3 Common Manners Mishaps & How to Handle Them: Ask Mrs. Manners

kids couch jumping

Photo by Heather_F

When it comes to raising kids, you'll, no doubt, come up against some embarrassing situations — in public places and in the homes of friends and family.

Today MrsManners shares three common manners mishaps and discusses how best to handle them in the moment and later in private, as well as how to better prepare you child against such mishaps in the future.


3 Common Manners Mishaps & How to Handle Them

by MrsManners

#1: You're at the grocery store and hear these words from your little angel, "Why is that lady so big?" or "Why is that person sitting in a moving chair?" 

Well, you aren't alone. There will be many times when your children will say things that will leave you reeling and red faced. It's all a part of their growing up and learning about the world, but, as a parent in this situation, what do you do?

Start by assessing the situation. Did the person who was just insulted in some way hear what was said? If so, then extend an apology on behalf of your child. At this point, you could tell your child to apologize, but they probably wouldn't know why and may even protest and make that much more of a scene. If your child is old enough and knows better, then make sure that they handle their own apologizing on the spot! Being rude shouldn't be a habit and there should definitely be consequences. Sometimes when kids are young, just having to make the apology can put things into perspective for them.

When you are in private again, explain to your child why you apologized for them. Remember that your children are smart and they will get it when you explain that not everyone looks the same but that we all share one common bond — feelings. In this case, drawing attention to what makes a person different hurt that person's feelings.

If you are fortunate enough that the person didn't hear what was said, let your child know that you heard them and will talk about it in a few minutes. Then have that same conversation privately.

#2: You're out in a restaurant and your child makes a scene.

Should you stay or should you go? Well, that depends on how severe the behavior or tantrum is. Your child should never be allowed to just run around from table to table disturbing others while they try to enjoy a quiet meal. If you are unable to quiet your child down in under five minutes, try stepping outside with them and calming them down.

If that doesn't work, then ask for your food to go and have it wrapped up. Take it home, spread out, and make a picnic of it at home.

Be sure to explain to your child why this behavior is unacceptable and start practicing how to behave in restaurants by playing it at home. This is a sure sign that you need to start working on manners out of the home. 

#3: You're at a friend or family member's home and your child starts jumping up and down on the furniture.

Stop your child's actions immediately. If you allow your child to jump on furniture at home, then don't be surprised when they think it's okay to do it wherever they go. Nevertheless, as the parent you need to make sure that they are stopped. It is not okay to be wild in someone else's home unless they say that you can.

If there is any behavior or action that you are unsure about, just ask the people you are visiting if they are okay with your child doing XYZ.

All parents have their own techniques for punishing their children. However, before you punish your child for bad manners in public, make sure that your child understands why the behavior was inappropriate and consider giving yourself the time out instead of your child.

Prevent Future Manners Mishaps Outside the Home

Of course, if you are proactive and try to prepare your children for the differences that they face every day, then you won't find yourself in these situations as often. Explain to your child in advance that there are different rules in every home and that they have to ask before taking part in any behavior or action that is questionable. This explanation will also prevent any unnecessary hard feelings amongst friends.

The old saying is: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So take the time to think through how you want your child to behave in public or in a private home before you go out and prepare them! You may just save yourself and your children from many an awkward situation.

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 MannersMadeFun.com, is here to help!

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