Thursday, April 14, 2011

Holding Your Breath #4

A friend of ours admits that using heightened manners around her preschool-aged daughter sometimes feels a little strange.

It's not that she and her husband are usually rude to each other — although she jokes that, if alone, she’d be much more likely to tell him "Move!" than the measured "Excuse me," she uses around their child. Our friend makes an effort to model good behavior, always saying "please" and "thank you," and they tell their daughter that they're proud of her when she behaves well.

"It's the parents' job to teach their child how to be kind toward others and good manners are a part of that," she says.

All that hard work paid off on a recent trip to the library.

Our friend's daughter was playing with a toy there; an older boy bossily told her that she couldn't play with it (which wasn't true). Our friend stayed out of it, watching to see what would happen.

"Instead of yelling at him or being rude, she said, 'But I’m playing with it,' in a very calm voice," says our friend. After this exchange happened several times, with the child only repeating calmly that she was playing with it, the older boy "just look confused — I guess because she didn't yell or get mad," says our friend.

"I think teaching good manners is very important," she adds. "I feel by teaching manners you are preparing your child for life."

Sometimes, when you hold your breath, you are pleasantly surprised.

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