Learning to be polite

Barbara Olinger, MSW Parenting Consultant, shares advice for parents on the best way to teach manners and politeness to your children
Teaching Manners To Kids - The Importance Of Politeness
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Learning to be polite

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Many parents want their children to be polite, but some adopt the, 'what's the magic word approach.' That approach can backfire, however because it doesn't take the context into consideration. A child can ask for something using the magic word 'please,' but ask in a really demanding way so the parent's caught in a bind. You have to fulfill the request because they've used the magic word, but is this the way of asking for something we want to support. Instead I like to help the child ask in a way that helps the other person want to do it. So it's not necessarily the words they use, but in how they say it. If a child says, "MORE MILK PLEASE!" I would respond, "Is there a way you can ask me in a way that makes me feel like wanting to do it, like, may I have more milk?" In this way a child learns to be less demanding and understands that being polite is in the context of the word relationship, not just the words they use.

Barbara Olinger, MSW Parenting Consultant, shares advice for parents on the best way to teach manners and politeness to your children

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Barbara Olinger, MSW

Parenting Consultant

Barbara Olinger has her master's degree in social work and has been working with children and families in both therapeutic and educational settings for over 30 years. She is currently Director of Family Development at the YWCA Santa Monica/Westside and has a private practice focusing on parenting education and teacher training.  She is the author of the parenting book, Growing From the Roots: A Practical Guide to the Art of Parenting, now on DVD along with Welcoming Your Second Child. She has two sons, ages 23 and 20 years old.  

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