Encouraging Thoughtfulness and Good Manners

Lindsey - posted on 08/12/2015 ( 7 moms have responded )

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What are some of the best ways to encourage a preteen/teen to be thoughtful and use their manners? My husband and I are having a tough time with our daughter. She is very sensitive lately to any correction and almost always has something rude to say back. Gentle reminders even are usually ignored. I don't want to sound extreme, but there are many times we can tell she is being manipulative on purpose, and she doesn't care how rude she appears. She turns her nose up at being a good person basically, like it doesn't matter. Something as simple as being reminded to chew with her mouth closed at dinner is met with the reply of: "You know, it really makes no difference. We are at home. It shouldn't matter what you do at home where no one sees you doing stuff. Plus how you eat is your personal business. You shouldn't watch how other people eat." It is driving us up the wall!

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 08/12/2015

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I got the barn offer, too, Sarah!

Sarah - posted on 08/12/2015

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Kids act their worst at home because they know they can. My own mother offered us the barn to eat in with the animals; if we were going to eat like pigs, we could eat with the pigs. This, of course, worked because I grew up on a farm .

Dove - posted on 08/12/2015

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Let her know that in your house you chew w/ your mouth closed and if she doesn't want to do that she can stop eating and go to her room. I do kind of agree w/ her, but that doesn't matter... cuz I'm not HER mom.

She is likely dealing w/ a lot of emotions and feelings that she can't get a handle on due to the hormonal changes... but that does not excuse the behavior. If she is not following your rules she can go sit her butt in her room and not subject the rest of the household to her behavior. Stay calm and consistent when you send her off.... it's not exactly a punishment as she is welcome to read or listen to music or whatever (though I WOULD take all electronics out of the bedroom... or you may never see her again...lol) until she is calm and ready to be civilized.

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 08/12/2015

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Sounds like a typical teenage snit...My kids went through the same.

Rules, are rules, however, and if little miss "eating is personal business" can't show proper manners in the home, she should no longer be allowed out into public with the family, until she straightens up. If she cannot demonstrate proper manners and respect at home, you cannot count on her to do so in public, right?

Ok, I know, in public, she's probably an angel who gets complimented on her very nice behaviour, because my sons were the same, but boy did that ONE time of leaving them home to their own devices (both could cook by that age) while Dad and I went to a restaurant that they would particularly enjoy really sink in with them.

This too shall pass (hopefully). Stick to your rules and discipline!

Lindsey - posted on 08/12/2015

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Thanks ladies. You have great suggestions. I'm going to run that by my husband. Of course table manners aren't the only issue at all, but I enjoy and expect basic table etiquette. My mother suggested we ask her to move from the table over to the bar, across the kitchen from us, if she's not using her manners. Sending her to her room is a different concept!

I think being on the brink of becoming a teenager (she's 12), and with school starting back this week, she is definitely dealing with a lot. She is a determined girl, very outgoing, and she wants to do things her way. Bless her heart, she is DESPERATE to become an adult, and isn't afraid to voice it. She thinks that will make her life SO much easier when she doesn't have to listen to anyone tell her what to do!

Sarah - posted on 08/12/2015

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I agree with Dove, your household rules are not up for debate. If she chooses to not follow the rules, She can go sit alone, in her silent, technology free bedroom. Getting into any type of debate about habits and that you are teaching her how to behave outside the home as well, is probably pointless right now. She's testing the boundaries and the less attention you give her behavior, the quicker it will taper off.

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