about why it is important for your child to listen when you speak to them.
Instead, at a calmer time, sit down and say “Remember when I yelled at you the other day to get your shoes on?” and then explain why it was important that your child acknowledge your request at the time it was made, even if it was to reply with something like “Yes Mum, I’m just going finish packing up, I’ll be 2 minutes.”
It’s important to teach children limits, expectations and consequences.
4. Meaningful Apologies
“I’m SORRRRRY!!” Uh-huh, sure you are. This is another big one, but it’s on my top 10 list, so I guess that makes sense.
When kids are arguing and they get called out on the fact that they are in the wrong, they usually get, wait for it… angrier! Don’t you, at first? As an adult though, you hopefully have the skills to assess the situation and give your child a minute or two to calm down before you try to have a conversation about it.
An awesome parenting tip is to explain to your child that just saying the words “I’m sorry” is not enough, they have to MEAN it!
In her article Art of the Apology: How, When, and Why to Give and Accept Apologies, author Lauren M Bloom J.D. says “An apology always has to be sincere and perceived as sincere by the other person, or it will fail,”
You, as an adult, have the maturity to see the other person’s point of view but kids don’t have that skill built in. It needs to be taught.
Another great parenting tip to use is to have a consistent plan in place for these instances and follow it through, every time. Eventually, they will understand how to handle themselves, but it’s not overnight. It takes time(ugh, there it is again).
5. Finish What You Agree To (No Quitting!)
You know that feeling when you’re playing a game and luck is just not on your side? It takes all your adult-ness to just finish the game, but we have all had to learn how important this is for pretty well everything we do in life.
That’s why teaching your children to finish what they have started is such an important parenting tip! If a child is constantly starting projects and never finishing them, it sets up patterns that will stay with them for life.
Classic examples of this are a child who wants to play in a team sport, say soccer, for the first time. It is important that before the season starts, you explain to the child that there are costs involved in them deciding to play:- soccer boots, socks, shorts and registration fees.
The parenting tip here is to explain to your child that if they sign up to play in a team for the season, there is no opting out until the season finishes so they need to be sure this is what they want to do. This is for a couple of reasons.
- It means that your child needs to think about whether this is exactly what they want to do because it involves expense, a time commitment for training and games each week for both your child and you to get them there.
- There is a team relying on them so there is no option to just say “I don’t want to do this anymore.” There is a bigger picture here and they need to understand it.
Trust me, your children will thank you in the long run as they will develop skills to decide if what they are looking to undertake is really important to them because it will be a commitment.
6. Learning Your Strengths
Here is a piece of GOLD that you absolutely must teach your children. From raising my children to reading lots of material, this is the Number 1 parenting tip that I wish someone has spelled out to me very clearly a long time ago.
NOT EVERY CHILD CAN BE GOOD AT EVERYTHING!
Sure, when children are very little it is important to teach them skills in every aspect of life but as they grow and develop it is essential to explain to them that it is very unlikely that they will excell in everything they undertake.
What is important here is that they develop a groundwork baseline in all aspects of life – reading, writing, math, creative aspects such as art and dance, sport and communication. As they mature, it is essential that you spend time with them to find out not only the activities that they enjoy, but also to help them determine where their natural talents and strengths lay.
This is not to say that they cannot pursue things outside these strengths, but here is where this parenting tip is so powerful, you must explain to them that if this is the path they wish to follow, then it will require more effort and time to achieve goals outside of their natural strengths.
If this is truly something which resonates with your child, you need to be supportive and encouraging as well as realistic.
In this era of Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and other social media platforms where images are constantly photo-shopped and softened it has become essential to educate our children with our next best parenting tip. This ties beautifully into Learning Your Strengths because nobody is getting this all right, even us parents.
The definition of Self-Awareness is, “Self-awareness involves monitoring our stress, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. It is important, because it’s a major mechanism influencing personal development” as written by Tchiki Davis, Ph.D. in Psychology Today.
It is vital to teach your children that there are NO perfect people on this planet! As humans we are a mix of “good” and “bad” traits however we are inherently unaware of them. We berate ourselves for what we see as our short-comings and revel in what we see as our greatness.
The reality is that most people are unaware of why they succeed or fail. It is only in a few circumstances that we take the time to sit, reflect and analyze how and why what we did resulted in success or failure.
The reason this parenting tip is so powerful is that when you teach your child why they respond in certain circumstances and how to quietly reflect on this why, you set them up with a life-changing behaviour that most adults have never even recognised. It delivers them the ability to realise why they behave as they do, and to search for other, better ways to react.
We all know that kids are inherently self-absorbed right? As babies, they are supposed to be that way. It’s your job to meet all their needs, because as babies go, they only really have needs. Then they become toddlers. And they figure out that they have wants… and when they want something, they want it now! And yes, they’re cute. So were mine. But when they start thinking they can interrupt anything that you are doing, it very quickly gets not cute. And that’s a short hop to bratty and unpleasant.
The best parenting tip we can give you here is to explain why children will interrupt. Children are so focussed on their own needs that they don’t recognise that you or any adult has needs too. They have just spent the first few years of life having you respond to every noise, whimper or cry, so why should that stop?
Breaking this pattern is a gentle process which will require some patience on your behalf and will take some time. You have to understand that they have been the centre of your Universe up until this time and are used to you dropping whatever it was that you were doing to attend to their every whim. This is a process people – give yourself and your children time to adapt to the new reality of them having to “wait” for your full attention.
9. Learning How To Interact With Adults
Of course your children know how to interact with adults – they interact with you every day!! We are talking about the basic behaviours of greeting known adults and meeting new adults.
When I was young we always had to address an “adult” (the distinction wasn’t easy but was roughly anybody my parents age or over) as Mr or Mrs or Miss. I understand those days are most likely behind us except maybe for grandparents – as I think it should be.
This tip for parents is about giving your children some baseline groundwork on how to address any adult they first meet to show respect, politeness and good manners.
Make sure your kids look people in the eye and shake their hands! (and please teach them not to have a dead fish handshake; future employers will notice)
Address them with a title and their surname – Mrs Jones, Mr Smith, Miss Reddy. Most people will inwardly swell and also tell your child if a less formal title is appropriate. This must be up to the individual and not your child to determine.
10. Play Appropriately
Ok. This one may seem a little odd and it is definitely one to start very early on.
When you see kids playing with toys in a way that they are not intended, it’s a very slippery slope to your kid being the out of control kid on the playground. Seem like a leap? Not as much as you would think.
The kid that is kicking sand and banging trees with sticks may very well have been the kid that was banging a toy car on a window or pulling off all the paper wrappers from the crayons without ever coloring.
I know I probably sound a bit tyrannical here, but I’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years and observing other kids for just as long.
So these are my top 10 parenting tips to teach good behaviour in kids. Believe me, I have more. I’m an opinionated person.
Here is a link to an earlier article on our site about encouraging better grades for your child.
Sara is our super author here at famous parenting and is an absolute wealth of knowledge. Sara has studied many topics including creative writing, psychology and journalism but her real passion lies in raising her 5 children. Between working from home, homeschooling her youngest 2 children and navigating the world of teenagers she really is a parenting guru.