6 Rude Things Moms Let Their Kids Do (Tsk Tsk)

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Rude kidsI’m not vying to be the diva of refined social decorum, but it irks my last ever-lovin’ nerve when parents green light their kids’ bad manners for everybody else to deal with. Sometimes it’s an unconscious, just-didn’t-know-any-better faux pas. And those kinds of little social slips I can let slide with a raise of my eyebrow and a fleeting mental tsk tsk tsk.

But all too often, I’m bumping into this rampant breakdown of all things good, decent, and courteous, behavior that’s a real eff you to the certified home training parents and teachers used to insist on.

I was raised in a household where rudeness was not only unacceptable, it was dangerous. Breeze past an adult at home or church without saying ‘hello’ and see if you didn’t get yanked up by the back of your collar. So maybe I’m the only person noticing that good manners have taken a vacay while bad behavior kicks all hell loose on the streets.

6. Not covering coughs and sneezes. It just can’t get any more basic than this, but it’s a dying principle of interpersonal cleanliness. Little Miss Princess or Young Gentleman-in-Training should know how to raise the crook of their arm to their face to keep their personal germs ... personal. Launching a spray of funky snot and spit into the air from their uncovered nose or mouth is nasty, no matter how irresistibly adorable the kid is.

5. Allowing a first-name basis. If I, as an adult, have the wherewithal to address anyone who is obviously my mother’s age or older as ‘miss’ or ‘mister,’ there’s no reason why someone young enough to be my child should haul off and call me ‘Janelle.’ It’s a sign of respect that every adult should expect because we’re not our kids’ or their friends’ peers, hip and youthful as we might try to make ourselves out to be.

4. Failing to make them launch (out of their seat). This one grinds my nerves down to the root: not standing up for elderly people, pregnant women, and (for boys) women in general in any crowded seating area, particularly on public transportation. It’s a sad, sad state of affairs when an 80-year-old man with a cane or an about-to-bust lady with child struggles to find an available place to sit, only to end up standing next to some defiantly rude tweens or teenagers old enough to know better.

3. Thinking bad behavior is cute. So the little one has somehow added the F-word to their vocab, the tween is experimenting with how to slang four- and five-letter obscenities, or maybe they’ve mastered the fine art of inappropriate storytelling. Your reaction is to chuckle and show off their new trick when friends and family come over. It might be funny now (even though seriously, it’s not — just ask your kids’ teacher), but you won’t find it the least bit ha ha-worthy when they figure out how to fit those words into conversation with you. Nip it in the bud, please. For society’s sake.

2. Not teaching them to say ‘hello.' This may have been my mother’s number one blood boiler, so anyone I brought home who needed to be nudged into greeting her generally didn’t get a second invite to the Harris camp. But it’s true: it’s common courtesy to acknowledge someone when you see them (barring complete strangers), so if your kids are going to walk into somebody’s house or slide their tails into somebody’s car without so much as a ‘hi, howyadoin’?’” their rudeness will sure enough be the big ol’ pink elephant in the space.

1. Letting them run wild. Nobody but you thinks it’s cute that Little Earl almost knocked down five innocent shoppers while he was playing a solo game of hide 'n' seek in the racks at TJ Maxx. It’s too socially unacceptable to scold a complete stranger’s child for being unruly (even though I do it on a regular basis, so poo poo to social acceptability), but if you take control of the situation, there’s no need for manner-obsessed blogging mamas like myself to step in and do it. 

What are you manners must-haves? What pet peeves do you have that make you say, “Mannnnn, if that was my kid ...”?


Image via mdanys/Flickr

behavior, boys, discipline, girls, tweens, teens

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sofia... sofia0587

All these 6 are exactly how my nephews act and omg sometimes I just wanna knock em out lol my sister has taught them noooooo manners or not even the basic ones. I honestly don't want them around my baby to much with the way they act.

RanaA... RanaAurora

Some kids won't say hello to people because they're shy or uncomfortable, not rude. :)
Also, the first name thing is often cultural. I'd never been called "Miss Christie" in my ENTIRE LIFE until I moved to the south, and then I thought it was weird.

Jeann... JeannieMS

I totally agree with all these ... But I do give people a break on number 2. I have a SUPER shy kid and so I'm teaching him it's polite to greet people, but I understand that he's just not able sometimes. It happens. So I agree it should be taught and I'm definitely hoping he'll do it when older but as a preschooler I let it go if it doesn't happen.

Michelle Griffith

All of these burn my hide. Another one that irks me and this is for the older crowd: I was raised to say ma'am and sir (and always use titles if they were more than 5 years older than me.) People who are older than me (and I am almost 40!) complain when I say sir or ma'am "That's my mother/ father, not me." It's an ingrained trait. It's called manners and being respectful. If I didn't say sir or ma'am when speaking to ANYONE when I was a kid (except other kids my age,) I got pulled up by my shirt. It's sad when i feel like I need to apologize for being polite!

2tiny... 2tinyhineys

#5 I make my kids say "Mr." and "Mrs." to ALL adults.  Good job on that one.


Kids that interrupt me as I speak.


Kids that are walking away from a parent when the parent is talking.  The parents then do nothing except maybe get more loud.  When I lecture my child, I hold them and talk quietly into thier ears.  It is between my child and me and I want to hear "Yes mam." afterwards, or at least ok, some acknowledgement that I just gave them instructions.

buffa... buffalove23

Kids running around a restaurant. I told a parent the other day to control her kids or go to chuck e cheese bc they were sitting around while the kid terrorized the whole place. I can't stand it. Bring something for your kid to do or don't bring them out. And its not like this is family might...it was seven at night on a Saturday in a sushi place

nonmember avatar Rachel

Please, thank you and excuse (or pardon) me. All three need to be learned!

I give a pass on the first name thing - I think that may be a southern thing. I'm from Wisconsin and I don't have a problem with kids calling me by my first name if they are familiar to me.

mesai mesai

My DD (4 y/o) has called anyone that isn't related (or otherwise instructed) Ms. or Mr. so-and-so... She hasn't quite learned the part about giving her seat, but she's pretty much learned about everything else on the list... I've been complimented on her manners because I always make sure she says please and thank you and, the newest trick up her sleeve, to raise her hand when she has something to say and other people are talking (thank you Mrs. Good - her preschool teacher- for that one!)

GlowW... GlowWorm889

No table manners. I hate to see children (beyond the toddler years) who can't chew with their mouths closed, can't use a fork and knife, can't use a napkin, and play with their food. It's disgusting. I even had classmates when I was in college who couldn't follow these rules. Eating in the dining hall was gross. It's not that hard to teach table manners. Really?


Children who have an outright disrespect for authority. Granted, there are phases when a child will rebel, and the adult is not right all the time (then I fully support a child's speaking up), but having worked in the childcare profession, the rudeness of children astounds me. I would tell them (elementary schoolers) to come do an activity or to stop doing something destructive, and here is what I heard "No. I don't want to. I'm not going to." My response? "I'm sorry you don't want to. It's not optional." When I was a kid, if an adult asked you to do something, you did it.


Kids who speak about innapropriate subjects in a public place, and find it funny when others are disgusted. Yes, there is an age when children are fascinated with bodily functions and swear words, but it is not a good subject for public, and it is not funny. They should be taught that there are some subjects that should not be spoken of in polite company.

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