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3 Solutions for Turning Bad-Mannered Kids into Polite Children

By Jean Tracy, MSS

If your kids lack manners and you're looking for solutions, keep reading. You can raise polite children with character. It just takes training.

Kids without training are like barking dogs. Their behaviors get under your skin. They irritate you and upset your neighbors.

Do you have a child who demands to be first, rolls his eyes when he disagrees with you, or grumbles every time you ask for help?

Perhaps your kids whine about the food you prepare, "Do I have to eat this?" Maybe your friend's child keeps interrupting your conversations and you think, "Why can't she shut him up?"

Why Kids Are Naturally Bad Mannered

Babies are helpless. They cry for food, diaper changes, and naps. They are needy.

Toddlers still cry for what they want because they're still needy. Everything is about them. Little by little, we teach them to do things for themselves like drink from a cup, eat with a spoon, and use the bathroom.

Naturally, young children lack good manners. At each stage, they need training. We must gradually pull them out of their total self-absorption and begin to see that others count too.

This is called character-training. It teaches kids good manners like patience, helping with chores, table manners, caring about others feelings, social skills, and politeness in general.

How do we teach them the positive attitudes associated with good manners? How do we train kids to realize other people are important and have needs too? Before we get to the solutions, let's find out what to avoid.

3 Problems Parents Must Face for Teaching Manners

1. Work Overload: It takes time to teach kids the manners they need. Some busy parents feel guilty so they give kids toys to make up for their lack of time together. Kids come to expect material things, lack gratitude, and long for time with their parents.

2. Exhaustion: Career, laundry, housework, and bills, sap energy from parents. When kids are sassy, demanding, or disrespectful, it's easier to let the behavior go or yell. It's hard to teach manners and good character when you're too tired.

3. Lack of Knowledge: Sometimes parents use the poor skills they were raised with, listen to the misinformed advice from friends, or act out with anger because it's easy and effective short-term. But poor short-term fixes cause more bad behavior in the long-term. Teaching manners is difficult when you don't have a plan for building character.

3 Solutions for Turning Bad-Mannered Kids into Polite Children

1. Change Your Work Overload: Carefully look over your schedule and cancel the unnecessary activities. It might mean sacrificing something you enjoy. It's been said that quality time with kids is more important than quantity time. Is this comparison for real?

What about combining more quantity and quality? When you reduce your workload, you won't be trading toys for time. Besides, your child would rather have more quality time with you than the latest toy. It's easier to teach manners when you're not too busy.

2. Avoid Exhaustion: Get the rest you need. If it means your home isn't tidy, don't let it bother you. Work out chore schedules with the entire family. Rotate each list.

Create fun rewards that don't include material things but rather fun-time with you. Find out if your child would like to play a board game, hear a story, or sit and talk. Make a list of fun activities with your child's input. It's easier to teach manners when your kids feel close to you.

3. Get the Parenting Knowledge You Need: You'll find excellent knowledge online, from Amazon, and from your local library.

Pick up books that teach children good manners. They can even be stories of misbehaving kids who need to learn politeness. Many are funny. Use them to ask thoughtful questions like:


a. How do you think the character's friends felt when he acted badly?
b. What advice would you give to help the character?


Good discussions can replace yelling and nagging because they get your child to come up with solutions. You might even have them draw the character acting badly and then acting better.

Conclusion for Turning Bad-Mannered Kids into Polite Children

If you allow yourself to be too busy, work too hard, get too tired, and parent without a plan, don't expect to raise kids with good character. Instead they may become like the barking dogs that irritate you and upset your neighbors.

Consciously teach manners through books, discussions, and art. Your kids will be more receptive to your good advice because of their closeness with you. You'll be building character too.

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Jean Tracy, MSS invites you to sign up for her FREE Parenting Newsletter and receive:


80 Fun Activities to Share with Your Kids
101 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Cooperate


Pick up Jean's New Kindle Discussion Book Character Building for Kids: Cartoon Guide to Good Manners with Family Discussions It promotes good manners with fun stories you can use today.