Monday, December 17, 2018

You Have Good Manners, Right?

So the other day I dealt with a rude kid. That's mean. This kid wasn't a hardcore bully or even a "mean kid" exactly. They (and I'm being quite careful not to indicate gender, because I don't dislike this kid, really) were just...rude. Nothing so heinous that I could call them out on it to their parents. Just...rude. A little entitled. A little demanding. A touch defiant. And a total lack of basic manners. I don't think the words "please" or "thank you" ever came out during our time together, and certainly no "excuse me" or "sorry for interrupting". In fact, they did one of my HUGE pet peeves, which is asking ME questions about my kid, IN FRONT of my kid.

Like, "wait, so Madison doesn't have to X?" or "has Reagan even ever been to Y?". Um, Madison and Reagan are literally sitting next to you. They are both capable of holding their own in a conversation. And if they aren't, THEY can ask me to weigh in.

Like I said, not bullying, but certainly not polite. And the lack of manners really gets to me sometimes.

On the other hand, I love when kids show great manners when they're around me (or other adults). They thank me for driving them, inviting them somewhere, bringing a snack. They initiate conversations with me that aren't "fact checking" style conversations about the girls, but the "did you have a good weekend? Are you ready for Christmas? Oh my mom likes this radio station too!" conversation starters that show, I don't know, good human interaction.

And then I realized that I'm not 100% sure which category my kids fall into when they're away from me.

I mean, I've taught them to be respectful of adults, to follow the rules in other people's homes or cars (shoes off or on in the house, if it's ok to have a snack in the car, is it ok to have my "phone" with me) even if they differ from ours with NO judgment. I've tried to instill the habit of thanking people for everything - your teachers at the end of a lesson, another parent for driving you or having you in their house. I've taught them to be careful with their words - to speak with kindness, and when you can't, to hold your tongue.

But are they doing it?

As we were heading out to carpool last week, I was dropping off a group and Madison was being picked up by another dad. Just before Madison got out I stopped her and said,

You always say "thank you for the ride" when you get out of the car, right?

She gave me that tween "look" and said "isn't that part of it?"

Do I have proof? Nope. Occasionally I'll get the "your girls are so wonderful" compliment, which is nice, but you never know if it's JUST being nice. But I'm hoping that my kids aren't those that are the subject of dinner table conversations in any other houses - at least not for their manners!

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