Good manners never go out of style -- the are an asset for any teenager. Teaching manners begins in the toddler and preschool years, and should be understood, if not always followed, before the teen years. Modeling is the most effective way to teach good manners. If your child doesn’t exhibit the manners you wish to see, check your own behavior to ensure you're modeling the behavior your want your teens to exhibit.
Honoring, which means to show respect by word, body language and attitude, is an essential manner for teens. Insist that your teen talk to you at a reasonable volume without cutting remarks, and model that behavior toward him. Expect your teen to take responsibility for his behavior, accept the consequences of misbehavior and disobedience, and apologize for the infraction. If you allow him to drive your car, insist that he return it with at least as much gasoline as it had when he borrowed it and that it returns clean and in good repair.
Siblings can get on your teen’s last nerve, but that doesn’t excuse being rude, hurtful or unkind. The best guideline for this is to require that your teen treat others as she wants to be treated. She should apologize when wrong and seek to right wrongs whenever possible. She should respect their property in the same manner she wants them to respect hers. You are blessed if your teen willingly works cooperatively with her siblings and assists you in their care by being a good role model.
Your teen should treat everyone as he wants to be treated. Expect that he uses the same manners when he is outside the home as he does when he is at home. This includes speaking respectfully to everyone, being honest and courteous and behaving responsibly. If you don’t allow cursing and unkind words at home, they don’t belong on his lips when he’s not with you.
Some manners make your teen a joy to be with. She can turn off what she turns on, shut what she opens, clean up what she messes up, and avoid creating unnecessary work for others. These simple acts of courtesy smooth out many relationship bumps. Your teen can give her seat to an older adult or mom with a baby, hold the door for someone who has their hands full and say, “please” and “thank you” whenever the opportunity arises.
- The 21 Rules of This House; Gregg and Josh Harris
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