HAVE you ever felt frustrated with loud, noisy children in public places such as restaurants or shopping malls? Worse still, it’s even more frustrating when the parents seem oblivious to other people’s complaints. To them, their children are simply being who they are and should be left alone to have fun.

I’m all for allowing children to be children. At the same time, I also believe that they should be taught good manners from as young as possible. Yes, it’s great that they are having fun but when they disturb and upset others, it crosses the line of good manners and common courtesy. They should be having all that fun in a playground, not in a crowded restaurant.

This of course boils down to their guardians’ parenting style. Amazingly, I have heard cases where parents would simply ignore their children’s disruptive behaviour without addressing it. They even think that they are doing the right thing because “naughty” children are usually thought to be smart children.

Imagine the lessons learnt by their children. They will wrongly assume that they can get away with anything because their parents don’t react or discipline them when they cross the line. This is definitely not a great parenting example.

TRAIN THEM YOUNG

A teacher once told me that this seems to be a trend amongst some parents today. They allow their children to do anything they want, thinking this is the right thing to do for children to learn and grow so that they become smarter. This, however, doesn’t give these young ones the liberty to make a nuisance out of themselves.

The teacher also recounted his unpleasant experience in managing disobedient and unruly students. He strongly suspected that this was probably how they behaved at home too.

As you can see, there is a far-reaching consequence where misbehaving and unruly children are concerned. As such, it’s in their best interest that we start to place a higher premium on politeness and respect for others. We don’t need complicated solutions to this. We simply have to ensure that politeness begins at home.

Take a look at how we interact with our spouses. Are we using gentle, loving language or are we trading verbal salvos at each other? What about the relationship between siblings? Are they playing nicely or are they constantly at each other’s throats? All these are critical elements often overlooked by parents.

We forget that negative behaviour will soon turn into habits that are hard to break if left unchecked.

As such, parents need to be models of politeness. Children need to be trained to be polite from as young as possible. No one likes a rude person even if that person is a cute little child. It directly reflects on our skills as parents.

Don’t get too carried away with their academic excellence until we forget about honing their people skills. A good academic achievement may take our children far but a great attitude and respect for others will take them even further.

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