top of page

Teaching children etiquette

Ms. Asha Fenn is a veteran in the education industry and brings along with her, 30 years of fruitful and engaging academia-industry exposure in India and Dubai. Through her years of service, she has handled several positions and responsibilities of an academician, trainer, motivational speaker, educational consultant and corporate relations manager. Ms. Fenn also has the distinction of nurturing and mentoring young civil servants at the Government Civil Service Academy in Tiruvananthapuram, as their academic coordinator. It’s essential for teens to learn how to get along positively with others and show respect when interacting. A solid foundation in good manners and proper etiquette is key when it comes to developing strong social skills. As a parent, you'll want to ensure that your teen understands the importance of appropriate behavior as it can directly contribute to his/her success in young adulthood and beyond.

Definition and Purpose of Etiquette

The word “etiquette” is French and means “little sign” or “ticket,” according to Cindy Post and Peggy Post, authors of “Teen Manners”. As a literal translation, etiquette simply means a collection of little reminders to help people understand how to behave in various situations. Etiquette ensures that people know what society in general expects; it provides standard rules for appropriate behavior. The purpose of etiquette isn't to put on a show for the benefit of others with appearances and facades. Instead, it involves an attitude of respect and concern towards others to ensure that everyone feels valued and comfortable.

Basic Etiquette

As a parent, you want to provide guidance about basic etiquette to your children as they grow, as well as teach them how to treat others respectfully. Basic etiquette includes table manners, phone etiquette, greeting others, thanking people for gifts and computer etiquette. Even a young child can understand simple table manners like placing a napkin on his/her lap, talking politely, and eating neatly.

By adolescence, your children should practice cellphone etiquette, which includes setting a cellphone to vibrate when in public or with others and, conducting both texting and voice conversations in private. Ensure that your teens understand that properly greeting someone includes smiling, making eye contact and shaking hands. Explain that proper gift etiquette involves writing and sending thank-you notes promptly when someone sends a gift. Also explain that computer etiquette includes communicating respectfully with others, despite the lack of face-to-face contact. Demonstrate proper etiquette and respectful behavior for your teens in daily life to help them learn from your example.

Lacking Etiquette

If a teenager lacks an understanding of basic etiquette, he/she might feel uncomfortable in social situations,

According to information provided by the New Rochelle City Schools, with this discomfort, the adolescent might experience embarrassment or timidity that puts him/her at a disadvantage. It’s also possible that a teen could attempt to compensate for his/her discomfort by acting out in inappropriate or offensive ways.

A solid Foundation

With a solid foundation in etiquette and manners, a teen should feel strong and confident, even in new or unfamiliar situations. This can be particularly important for adolescents who often feel self-conscious and anxious, having trouble acclimating to new situations to which they are unaccustomed. When a teen has strong social skills and understands how to treat others respectfully and politely, he/she can navigate virtually anything from a college or job interview to a conversation with a teacher.

This article was originally published in magazine in the month of October, 2018.


bottom of page