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I'm always shocked at how surprised people are to see that my children have manners. Apparently, basic manners are not that common anymore.
I believe this lack of basic knowledge and common courtesy is because:
1. Parents are not parenting their children anymore. Parents are lazy and don't teach or discipline their children the way our parents did when we were younger.
2. Most households require two working parents, so there is less interaction to teach the children necessary life skills including manners. Parents try to spend more quality time with kids in the limited time than using that time to teach and discipline their children.
These are not assumptions that I've made, but rather what I've observed and experienced in my surroundings.
When I was a kid, mother was home full time and I believe that made a difference. She taught us (all five children) basic manners, such as:
*Say "please and thank you".
*Give up your seat to someone older or weaker than you.
*Don't interrupt talking adults.
*Answer someone when they talk to you.
*Look at someone when they talk to you.
*Hold the door for people.
*Don't talk back when an adult scolds you or tells you to do something.
*Be respectful of your elders.
*Offer to help people who are older or weaker than you.
...and the list goes on.
I didn't come from a high class family, but I did learn these basic things. As far as I knew, everyone learned this stuff. I'll admit, I'm still working on some of these things with my own children, but at least I'm working on it.
It angers me when I see children and teenagers who don't follow these rules and I blame the parents completely. Just like if my children were rude and impolite, I would take 100% of the blame since I am home with them 98% of the time. The responsibility falls on my to teach them what they need to know.
I remember one day I was in the mall during the Christmas season and I saw a teenage girl (maybe 14 or 15 years old) yelling at her mother because she wanted to buy more stuff and her mother said she didn't have anymore money. The girl was yelling and cursing in her mother's face, while the mother just stood there looking like a scared child. Then I almost fell over when the girl slapped her mother in the face, threw all of her bags on the floor and walked away while her mother just stood there looking confused. From that moment, I made a vow to myself that my children would NEVER behave like that! That was just beyond unacceptable! If I did that as a teenager, or even now, my mother would have beat my ass right there!
To me, that experience just sums up the problem with kids and teenagers today. They have been allowed to run wild with no discipline and this is now the consequence. Children are also not held responsible (by their parents) when they do misbehave. (Theoretically) If I had done something wrong and ended up in jail, my mother would have left me there to teach me a lesson. I would do the same with my own children. Now parents bail their kids out and make excuses for their behavior. Unacceptable!! They are not learning consequences and accountability.
So preventable and so sad. Parents need to start parenting again and they need to take responsibility for their children's misbehavior. It's not that hard to teach right and wrong. The lessons are there everyday all around us.
Something needs to change. I'm afraid of what the future holds if this doesn't change. People forget that these kids are going to grow up to rule the world.