Monday, 17 May 2010

"Social Graces"

Did anyone else have this book when they were little? I loved it. Is that weird?

I also think I learned how to properly set the table before I learned to tie my shoes. And I once took an 8-week "etiquette" course, where I learned to eat a bun by gently tearing off and buttering one small piece at a time (which I don't do now).

Elysse reminded me at supper tonight that I shouldn't talk with my mouth full, so maybe I'm due for another class. But even though my manners aren't fit for dinner with the queen, I'm glad my family taught me the value and necessity of good manners from an early age. And Dave and I are trying to teach our girls the same thing.

"Please" and "thank you" are the obvious basics (explained very nicely in the book above!), but I am always looking for resources to teach social graces that go beyond that.

Here is a GREAT one on the Simple Kids blog:

Parenting Preschoolers: A Starting Place for Social Graces

This is an article by Amanda Morgan, who is the author of Not Just Cute - another great blog.

She takes manners and courtesy right into discipline, and it really does all go hand in hand. I firmly believe that (so far) discipline is the absolute hardest part of parenting. I don't believe in punishment, but I firmly believe in predetermined, relevant, consistent discipline, and spend a fair amount of time thinking (and worrying) about it. I loved what Amanda Morgan's article suggested.

Here are a few of her points that resounded in me:

  • Many challenging behaviors are absolutely normal parts of development. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t correct the behaviors, but their appearance doesn’t mean you’ve done a lousy job of parenting or that you have an inherently “bad” kid.
  • Social skills are learned skills.
  • When the next shouting match or toy tug-of-war occurs, take a deep breath and recognize those conflicts as teaching opportunities.
  • Young children have the capacity to feel all the turbulent emotions we feel as adults, but a limited ability to verbalize it.
  • When the focus is on punishment as a reaction to improper behavior, we are only teaching the child not to “get caught” being “bad.”

I could list a ton more, but if this is something that is part of your life right now, I suggest reading it. Don't skip anything - there are gems the whole way through! And please share if you have any resources that you've found useful! I think we could all use some new ideas in this department, right?


Amanda Morgan said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the article! Knowing parents like you find something helpful in it is my big payoff! Thanks for recommending it so highly. I'm very flattered!
Amanda Morgan

Jordana said...

Thanks for sharing that Lyndsey, it's a great article! I totally agree, discipline is so hard. It's always good to have a few fresh ideas to try out!