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President, The Etiquette Factory
President, The Etiquette Factory
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
This month, I would like to discuss the etiquette skill of correcting our children. What? You didn’t know there was an etiquette skill involved in this? Well, there is. Let’s review our definition of proper etiquette for those new readers who may be joining us. Proper etiquette is defined as, “helping those around us to feel more valued and more comfortable.” With this definition in mind, it is important that we not only apply it to those outside of our families, but that we apply it with our most treasured relationships, our families. As we do so, it will help us establish more loving relationships, including the relationships we have with our children. Now before I go on, I do not wish to address the controversial topic of discipline. That is a subject I leave to the judgement, wisdom and love of parents. However, I do wish to discuss how we approach and carryout whatever discipline we choose to use.
If you remember, we have discussed before that it is not polite to correct others in front of others. This means that we never “call out” someone in public, or in front of others, because this might embarrass or belittle them. If a correction is in need, we simply wait for the opportunity when we can pull the person aside and in private, politely give the correction. This same principle applies to our children. WE NEVER WANT TO EMBARRASS OUR CHILDREN. Now hold on. Breathe.....Let’s discuss the solution to this dilemma. Do our children sometimes need correcting when we are in public? Do chickens lay eggs? Of course they do. Sometimes those little angels of ours are worse than a tic on a hound, however, we must do our best to show complete respect and honor to our children. Please, please don’t ever yell, spank, criticize, etc. your children in the presence of others, even their siblings. This means that you have to separate yourself and your child and administer the correction in private. Sometimes, due to the safety of your other children, you cannot separate yourself at the time. In that case, you will simply have to pull your child to the side and quietly acknowledge that the correction will happen at a later time.
I know I’m suggesting something that will be difficult at times. I had all boys in my home, so trust me when I say that this takes great self control and patience. I can promise you however, that as we make an effort to show respect to our children by striving to protect their dignity, our children’s love and respect for us will increase as well. As our children realize that correcting them comes from love and devotion, instead of anger and frustration, they will learn to honor our words and our actions. No, of course it doesn’t mean they will always love or enjoy being corrected, but they will know that we correct because we love them.
As we consider ways that we can show our children love and respect, I think it will help to simply consider how we would want someone to correct us. Just because they’re children, doesn’t mean that we have a license to embarrass or humiliate them, regardless of their behavior. It’s the principle of two wrongs, don’t make a right. I think this is a topic worth spending some time pondering and considering. Some day, our children will ponder our parenting when they are making decisions for their own children. I hope we leave them a legacy of trust, honor, love and encouragement as we help shape their precious lives.
Have a great month.
a.k.a. Mary Manners