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Is Your Child Well-Mannered? - By Mary Jesse

 

Good manners offer a lifetime of benefits. The rewards are too numerous to articulate and the cost is negligible. Not many investments boast such a considerable return. Parents are responsible for their children?s behavior. Fortunately, there is much that parents can do help their children avoid the consequences of inconsiderate actions and harvest the considerable rewards for polite behavior.

This world would be a much more pleasant place if courtesy was prevalent. When delivered with kindness and consideration, our words and actions are better received. When we treat others well, we feel better about ourselves, our lives, and those around us. Most importantly, we contribute to the happiness of those around us rather than offending them or hurting them. Polite behavior allows us to make and keep friends more easily. In fact, good manners make all relationships better including those with family members, teachers, bosses and colleagues.

On the flip side, poor manners may be the genesis of many childhood offenses like bullying and vandalism, and also much of the poor behavior we see from adults like road rage, foul language and crime. Habitual good manners could determine the difference in life between success and failure. The benefits are not limited to any particular age group, however, as with many valuable habits, the path is much less arduous if you learn as a child. Sadly, learning polite behavior to the point it becomes habitual is not in the mainstream of most childhood development programs. Parents have to reinforce the desired behavior each time their children are exposed to new sets of outside influences. The goal is to have polite behavior become the norm for your child. They should learn to expect polite behavior from others.

How can children be taught good manners? The most important aspect of educating children is being a good role model. Young children, especially, learn much from observation and mimicking. Exhibiting good manners simply means caring for other people?s feelings. In formal terms, there are monarchial rules governing ?proper? behavior, but basic courtesy is a fine goal for most. If your manners are a little slight, you might consider picking up a book at the library or reading some online articles to brush up on tips for more polite behavior. Keep in mind that building new habits as adults is more difficult than as children. You must truly commit to a raised awareness level of other people?s feelings.

Children don?t want to be told, ?don?t do this or that.? They want to observe and learn and figure things out on their own. When you must intervene, redirect their actions by pointing out polite behavior. ?We share our toys.? ?We treat friends nicely.? Start planting the seeds as young as possible. The younger the child, the more ingrained a good manner methodology will become in them. Discuss good behavior and poor behavior examples in them and others when you have quiet talk time at dinner or before bed. Learning manners is like learning a new language or a musical instrument. At first, it sounds inconsistent and rough, but over time with practice, a smooth melody brings pride and happiness. Once you?ve gained new knowledge and enthusiasm for this important area of your child?s education, perhaps you can volunteer at your child?s school to talk about manners or read a book and lead a manners discussion. Teachers, more than most, appreciate efforts to better educate children on good manners.

What are good manners anyway? Most people would be able to recite the standard ?please? and ?thank you,? but fall short after that. What more is there to know? Here is a short list of manners you can review with your child (excerpts from the book, ?Abbey & Friends? M is for Manners?):

* Be nice to people.

* Say ?Please? when you ask for something.

* Say ?Thank You? when you are given something.

* Say ?You?re Welcome? when someone thanks you.

* Greet people when you see them.

* Look people in the eyes when you talk to them.

* Talk politely during meals (even in the cafeteria).

* Don?t interrupt when other people are talking.

* Share with others.

* Help people.

* Let guests go first.

* Be on time, especially if you are meeting someone.

The gift of kindness and consideration is one that cannot be measured easily. I know of no parent that does not notice polite behavior in other people?s children and want that for their own children. Put time and effort into making courteous behavior a habit of everyone in your household. It is part of the foundation upon which happy families are built.



Mary Jesse, a wife and mother of three sons, resides in the Seattle area. She holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Electrical Engineering and several technology-related patents. She is the author of ?Abbey & Friends? M is for Manners? (ISBN 0972995803, Hexagon Blue, 2003) and ?Real World Guide? to Happiness? (ISBN 0972995811, Hexagon Blue, 2003). She writes and speaks on parenting, happiness, motivation, business, management and technology. For more information, visit http://www.hexagonblue.com or email her at mary@hexagonblue.com.

Child Violence - STOP Bullying & Improve Your Child`s Self-esteem - By Kathy Noll

 

Did you know that over 6 million boys and 4 million girls are involved in fights every year on school grounds? Many are physically threatened while a large number of students are also robbed.

Bullying has become a very serious "Hot" topic today. It`s been in the news, and the theme of several talk shows in the past couple years. The problem has been around for as long as people have been around, but it`s only been recently that we`ve become aware enough to do something about it.

What signs can parents look for to find out if their child is being bullied?

Mental and physical signs include: Cuts, bruises, torn clothing, headaches and/or stomach pains before it`s time to go to school, or a reluctance to go to school, poor appetites, poor grades, decline/withdrawal from usual activities, anxiety, not many friends, always loses money, depression, fear, anger, nervousness, and relates better to adults and teachers than children.

It also helps to understand the different types of abuse the bully can inflict. This can vary from physical (juvenile violence) to verbal, and include mental control tactics. (Crushing your self-esteem).

The bully`s pattern of physical abuse might include: pushing, tripping, slapping, hitting, wrestling, choking, kicking, biting, stealing, and breaking things. (80% of the time bullying becomes physical).

The bully`s pattern of verbal abuse might include: twisting your words around, judging you unfairly, missing the point, passing blame, bossing, making you self-conscious, embarrassing you, making you cry, confusing you, and making you feel small so he/she can feel big.

Children between the ages of 5-11 begin using verbal abuse, and are capable of some physical abuse such as fist fighting, kicking, and choking. However, once a child reaches the age of 12, psychological changes take place and the bullying becomes more violent. This might include the use of weapons and sexual abuse.

Murder between children was up recently. Today`s 3, 4, and 5 year-olds could grow up to be a generation of serial killers. Some signs to watch for in younger children include setting fires, and torturing animals.

Usually bullies come from middle-income families that do not monitor their activities. The parents of bullies are either extremely tolerant and permissive, and allow them to get away with everything, or physically aggressive and abusive.

However, the parents are not always the cause. There are many very loving and caring parents who do not understand what went wrong.

Other reasons why kids slip into their "bully suits" might include violence on tv/movies, and the influence of "bully" friends.

You can`t watch your child while he/she is at school, so there is the possibility of him/her hanging out with a child (or children) of negative influence. Sometimes kids admire bullies for their strength, or befriend them so as to stay on their good side!

So if you`re a wonderful parent knocking yourself for what you did wrong, understand what a strong influence other peers can have on your child.

Bullies need to be in control of situations, and enjoy (gain power from) inflicting injury on others. They are not committed to their school work or teachers and may also show a lack of respect towards their families.

Usually bigger and stronger than other children their own age, bullies believe that their anger and violent behavior is justified. They see threats where none exist out of paranoia, or fear of facing reality.

The bully might lash out at people because he`s (or she`s) angry about something. Maybe someone in his life is bullying him. He could be hurting from abuse he received in the past, or maybe he grew up observing those around him using violence as a means of settling differences.

Sometimes jealousy is the culprit. He needs to feel better about himself in order to change, and to stop bullying.

Or, in a worse case scenario, he might actually be a sociopath, in which case he/she would need to get professional help.

What can parents do to prevent their children from getting bullied?

Tell your children to walk or play with friends, not alone, and to avoid alleys and empty buildings, especially after dark. Make a list with the child as to where they are allowed to go, and places/phone numbers where they can get help.

Know your child`s friends and make sure that everyone understands your view of teasing and violence. Maintain a trusting, open communication with your child while teaching him/her to be both strong and kind.

If your child is a victim, he needs to know that he`s ok, and not the one with the problem. Have him tell his school guidance counselor the name of the bully who is victimizing him. Or you might try talking to the principal or his teachers directly. And if you know the parents of the bully, you might try confronting them as well. However, there`s a good chance they`ll either be in denial, or be as unconcerned as their child.

If physical abuse is the problem, and you`re afraid of angering the bully (revenge), tell the teacher, or whomever, not to pass on your or your child`s name while settling the situation unless it`s absolutely necessary. There`s a good chance he`s victimizing other children as well, and won`t need to know exactly who busted him.

Children who use violence to resolve conflicts, grow up to be adults who use violence to resolve conflicts. However, if a child is backed up against a wall, or into a corner, then he obviously needs to defend himself and should not stand there while getting pounded. He could walk (or run) away. But in order to escape conflict in the first place, the child should ignore, or avoid the bully. Don`t play with (or for older kids "hang out" with) the bullies, and don`t play or hang out "near" them. Teach your child to only fight back if he/she *needs* to defend himself - - as a last resort.

Young people need to believe in themselves in order to feel better. (self-esteem) Not by winning a fight, or even being part of a fight that he/she didn`t initiate. In order to be a strong person, you have to learn what to say at the right time, and believe in what you are saying. ("I won`t fight you because it is wrong" or "This isn`t what friendship is about") Walking away from the fight, knowing you are the *better* person, is a lot healthier for the body and mind.

If verbal abuse is the problem, your child could try confronting the bully himself. Get him alone. Bullies like to show off by embarrassing you in front of a group of people. They might not be so tough without a crowd. Tell your child to be firm, stick up for himself, and tell the bully, "I don`t like what you`re doing to me, and I want you to stop."

If the child is old enough to reason, have him tell the bully how it feels to be bullied. Don`t stress what the bully did, or the accusations might make him defensive. Then he`d be less likely to listen. If he`s willing to listen at all, he might be willing to change. However, if he`s unwilling to listen and starts getting nasty, your child is better off staying away from him, or ignoring him. But if his verbal abuse turns into threats, notify someone in authority.

Sometimes having things/property stolen victimizes a child. Putting your child`s name on everything is an important thing to do. This means each and every crayon! It also helps to not allow him/her to take things of any major importance or value to school. Again, if nothing else works, have the bully reported.

For the past 10 years child on child violence has been increasing. Physical abuse, sexual harassment and robbery have driven many victims to substance abuse or suicide.

Don`t let your child become a statistic.

Parents, it`s time to take those bullies by the horns!

If you`d like to order a copy of "Taking the Bully by the Horns" by Kathy Noll & Dr. Carter, to teach your child the skills he/she needs to handle bullies, and maintain a healthy self-esteem, please send $16.90 (this includes S. & H.) to:

Kathy Noll

3300 Chestnut St.

Reading, PA 19605

E-mail address: kthynoll@aol.com

To learn more about these timely topics, please visit: http://hometown.aol.com/kthynoll


1996-Present: After successfully completing a two year writing course through the Institute of Children?s Literature in Connecticut, and on nomination by its faculty, I have had my short stories/articles published in magazines along with interviews, helped NBC news monitor a classroom in Philadelphia for bullying behavior, and also directly helped many children with their own bully problems through my book, online counseling, research, educational and family related internet chats, message board hosting, email and website.

I have spoken on various radio and television shows discussing the topics of school violence and self-esteem, including an appearance with Dr. Jay Carter ("Nasty People") on the Montel Williams show where we talked to kids about bullying, and promoted our book, "Taking the Bully by the Horns." I also work as a consultant for various TV News & Talk Shows and was recently asked to be the expert testimony for a new children?s literature infomercial through Buena Vista (Disney). Writing "Taking the Bully by the Horns" has generated many letters of thanks from both adults and children. Students ask my permission all the time to use my info for their projects.

I have done very well publishing and marketing my books on my own. I am well placed in the search engines; people from all over the world have found me, ordered my books and sought my advice. New links from upcoming published books will be added to the site as well. Putting my name into a major search engine such as Google or Yahoo generates a very large amount of articles and information about myself and my work. I?m very well known, respected, and receive hundreds of emails every month. I have networked with many organizations, schools, anti-violence agencies, mental health professionals, anti-bullying advocates, and child educators around the globe.

On a personal note of how my work with bullying has touched me: I was approached by the mother of a sweet little boy with only one leg who gets teased at his school. She told me he opened my book, "Taking the Bully by the Horns," as a gift from her on Christmas morning and didn`t put it down until he finished. He then said, "I feel a lot better about myself now; this is the best book I ever read." When she told me this, I replied with tears, "Now I know why I wrote the book."


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