On Manners and “Parentspeak”

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal, a generally reliable source of information, but I have to say that in this instance I just Do. Not. Agree. The article, “The Wrong Way to Speak to Children”, warns against parentspeak and the predictable way that we talk to our children. Giving and teaching coined responses to everyday situations. Obviously, there are many instances in which the author is correct. We should be less limited in the way that we converse with our little ones. But, I argue that her main example of manners is NOT one of them.  

As parents, I imagine we have all had (or will soon have) that moment where we hear ourselves and cringe. Realizing that we sound well, like parents. We’re constantly barking orders, correcting, and urging our children to do as we wish. Say thank you, apologize, what’s the magic word?  While it would behoove us and our children to be more explanative so they might understand the reasoning behind these commands, we only have their best interests at heart. Yes, teach them why it’s polite to say please and thank you, but, for goodness sake, teach them to say it!  

It blows my mind when people don’t use common courtesies. This is an issue that not only reflects badly on the parent and child, but I argue that if manners to fall to the wayside, society, in general, will be impacted. Those on the giving end will feel unappreciated and might stop giving. And, those on the receiving end seem and may become entitled.

The practice of showing gratitude also teaches it. Do you realize how many blessings you have to be grateful for by giving thanks for them? Instilling values and relationships in young minds is a numbers game. Each exposure ingrains these vital tools for success in their adult life. To be a successful adult, sometimes you have to do and say things you don’t feel like doing or saying. Accommodating children’s every whim is not doing them any favors. That’s not the reality of the grown up world.

Tt might temporarily put your child out when they are being poked and prodded to say please and thank you, but if you were judged or publicly corrected for lacking basic manners as an adult, it would be humiliating. I urge you as parents in this increasingly entitled society to act as an example. Keep up the corrections! While you’re at it, teach them to be generous, gracious, and grateful too. 

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5 Responses to On Manners and “Parentspeak”

  1. Jen
    Jen May 4, 2017 at 11:09 am #

    I totally agree with you – manners are so important and I see less and less of them these days.

  2. Catherine Moncayo May 5, 2017 at 10:18 am #

    YES! It breaks my heart how there are little to no common courtesy and manner habits actively seen in public now. Well said.

  3. Jen
    Jen May 8, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    My toddler has his off days at daycare where he yells and cries and uses the word “no” a lot… it doesn’t happen often, thankfully, and the teachers are pros at handling it. After one of these days, his teacher was telling me about it & said that after he calms down, he comes over and says, “I’m sorry for not listening.” She said that he’s the only one who does that.

    So while I was not happy that my little one had one of those tantrum days, I was proud that at least he apologizes after it’s over.

    (the little things)

    • Christine Roberts May 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

      That’s so sweet Jen! Definitely puts a silver lining on the tantrum and let’s be honest, those are unavoidable…

  4. Anonymous May 8, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

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