"That they (the older women) admonish the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mom Monday: Raising Polite Kids

Raising children can be tricky. I recently had someone comment on how polite my oldest daughter was and it made me think. Is it because of the way I've trained her or is it more because we live in a society that is no longer very polite or kind?

I do not profess to be a parenting expert, but here are a few of the things that have worked for me in training my daughter to be polite and kind in a world where it's becoming the exception to treat others as you would have them treat you.

1. Be polite to your children. From the time my daughter was very young I would often say "Please" and "Thank You." I think sometimes there is a concern in parents that children won't respect our requests if we are kind in the way we say it. I don't think this is true, as long as it's phrased properly. For example:

Put your dishes in the sink, please. vs Will you put your dishes in the sink, please?

The first version is not a question, but a command. The second is said in a question which gives the child room to refuse. I try not to say things in a question so that my daughter won't become confused about what I expect from her.

By modeling kindness and politeness in the way I speak to my children, I'm teaching them by example and also creating a good habit for myself.

2. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. It's not enough to say "Please" and "Thank You" and "Sorry" every now and then. It's important to use it constantly. Everyday. Children learn best with consistency and often have to be told things many, many times.

It's easy to become frustrated at how many times we have to remind our children of something. But understanding that God probably does the same thing for me (constant reminders and forgiveness of my failure) helps me to have patience with my children as well.

3. Be quick to apologize. This one is hard to do. It's hard to apologize and so much more when it's our children. We have the mistaken idea that apologizing for our failures is a weakness. But this is not the way God sees it! There is great power in stopping to apologize (or repent) for the wrong things we've done, even if it's just a wrong attitude. Only by recognizing what is wrong can we move on into what is right.

The same is true of our relationships with our children. If I've done something that's wrong towards my children or have hurt them, I try to be quick to apologize, showing them that even Mommy makes mistakes. Children are so quick to forgive (we should be also) and this helps them learn what healthy relationships should look like.

Also, rather than an adult having stand over the children and force them to apologize to each other when they don't really mean it, they learn by their parent's daily example that they should be quick to apologize. As a parent, you may still have to point out to them when they've done wrong and help them think through what they should do to make it right. This is training them to do things things someday on their own. Again, repetition. :)

Wow. This post is becoming rather lengthy. I will continue with it for next week's Mom Monday. How do you help your children to be polite and kind?


Cris @ Goodeness Gracious on October 19, 2010 at 11:36 PM said...

I totally agree! We get the same comments on our little one and we do all of these things:)

Seasons of Life on October 21, 2010 at 1:00 AM said...

Janeen ~

Good post with very practical suggestions. Children are like sponges ~ that means they will pick up the good AND the bad. These are great GOOD tips and the example they see (that's us as parents), coupled with the training (that's what we teach them to do) can make such a difference.

I know for me, if I fail to set a good example, the Lord will often times use my children to show me that I need to correct my attitude (because they began acting or speaking in a like manner). Praise the Lord for loving reminders ~

Blessings ~


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