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San Clemente Journal

Manners at Home Matter

Feb 05, 2005 01:45PM ● Published by Don Kindred

by Kimberly Anderson, Etiquette Instructor

BRAT children    As we look to the New Year with eager goals of self-improvement, one area of importance often overlooked is the overall manners at home and away. It’s never too late (regardless of age) to improve how you teat your family and friends. 
    One frequently asked question from parents is, “How can I improve the manners of my children?” Should I enroll them in a school about manners to help them learn to be more courteous and improve their behavior while out in public? 
    The answer is of course, “No,” a class in manners will definitely help, but the bottom line is, if good and proper manners are NOT taught and reinforced regularly in the home it’s silly to expect kids to know what is expected of them out in the real world. 
    One area of good, solid teaching can be built upon while dining out or attending special events. Arranging once a month to eat out at a nice restaurant, to practice the proper eating skills taught at home, can help proper eating habits become second nature to everyone in the family. Having a refresher course at home, requiring everyone to eat at a table set for more formal dining can develop another area. It might also help to make up a “signal” while dining out that everyone recognizes means to: sit up straighter or remove elbows from the table. Creating a no–fear atmosphere can make learning new things exciting and fun. 
    Playing a manners game at home can also be great fun and very beneficial to all. One game sure to help everyone improve manners at the table, begins with each person having a dollar in coins. If someone gets caught breaking an etiquette rule, the person who caught the error must state the mistake and offer the correct rule before collecting a coin from the person in error. The person who colllects the most coins wins. 
    It’s important that families always talk about what rules of behavior are expected at home and in public. One cannot teach honesty in a home if there is talk about cheating on income taxes or bragging that the store clerk never charged them for some items in their shopping cart. Politeness can’t be demonstrated in a house filled with screaming and name–calling. Respect is lost in a home where compassion for another’s feelings and thoughts are pushed aside. 
    Remember, etiquette is much more than a set of rules. It is an outward display of what’s in the heart and what is taught and lived in the home. And above all, there is nowhere else where a more solid leaning of the golden rules take place than in a home that is rooted in good and proper manners towards everyone. When the home foundation is rich with these teachings, only then can the seeds of good manners flourish and bloom.

For more information Kimberly can be contacted at 369-9199

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