When Uncle Is a Bad Influence -- Ask Mrs Manners

manners and bad influences

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The toddler years are the perfect age to start teaching your kids manners and good habits. And MrsManners aka: Angela Pitre, owner of the CM group Manners for the Modern Family and FamilyMannersMadeFun.com, is here to help.

Dear MrsManners:

How in the world do I teach my son that the things my grown up, 31 year old brother does in front of him -- name calling, hitting, etc. -- are wrong. Keeping him away from my brother is not an option. -- JasonsMom2007


MrsManners says:

It happens all the time: You go out and your toddler sees some child hitting in the bouncy house. Then, you hear the dreaded question, "Mommy, how come that little boy hits? I'm not supposed to hit." Next thing you know your beloved son is knocking kids over like he is playing pro ball. It can begin to feel like all your hard work is thrown out the window in seconds flat. Even worse, what if it is an aunt or uncle teaching them these lovely new talents?

While it can be challenging, you need to stick to your guns. Set the rules for your household and share them with the kids and with extended family. It is okay to look at your brother and say, "Please don't teach my son these things. I know that it is all in good fun for you, but he looks up to you and I need you to be a positive role model for my child, your nephew."

If your brother still won't follow the house rules, then you will be forced to explain to your child that his uncle, while a lot of fun, just doesn't follow the rules and that's not a good thing, even for a grown up. Suggest to your son that he should try to teach him. He should respond to such behavior by saying: "Uncle Tom, Mom says it isn't nice to call people names."  This may embarrass your brother into following the rules.

When your child spies someone else's kid doing something inappropriate, use the same tactic. Just because you aren't at home, you still have rules that you follow and you use good manners all the time. Not all children have learned to use their good manners yet, but since he knows how to use his, you expect him to use them all the time. 

Sounds simple, but with enough repetition, your little ones will start to keep using their good manners, even when someone else isn't.



Got a question for MrsManners? Leave it here or PM her, and she'll answer it in a future column ...


Past Ask Mrs Manners columns:

Glued to the TV

Should I Be the Manners Police?

Should You Force Etiquette?

Making Embarrassing Comments

Taking Other Kids' Food

Dealing with Trash Talk

Refusing to Pick Up Toys

Dining Out With Toddlers

Attention, Please!

Spoiling vs. Nurturing

Strangling the Dog

Please Don't Interrupt!

10 Signs Your Toddler Is a Brat

Banish the Burp

Should Kids Be Forced to Share Toys?

Winging the Pacifier

Should Parents Say 'Thank You'?

Toddlers Eating Everything

Throwing-Obsessed Toddlers

Are You a Hypocrite?

Pushy Toddlers

Taming the Messy Eater

How to Have Well Behaved Toddlers

My Son Won't Stop Touching Other Moms' Breasts!

Is Shyness Impolite?

Stop Peer Pressure Early

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