5 Secrets to Raising a Courteous, Well-Mannered Child

by Erin A. Kurt

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It is such a beautiful feeling when everywhere you go people marvel at how lovely it is to be around your child, whether it be in a store, restaurant, friendly visit or classroom. It is not so lovely when you cringe inside at your child’s behavior, rudeness or lack of ability to interact confidently in a social environment. So, how do we ensure that we raise well-mannered, socially competent and polite children?

There are some basic strategies that are highly effective. One is to learn and use my 4-Step Discipline technique as this creates the perfect platform in which to build upon. Children learn how to be self-disciplined from it and research shows that self-disciplined children are more self-confident, polite, compassionate and generally nice to be around.

Other effective ways are:

1. Prioritize Courtesy

Commit to raising a courteous child. Reinforce politeness and the importance of good manners everyday so your kids know that that is how your family treats people in and out of the home. Being civil, respectful and courteous is expected. Period. You do not listen or give attention to mouthy, rude talking.

2. Be an example of courtesy.

Children learn how “to be” by observing us (their parents). So, remember to always say please and thank you, excuse me, I’m sorry, and speak kindly to and of others. Seeing you and your partner do this consistently will show your child that this is just normal behavior for your family.

3. Model new manners.

When my son was old enough (3 years old), we taught him how to politely order at a restaurant and ask for the bill. He feels so important and confident and of course, we always reinforce how his manners impacted the waiter or waitress, i.e.: smiles, laughter, happiness.

4. Comment when you see other people using good manners.

When someone holds a door open for you, be sure to say, “Thank you” to the person then continue with, “That was very kind of that man to hold the door for us, wasn’t it?” My son, now 3 1/2 years old, will hold doors open for people – imagine the smiles he gets! His comments are, “Mommy, I helped that lady. She smiled at me!”

5. Use the phrase, “Try that again in a polite way.”

When your child responds to you or anyone else in an impolite way be sure to point it out and use the phrase above. If they refuse simply say, “When you talk nicely I’ll listen to you” or if need be, use my 4-Step Discipline Technique.

Vast numbers of studies find that well-mannered children are more popular and do better in school. Teachers speak glowingly of them and parents make sure they are on the top of their kid’s invite lists. Let’s face it, polite children are just nicer to be around!

In addition to this, courteous kids are more considerate of others thoughts and feelings and are more respectful. Courteous kids also have an edge in adult life too, as businesses report that their first interview choices are applicants who display good social graces.

All in all, it pays to raise well-mannered children; you benefit, your children benefit and the world benefits. I’d say it’s a pretty important priority, wouldn’t you?

Erin A. Kurt, Stress-Free Parenting Expert, is founder of ErinParenting.com and the author of Juggling Family Life: A Step-By-Step Guide to Stress-Free Parenting, the proven step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to raise happy, respectful and well-adjusted kids in just 3 steps…guaranteed. To get your F.R.E.E. video series and receive her stress-free parenting articles on how to parent without yelling and get your kids to listen to you the first time, visit www.erinparenting.com.

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13 thoughts on “5 Secrets to Raising a Courteous, Well-Mannered Child”

  1. If you want to share stuff from others why dont just tweet a link to their site rather than copying their content as your sermon and leeching away their organic search traffic. Nice work Maulvi.


    1. Dear Big Brother

      In Erin’s case this content is not on her website. And she is well aware of this being posted on my web site.

      In the case of others, all give me permission to post either part or whole of their content on my site. Usually if a web site does exist, I will give part of the article and give the link to ensure they get the hit.

      Do not feel ashamed to criticize with your own name, real email and website. I don’t bit. 🙂



  2. very helpful i’d say. about priortizing………thats something which helps in all other aspects of child rearing as well………also its so true that we cant teach our children anything unless we beleive in it and practice it our selves……..jazakallah for sharing.


  3. Great book!! I recommend it to all who are having discipline issues at home or at school. It teaches you how to raise your children how it was done 50 years ago, where children respected adults. Worth every penny, and more!


    1. Dear Mations:

      I have learnt a lot from Erin but unfortunately have not been able to read the book (as ordering things from the US is not very easy logistically for us in Pakistan).



  4. Nice tips to raise well mannered child! We did a lot of research on this topic as this is one of the major parenting challenges. Here are some pointers that will help parents
    1.Be persistent and consistent. Repeat the ‘magic words’ a number of times every day, around every interaction. Make it a part of everyone’s behaviour. 
    2. Provide plenty of positive feedback. Don’t be miserly about complimenting your child when she demonstrates good behaviour. 
    3. Try sticker charts to reinforce positive behaviour, with the child earning a sticker each time she says “thank you”, “please”, “sorry”, etc.
    4. Have a consequence (not a punishment) for inappropriate behaviour, such as not taking your child to a party because she behaved badly at an earlier one. Once children realise that bad manners have certain unpleasant consequences, they will avoid those behaviours.


  5. Great post! These 5 point are very helpful. You may also go through the article on the parentedge.in website, while you ponder on the following points :

    >Does being well-mannered imply mechanically doing the right things because of parental / societal pressure, or do we want this to be intrinsic in our children – saying a heartfelt thank you, displaying warmth in interacting with people, a respect for others which comes from being respected themselves?
    >Are manners about children, or about parents and what kind of role models they are?
    >Do we see a well-mannered child as a validation of our upbringing of her, of our parenting?


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