Do you ever feel like manners are becoming a lost art? I hear so many boys out there acting without manners and it makes me cringe. My son isn’t perfect and his manners could alway use improvement (probably mine as well), but I do think it’s important and essential to teach certain manners to our children at a young age. By starting early, if possible, it’s more likely for the manners to become a habit that they will use through out their life.
There are many benefits for boys to know and use manners.
- Others will respect them.
- They are showing respect to others.
- Others will be more accepting of them and their thoughts, ideas and plans.
- Get better summer jobs.
- Impressing girls.
- Impressing parents and grandparents.
10 Essential Manners for Boys
1. Saying “Please”, “Thank You” and “Excuse Me”
Teach them to say, “Please”, anytime they are asking anyone to do something for them. Also, when someone asks them a question, the answer shouldn’t be, “Yeah”, but, “Yes Please”.
Teach them to say, “Thank You”, anytime anyone (this includes from friends, parents & siblings) says something nice to them or pays them a compliment. Also, when someone asks them a question and the answer is ‘No”, it should be “No Thank You”.
Saying, “Excuse Me”, is the right thing to say anytime your son sneezes, burps, tries to get in front of someone (not cutting, just getting around), or is trying to get someone’s attention. Teach your son to not use the phrase, “Hey You”, but to say, “Excuse Me”, instead to get that person’s attention.
2. Saying “Ma’am” or “Sir”
In some parts of the country these terms are used more than in other areas. When I lived in Ohio, we didn’t really use “Ma’am” or “Sir”. Actually it was sometimes thought as offensive to call a lady a “Ma’am”. When I moved to Texas, everyone said it. I thought it was a little strange at first, but it made me realize that those words actually seem to make the teens respect older folks more. My children were teens when we moved to Texas, they were not accustomed to use those words, but it was the right thing to teach them. It wasn’t as easy as teaching them manners when they were little, but we (all) learned to use those words. Yes, you can still use the phrase, “Yes, thank you” but “Yes, Sir” or “Yes Ma’am”, is an excellent substitute. Even though this isn’t a common phrase up North, I have noticed when we visit, and my kids say, “Ma’am” and “Sir”, people alway compliment on how respectful and what great manners my teens have. It’s amazing what a little word can do!
3. Talking and Listening to Adults
Boys will have to talk to adults all throughout their childhood, wether it’s a parent, teacher, store clerk or coach. Not much can make an adult angrier than when trying to have a conversation with a boy and that boy is caught up in a video game, iPod or any other distraction. Teach your son that when he is talking to an adult, to put his game or distraction away and talk, listen and focus on the adult. It is ok for a boy to ask “Can we talk later?” if he is working on something important like school work or a chore. But he needs to remember to go back to that adult and talk. Have your son put the game down, remove the earbuds and take the time to have a real conversation.
4. Shaking Hands
Teaching your son to shake hands can help them with gaining trust of older people. Your son will need to practice shaking hands to feel comfortable doing this and to learn to be more gentle with ladies and have a firmer shake with men. They should learn to wait for a person to offer a handshake, which usually comes from an older person.
5. Answering the Phone
So many kids have cell phones now, and they need to be taught the proper way to answer a phone call. Teach them to speak clearly and pleasantly. If you have a quiet son, like mine, you will have to teach them to speak up so others can hear them. Teach them when answering, to say, “Hello, this is Joe”, or, “Hello, Joe speaking”. If it’s a house phone, “Hello, this is the Smith residence”, or if they know who’s calling “Hello George, this is Joe”. There are a number of ways you can do this based on what information you want your child to share. Just establish this ahead of time so they know how to properly answer and greet someone on the phone.
Of course, always teach safety when answering the phone. There are so many scam calls trying to steal your information. Let your child know if it is ok for them to answer the phone or to just let it ring and let the voicemail capture the call.
6. Winning & Losing Well
I see so many boys creating enemies over winning and losing. This is a great manner to teach as early as possible because this can become a really bad habit of being prideful or throwing a temper tantrum in winning and losing situations. Boys need to understand that if they are winning, rubbing it in to others will only make others want to de-friend them. No one really makes or keep friends by bragging about how great you are. Teach them to say, “Good game” or “Thank you”, when a compliment has been given for how great they did and winning the game.
We all know losing stinks and it’s no fun. When it does happen, teach your son to say, “Good game” or “Congratulations”, to the winner (in a nice way). Then if they are bothered by the loss, help them to understand why they lost and how they can improve next time. But ask them in a way that they have to think about what they can do to improve. If you tell them why they lost, they can view that as criticism and it can be harmful to their self-image.
7. How to Act in Places they Are Bored
At some point and usually often, boys will be somewhere they are completely bored. Often times, this is when they misbehave the most, not because they are bad children, but because they are bored! You will need to teach them to cope with these situations so it doesn’t get worse as they grow older. If at the theatre, teach them to keep their eyes focused on the actors and on the stage. Help them to understand that even though it’s a boring situation, it will be over soon. Give them a time of when it will be over if possible. Teach them ways to occupy their mind by creating a story in their head, imagining a fun place they love or singing a song in their head. If at a doctor’s office, help them pre-plan what they can do during the “boring” times.
8. Walking in Front of Other People
We all always have to walk in front of someone at sometime or another. For example, in the movies to get to your seat or at a ball game.
There are two ways to do this. Either with your rear end in someone’s face or facing them. I surely don’t like when a rear is in my face! How about you?! People would rather see your face. Teach your child to say, “Excuse me”, as they are walking through. They don’t need to say “Sorry” unless they stepped on someone’s foot.
If possible, teach them to be on time for everything, this could prevent the awkwardness of plowing through a group of seated people.
Alway say, “Excuse me”, if they need to get around someone for any reason. They need to know that to use this phrase isn’t meant to say, “Move out of my way”, but a polite way to really say, “I’m sorry, I need to get around you”.
9. Opening the Door For Others
This manner is a great one to teach boys. The only challenge is, my son often get’s stuck holding a door for a while! This is just a polite thing to do for others, and others really recognize this trait in boys. This is when should they hold the door: When someone is coming right behind them, for a group of people that are walking together, a mom with a stroller or small children, an elderly person or couple. This is also a great thing to teach them with car doors for their momma. My son almost always opens and closes the car door for me. It is so sweet and I know his future wife will appreciate this tons.
10. Taking off Their Hat
This manner seems to be losing its way more and more with each generation. But it’s an important one and shows respect. Sometimes a hat can cover the face too much and it makes it difficult to have a conversation with that person. When should a hat be removed? When you sit down to eat, in any restaurant or anyone’s house. In a classroom or church. During the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance or whenever the American flag is passing by. Remove the hat when being introduced to another person, especially an older person.
These are just a few important manners that I have felt essential in teaching my son over the years. I believe that manners help to Build Better Relationships with everyone through out your entire life. It shows your respect and honor for others. It’s another way to show people you care. Keep an eye out for 10 More Essential Manners for Your Son.
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