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Raising Respectful Kids

Christine Pafumi
Aug. 6, 2012

One mom shares her belief in value of please and thank you as part of the Care.com Interview Series

When it comes to manners in Cristina's household, the concept is fairly simple: treat others the way you want to be treated. This mom of three, who blogs about life in Illinois with her family of five (plus animals) over at Tailor Made Momma, shares the importance of teaching proper manners to kids so they are able to take on the world! We talked to the blogger about her "tailor-made" approach to nose picking, respect and good old-fashioned manners.

Tell us about your family. How many kids do you have? What are their ages? What are their personalities like?

I have three boys ages 6, 5, and 18 months, a dog, a cat, two gerbils, and of course my wonderful husband. If you were to meet my boys you would know that they are definitely brothers, but they certainly all have their own personalities. My oldest is very dependent. While he can do things on his own, he would prefer that someone help him or be with him. He is also very emotional. My five-year-old is my instigator and attention hog. He needs to be the center of attention ALL the time and will do whatever it takes to get it. My little guy is my sweetheart and my total momma's boy! He loves to dance and play and he thinks that just about everything his brothers do is HYSTERICAL.

Are there any golden rules of manners in your house and how do you teach them?

The biggest rule in our house is to "Treat other the way you want to be treated."

What age is appropriate to start teaching manners and how have you approached it with your children?

I don't think it is ever too early to start teaching your kids manners. It can be as simple as just using please and thank you when you talk to your babies.

What role do you feel good manners play in building your children's confidence? How are you working to reinforce that?

Manners mean a lot in our family, and I think that if you can send your kids into the world with proper manners, then they can take on anything! We reinforce this in our house by encouraging our kids to use manners and by reminding them why they are important.

What is your biggest pet-peeve when it comes to manners? (i.e. nose picking, saying please and thank you, etc) How do you handle it with your own kids?

While I don't approve of nose picking, my biggest pet peeve is disrespect. I don't tolerate children talking back or using an attitude. It is something that is stopped immediately in our house.

With the rise of technology, manners have certainly changed in the digital age. How have you have taught your children to avoid being rude? Do old-fashioned manners still apply?

We try to limit the boys' access to technology, as I still feel that they should spend as much time as possible playing outside and being active. Old-fashioned manners definitely still apply in our house. Adults are always Mr. and Mrs., and please and thank you are a must!

What is the funniest, most impolite thing that your child, or any other, has said or done that you just couldn't help laughing at?

The other day we were leaving the gym, and my five-year-old looked at me and said, "Mommy, I think you need to lose a few pounds. But it is ok, because I think you already lost some today!"

Have your kids ever caught you breaking your own rules? We want to hear about it!

[My kids] usually catch their father breaking the rules. They are also very good at letting me know that Daddy broke the rules.

In twenty years, what good manners do you hope your children take with them in their adulthood?

More than anything else, I hope that my kids remember to be respectful of others. There are too many people in the world today that have forgotten that all people deserve our respect, and you will get a lot further in life if you can do that.

If you could tell other parents just one thing about manners, anything at all, what would it be?

It is never too early to teach your kids and we need to practice what we preach! If you don't do it, you can't expect your kids to do it either!

Cristina is the blogger behind Tailor Made Momma. She is a breast-feeding, cloth-diapering mom who loves to cook but hates to clean. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three boys. Find Cristina on Twitter and Facebook.

For more helpful tips, check out the Care.com Interview Series: Teaching Manners ยป

Photo used with permission from Cristina.
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