85% of North Americans who were polled believe that whether it’s the playground, our homes, our communities, or our workplaces, rudeness has increased to an intolerable level. Furthermore, people are becoming more aware that rudeness costs. Specifically, rudeness costs our relationships; hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and damaging arguments. It hurts our health; stress, worry, fatigue, headaches, nervous stomach, and anger. As adults, it hurts our success; loss of employment, low service standards, and decreased productivity, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. But most important of all, rudeness hurts our children. Experts suggest that as a result of rampant disrespect among adults, constant exposure to aggression and violence on television, and a decline in social standards, the level of common sense, and the level of moral IQ - that is the extent to which young people understand “right” and “wrong,” have all declined dramatically.
In a world where courtesy is rare and good role models hard to find, teaching children respect is the most important and enduring job parents have. Even so, most North American adults, parents, and teachers are stressed and can barely keep up with their work and home responsibilities, never mind the extra pressure of teaching children respect.
There is some good news...between the ages of 2-5 children are most receptive to learning manners and some experts suggest that because children at that age learn a lot from modeling, parents can foster civility simply by exhibiting good manners themselves. Beyond age 5, even 10 minutes a day focused on talking about why polite behaviors are important (e.g., setting the table, putting away your toys) and showing children how to be polite can have a dramatic impact. Teaching children that there are rules for social conduct gives them social skills that will benefit them throughout their life. Remember, manners are not just about which fork to use, they are about fostering respectfulness and teaching responsibility.
MannersMatterCanada.com and it's divisions are pleased to offer parents, educators, and caregivers toolkits for providing a Social Foundation Built on Manners, Respect, First Impressions and Confidence, for children ages 3-12.