Pardon me, but learn some courtesy

Pardon me, but learn some courtesy


Pardon me, but learn some courtesy

Teaching children courtesy right from their tender age, must be a deliberate but simple and effective deed, advises Vinaya Govind.

As Sindhu sat sobbing at the dining table, her ten-year-old son, Salil, frowned at her and said, “I am not going to anybody’s birthday here afterwards. Do not ask me to go anywhere again.”

It took some time for Sindhu to get over with what had happened in her absence where her son had gone to attend a birthday party. Salil had behaved like a bully, snatching snacks, cake and cool drinks from the other children. Before leaving the party, he had burst all the balloons using a safety pin, pulled down colour paper decorations saying that the party was over. It was when a few crying children complained, did Sajni, a neighbour decided to call on Sindhu to explain things to her.

Earlier, on another occasion, when Sindhu’s friend had dropped by, she requested Salil to give her a glass of water. “I am not your servant,” Salil said. Though the friend was taken aback by an answer like that, she felt it was the parents who were to be blamed for the child hadn’t been taught even the basic courtesies. Sindhu was helpless as her in-laws always felt their grandson was still a child and will mend his ways soon and that Sindhu was unnecessarily raising a hue and cry over this issue. Since her husband worked abroad, she was to handle a whole lot of responsibilities and this gave her very little time to teach care, courtesy and consideration to her son.

Most parents can avoid situations like this if they can inculcate polite behaviour in children right from childhood. Since kids imbibe mannerisms and speech of elders, parents should demonstrate correct patterns of behaviour.

* Teach your child to be polite in talk and gentle in actions. Tell him/her not to raise voice beyond requirement.

* Ask your child not to handle things by himself/herself at the dining table. Tell him/her to seek help from an elder to pass dishes. When calling someone on the phone, tell him it is important to introduce himself/herself to the one who is being called. Advise him not to give curt answers while receiving a call.

* Inculcate the sense of sharing in children, especially with what they call their personal possessions. At the same time, advise your children to handle with care all items that do not belong to them. Teach them to care for others’ feelings too.

* Encourage your child to use words like ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘sorry’ in appropriate context.

* Let your child know that it is impolite to interrupt and they need to use the phrase, ‘excuse me’ if they need to get someone’s attention right away or when they need to interrupt a conversation.

* Tell your child to write a ‘thank you’ note to your host after being a guest at someone’s place. Written words of gratitude and appreciation are sure to touch the heart.

* When buying gifts, tell your child that the sentiment behind the gift is more important and not the cost.

* Teach your children to show respect to their teachers. Tell them to greet their teachers and be humble in their talk. Tell them it is important to be obedient and also to mind their postures when in class.

* Encourage your child to extend respect to guests visiting your home by standing up, greeting them and offering them a seat. Ask your child to serve at least a glass of water in your absence.

* Involve children in laying the table for lunch/dinner and also to clear the table. Enlisting their help in simple chores will make them feel needed and loved, while instilling a sense of responsibility at the same time.

* Advise your child that (s)he should not grumble when doing a favour for an adult. Ask him/her to have a pleasant disposition most of the time.

* Teach your child to maintain a cordial relationship with his/her classmates and friends. Ask them to be caring and courteous in their approach.

* Tell your child to thank the parents of the birthday boy/girl for the party and the wonderful time (s)he had with friends.

* Teach your child to respect differences. Due to diversity in culture, race, religion, or simply even their upbringing, people do things differently. Teach your child that each family has its own lifestyle and ritualistic preferences to follow and that it is important to them.

* Remind your child that it is important to keep his/her friend’s home clean. If (s)he leaves a mess, (s)he needs to clean up before(s) he leaves or takes up another activity.


* Make children understand that hospitality is not to be shown to strangers, especially in the absence of parents. Better still, advise your child not to allow strangers into the house when they are alone.

* Do not use foul language in front of children and never indulge in making fun of anyone for any reason.

* Never make your child feel insecure when a new sibling arrives. Avoid telling him that he is ‘big’ now and he should learn to correct himself.

* Do not compare your child with another or a friend’s child. Comparisons regarding mental or physical attributes may cause indignation and serious repercussions as well.

* Do not impose your will on teenagers. Being at the crossroads of life, they misunderstand whenever elders try to correct them. Never indulge in too much of criticism as this may result in your teen becoming a rebel.

* Never comment on people’s physical characteristics, unless of course, it is to compliment them.

* Do not sulk or get mad at your child if (s)he loses a game. Also, do not allow your child to gloat on his/her victory.