Teaching Children and Teens Common Courtesy

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How do you Teach your Children and Teens Common Courtesy?

When you watch the news today, or hear the stories people are telling, it is quite often too easy to develop a pessimistic view of our society. We often hear that common sense is not so common, and common decency has gone south as well. So how do you inspire your children and teens to have common courtesy towards others? And what are some ways you can teach your children and teens the importance of being courteous to others?

Start as Early as You Can

Teaching children common courtesy begins in your household with the dynamics of the parent child relationship. Teach your children to be respectful to their parents, as well as their siblings, teachers, caregivers and friends. Teach them to say thank you and please they interact with- the supermarket clerk, the ice cream server, the waiter, etc. With this foundation in place, you will start to notice how it begins to happen naturally, on its own (though reminders are needed from time to time). Teach them that it is important to share, and the value of the golden rule and why they should care how others are feeling. Inspire and motivate your children and teens to carefully consider the importance of common courtesy.

Provide Real-World Training

Say you’re out at the store one day and you notice an elderly lady pushing a heavy basket of groceries; this would be the perfect opportunity to suggest to your son that he should help the lady with her groceries; also advise him to do so with humility (and personally, I think you should teach them not to accept any money from the lady if she offers).

Another great example you can do on a daily basis is teaching your teens to open the door for others. If you see a woman pushing a baby carriage into a store, tell your teen to hold the door for the woman pushing the carriages. Remind your teen that many people remember when you do things like this for them and really appreciate the act of kindness; they also tend to remember people who don’t offer to help and consider these people to be rude!

See someone carrying a heavy load and they appear to be having difficulty? Tell your teen to help. There are literally dozens of opportunities every day to provide common courtesy to others if you look for them.

Prepare your Teen to Always Be Courteous

Discuss with your teen why being courteous is important. Explain the importance of treating others as you would like to be treated. If you were in the situation as someone struggling to carry a heavy load across a parking lot; wouldn’t you appreciate it if someone helped you? And what happens if everyone stops doing it, or figures someone else can do it? Then, no one will act and common courtesy won’t be as common anymore. Keep common courtesy alive by teaching your teen these manners which they can pass on to others and positively influence the world around them.

  • Can you think of an example not mentioned of when it would be appropriate to be courteous to someone?
  • Can you think of another example?
  • Why is common courtesy so important?
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