Manners Pitfalls in Modern Parenting: Ask Mrs. Manners

Sheri Reed
toddler girl phone

Photo by JayGirlsMom

With our fast-paced days and all the modern technologies that have been introduced into our families' lives, it's important to keep sight of our manners.

Today MrsManners reminds us about a few manners foundation basics we may have forgotten in our busy everyday lives and other manners mistakes that we need to set precedence on for the first time in our lives.

Manners Pitfalls in Modern Parenting

From: MrsManners

For modern parents raising children in a fast-moving and tech savvy world, new manners scenarios arise every day. That's why we must do our part to stay current on modern manners so that we can continue to do that very important parenting task: be an example to our children.

For this reason, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some common manners pitfalls in modern parenting. These are mostly manners slip-ups that we as a society have sort of forgotten or fallen into as technology and a faster pace have become part of our everyday lives. 

5 Manners Pitfalls in Modern Parenting

  1. Assuming that all cartoons model good manners. Take care when you let your toddler watch cartoons. Just because it is animated doesn't mean that it's teaching your child the behavior that you want them to learn. A lot of cartoons tear kids down while others teach your toddler, not just to count, but to be good people and to have good manners, and some even finagle a little tolerance in there. If you watch the shows with your children, you may even find the chance to address your child's question, "Why that person is in a wheelchair?" before you are left in the embarrassing spot of answering it in front of someone with a disability.
  2. Using poor technology etiquette: It is important, especially with all the extra technologies today, to make sure we are present when we are with our families — no phone calls, land line or otherwise, during dinner. That is what voice mail is for. Just wait until you are sitting at the dinner table and your two-year old answers the fake phone. You will realize that you have unintentionally taught your child a bad lesson. And before you answer that all important text message, take your technology temperature. Are there little eyes on you? Were you doing something with your little one and interrupted it to grab your phone? Even though they are toddlers, they are learning from you every second of every day. We have become so virtually connected as a society that we feel every little text, voice mail, or email needs to be addressed immediately, sometimes leaving those we love feeling like second class citizens.
  3. Ignoring the need for personal space. Personal, I could go on and on about this one. Let me start by stating that yes, we live in America, and yes, other cultures have different definitions of what personal space is. It is important to try and take that into consideration. However, as Americans, we have a tendency to like our space. In fact, putting the wheels of your shopping cart on the heels of the person in front of you is a clear violation of this space. It won't get you out of the grocery store any faster, and it's setting a bad example for your little one to boot. Lines of all sorts bring up poor manners in terms of respecting personal space. Try to leave enough space in and around you for people to be comfortable. Try not to be a close talker if you can help it. Oh yes and don't drive too close to the car in front of you; tailgating is both bad manners and dangerous.
  4. Forgetting that R-E-S-P-E-C-T is key! Showing respect first for yourself and then to others sets a huge example for your children. Regardless of any other person in their lives, your toddlers are getting the foundation for how to treat others with respect by watching how you do it. Does that mean when you go to pay for your gas and buy a Lotto ticket that you have a toddler on your hip, an ear to your phone, and sort of just grunt at the person behind the counter as you swipe your debit card and run? If that sounds like you, even a little bit, then give this a try instead. When dealing with someone who works behind any type of counter, ignore technology no matter how much it may be calling you, make eye contact with the teller/attendant/sales associate/etc., and give them a smile and a thank you. Laying the foundation for showing others respect is priceless!
  5. Devaluing family mealtime. By making mealtime important when your children are young, you have the chance to show your toddler how mealtime is the time to talk to one another, find out about each others days and lives, to practice using good manners (sometimes), and to reconnect as a family. If you lay the foundation for family meals now, by the time your kids are teens and you wish they would spend more time with you, you will already have this ritual and time together. If you can, try not to watch TV while eating every meal. It can be easier to have the TV on. The television may be a permanent fixture in your home and on all the time, but sometimes, you want to turn it off and during a meal is the ideal time to give "OFF" a try. Talk to one another and stay connected.

There are undoubtedly more pitfalls out there when it comes to modern parenting. For the most part, try to present in the moment, and chances are you will find a great way to navigate through it. Our children are little sponges, and they are picking up on all that you do and all that you are.

So don't the person you want your child to become!

Got manners/behavior questions? Post them in the comments below. CafeMom MrsManners aka: Angela Pitre, owner of the CM group Manners for the Modern Family and, is here to help!

Read more from Mrs. Manners.


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