I was speaking to my mom the other day who lives in South Korea. I told her that I’d love to have my kids go to visit Korea so they can learn the language, culture and because the countries so good at manners to teach kids. By the way, there’s a lot more to Korea than Psy and Gangnam Style, just FYI…
I lived in Korea from when I was 8 to 11 years old. During that time I hated every minute of it and wanted to move back to Los Angeles. Looking back now, I’m so grateful for those 3 years because it taught me about my culture that I would’ve never known, plus a whole lot about basic manners for kids so that I don’t grow up to be an asshole.
Now… one would still consider me to be an A-hole, but I guess I’m just much LESS of it than had I not lived in Korea. I don’t think I would’ve learned so much about common manners and respect living in the States to be brutally honest.
Obviously, Korea is a very different culture. Here are some of the traditional adult-child relationship that the country follows when talking about manners to teach kids. These formalities were as common as wiping your butt after using the bathroom:
- You bow to adults (adults count as anyone a year or older than you), it’s a sign of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
- You never talk back to an adult… because they aren’t your homies.
- You don’t eat before an adult, it’s another sign of respect.
- You never talk back to your teachers because they are your TEACHERS. I have NEVER seen anyone talk back to the teacher while I was living there.
- You help your mom set the table and clean up because that was your responsibility as a child.
- You mop the floors by getting a wet rag and scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees. Disobey?? What the hell is that? Something like that never crossed my mind.
- We didn’t have beds so I had to set up my “bed” on the floor every night by laying out blankets and then putting it away every morning
- If I talked back to the teacher, I had to kneel in front of the classroom with both my hands raised in the air.
So it was shocking to hear my mom say that Korea isn’t what it used to be. Kids are growing up to be completely selfish assholes with loss of traditional respect that I remember. The “Me” culture has taken over with parents fueling the epidemic… the epidemic of raising delicate little snowflakes who’ll surely grow up without the ability to put on their own damn shoes.
Things are even worse in the US if you ask me. Here’s a survey that was taken by Alex J. Packer, an educator, and Manners Guru. He surveyed parents regarding their opinion about whether children today were more, less, or equally polite as when they were growing up. Here are the results:
Are you shocked? I know I’m not. Over 75% of parents thought that kids today were less polite than when they were growing up. I’m definitely one of the parents who think that kids today are a lot ruder… so that’s why we need to address these basic manners to teach kids.
Let me just say this bit… When I was going to school in LA (that’ll be Los Angeles and not Louisiana) earthquake drills were common. You know things have gone down the tube when they’ve now included “shoot out” drills, metal detectors in middle-class neighborhood schools, and the sales of bullet-proof backpacks.
Why Do Manners Matter?
I’m kind of surprised that there are some articles and opinions out there that think manners don’t matter anymore. Look, I’m no angel and I can get a bit rough and times, but I know what’s right and wrong… what’s important for my kids to learn, and what’s not. And most importantly, why it’s important to know the manners to teach kids. Manners, common courtesy, respect for other people freaking matter.
They probably matter more now in this digital age where human interaction is almost like a thing of the past. Where it’s more common to text or tweet our friends than meeting them for coffee… or just calling them.
As I once read, we aren’t just raising kids, we’re raising someone’s future spouse, and someone’s future parent.
Let me take that one step further. We’re raising our future world leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors, artists, and athletes.
I love how Global Digital Citizen put it, “We’re a community of billions, and everyone has a part to play.”
So let’s make sure we remember the manners to teach kids and make sure they grow up to be decent human beings, so they can pass that along to future generations… because if the cycle perpetuates and we grow a bunch of assholes, and they grow a bunch of assholes. Well, damn. We’re screwed as a civilization.
5 Reasons Why Manners Matter
- People hate rude people. And what you don’t want is to raise a human being that other people can’t stand.
- People with good manners and etiquette are likable. People are drawn to them and want to be around them.
- Having manners means that you’re actually thankful for things in your life rather than feeling like you’re entitled to have it. And if there’s anything this world can’t stand, or need more of, are entitled brats.
- In a world where over 70% of people think that people are becoming ruder, people will remember you as the star… and that will take you places.
- It makes people feel good when they’re around people who are compassionate, giving, and polite. Making people feel good has been linked, time and time again, to being given unfair opportunities in life over the “others”.
33 Basic Manners To Teach Kids
So here are the 33 basic manners to teach kids so they can integrate into society as a cool little kid. Adults will love them and other kids will flock to them.
- Say thank you
Hey, kiddo, this world isn’t here to hand things to you because you want it. Show gratitude by saying thank you.
- Say you’re welcome
It shows that you accept the other persons “thank you.” It means I’m glad to have helped you. It shows that whatever action you took was genuine…. It means you were authentic.
- Say I’m sorry
When you’ve done something wrong or inappropriate say I’m Sorry to show that it was a mistake.
** Empathy in kids is learned later so the best way to teach this is by demonstration. If you made your kid upset say “I broke your toy and I can see that you’re very upset. I didn’t mean to do that and I’m very sorry for hurting your feelings”
- Hold the doors for elders
There was a time when chivalry was NOT dead. Let’s bring those times back. It’s just a very basic natural way of showing other people that you just give a damn about them.
- Say Please
Learn to say please when asking for something. Sorry to break it to you little snowflake, but this world doesn’t revolve around you and you can’t demand things from people.
- Don’t interrupt people
Again, this world doesn’t revolve around you. Do not demand attention that is not already yours.
- Excuse me
When you have something to say to someone who’s occupied, say excuse me. Request their time, don’t demand it.
- Don’t take things without getting permission
What’s yours, is mine… doesn’t work in the real world. That’s called ‘stealing’ snowflake, and people go to jail for it. Keep your hands to yourself. If you want something, ask and get permission.
- Don’t talk about people who are different than you
Don’t raise a bully asshole 101 – there are people different than you in this world. Accept it, acknowledge it, be, and let be. Don’t ever talk about people who are different than you, especially if they are physically disabled or look different than you. Learn to accept others.
- Always greet people
Don’t hold back your sunshine from other people. Greet them and say HI!
- Knock when doors are closed
Many things can be happening behind closed doors… sometimes things that snowflakes aren’t meant to see. Always make sure to knock on doors if they’re closed. There’s a reason it’s closed.
- Address adults properly
When did elders become homies? They’ve lived longer, have more experience, have more insight… so let’s show a little more respect. It’s always nice to say Mrs. Or Mr. Not, hey Bob, what’s up?
- Chew with your mouth closed
No one’s that curious to know how your seafood pasta is grinding up in your mouth. We will be sure to ask you if we want to know. Until then, it’s best to keep those chompers closed.
- Don’t stick your hand in every food
As much as you like to taste the piece of dirt between your fingernails after playing in the park, others don’t have that desire as much. So keep your hands to yourself, not in the food.
- Wash your hands after going to the bathroom
In case you stick your hand in someone’s food!
- When over someone’s house don’t run around and jump on things before asking
Other people’s home isn’t your playground. Their furniture isn’t your personal bounce house. Make sure you respect other people’s property, and their space.
- Don’t eat and drink someone else’s food before asking
Everything doesn’t belong to you. It’s totally fine to want things. Just make sure to ask before you reach for it.
- When you’re over someone’s house volunteer to help
If you’re over as a guest, ask if there’s anything you can do to help out. Being considerate is a trait that can be very helpful when you’re older.
- Try eating what’s served for mealtime
Whether you like the food or not, it took a great amount of time and effort to prepare it… so you could eat it. You can eat it, or just starve.
- Don’t’ deny a gift
This happened to my husband. He gave this little brat a Christmas gift. The kid refused it, straight said he didn’t want it. When confronting the parent, the parent just laughed it off. Well, we know where he gets his ungrateful outlook on life from. Don’t ever deny the other persons effort towards you.
- Return things that you borrow
If you borrowed it, it’s not yours. Return it, or it’s considered stealing.
- Don’t go looking through people’s personal belongings
There’s something called personal property. It doesn’t matter how cute you are either. If it’s not yours, don’t ever go looking through other people’s things.
- Clean up after yourself
Clean up your bed, your plates after eating, pick up your clothes, clean up your room. Be responsible for your life because when you grow up, no one will be responsible for you.
- Don’t throw a fit when you’ve lost
Don’t be a poor sport. Sure, it sucks when you wanted things so bad. But losing is a basic part of life. You can click here to teach your kids to learn to deal with failure.
- Don’t cut in front of someone
People weren’t standing in line for you. So make sure you go to the back of the line and wait your turn.
- When you’re with friends, always introduce one another
There’s nothing more awkward than having a friend join a group who doesn’t know anyone. Make sure you take the leader position and have everyone introduce themselves.
- Give your seat to an adult, someone sick, or someone in need
This world is so much greater and bigger than you and your needs. Teaching empathy and compassion starts at an early age by being kind to others, especially those that are less fortunate.
- When you’re visiting someone don’t put your feet on the chair or table
Learn to treat other people’s stuff with respect. Just because they invited you over doesn’t mean that you own their home, too.
- Don’t listen to TV or phone so loud that it disturbs others
Sure, what your watching is very important and entertaining… to you. If other people wanted to watch it, they’ll join you. Otherwise, keep the noise level down to a point where only you can hear it.
- Respect cultural differences
As much as we’d love to think that we are the only people on this planet, the reality is, we’re not. There are many different people from other parts of the world that live life according to their culture and customs. Understand that they have their culture, and you have yours. And respect it.
- Look people in the eyes when speaking to them
When you talk to people, look them in the eyes so they know you’re paying attention to them.
- Don’t eat food off other people’s plate
If they haven’t offered it, it means they’re still eating and enjoying their food. Don’t ever grab other people’s food without asking.
- Don’t reach across people to grab something
No one wants to have an arm reach over their face and then have a bucket of fries go past it again. Next time, say excuse me and let them move before you grab.
How To Teach Manners to Kids
When you’re talking about manners to teach kids, it’s not that hard to do. Here are some top tips for implementing manners to teach kids.
- Stay Consistent. Don’t repeat the manners once and forget about it. Stay consistent in your approach.
- Lead By Example. Kids learn best when seeing what they’re supposed to do. Lead by example when implementing the manners to teach kids. Not only to others but especially to your child. Tell them thank you, excuse me, sorry, you’re welcome. Say, please. Show them how they’re supposed to act.
- Give Credit. When your kid shows some good manners, acknowledge it.
- Correct When Needed. When you see your kid isn’t being as polite as you’d like, correct him. Let them know the right action to take or the correct things to say.
I’d love to know if there’s anything I missed. Are there any other basic manners that kids should know? Let us know in the comments below!