children, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

The Manners Game

How do you teach your children manners?  My methods thus far have been modeling the manners I would want from my boys, and repetitive reminders to say ‘please, thank you, sir/ma’am’, hold doors for others, etc. I am officially over the repetitive reminding.  I’ve probably been over it since early 2010.  Since I don’t have a creative alternative I’m kind of stuck with what I got.  Until…

I brilliantly came up with a pebble/reward system for every time the boys use good manners in public without a reminder.  If they each fill a jar to the rim they earn a special privilege.  I especially wanted them to focus on speaking respectfully to adults.  Nothing pains me more than when a lovely elderly person asks the boys how they are doing, and the boys respond with a silly dance followed by a fall to the ground in a very unbecoming slapstick sort of way.   I was feeling good about my newly minted reward system and happy the boys showed extreme enthusiasm.  Until…

First stop was the gym.  I was headed to workout and went to drop the boys in the kid zone.  They went up to every adult in a 200 foot radius and said, “How are you doing today, ma’am/sir?”  They said, “Thank you, ma’am!” or “Thank you sir!”  if a woman or man glanced at them even in the slightest of ways (honestly, they were hard to ignore with the manners spectacular they were displaying).    They said, “You’re welcome, sir!  How are you doing today, sir?” to each other about 157 times and then tried to hold the door for every single person in the tri-county area.

At this rate I now officially owe them 497 pebbles a piece and counting. 

It’s time to tweak the rules, don’t you think?

children, mommyhood

All That Manners

When I picked up Full Speed from school, he didn’t exactly get a glowing report from his teacher. Apparently there was some sort of scuffle over the ownership of a chair that resulted in him grabbing his classmate and choking the this classmate in anger. So……, what exactly does a Mom say in response to that?

The teacher explained that Full Speed responded to discipline appropriately and quickly doled out the proper apology to his classmate. She said that the ‘angry’ incident wasn’t enough to impact his overall report for the day. He still had received a blue snowflake (red is bad) as his final behavior mark for the day. I left feeling that although Full Speed had acted delinquently, that at least he was a polite delinquent.

Since it was Grandpa’s last night here, T.Puzzle, Full Speed and myself took him out to dinner one more time. I was a little shaken up about Full Speed’s bad report at school and I was feeling less than prepared for dealing with any antics from my boys. When the food arrived and the waiter placed Full Speed’s cheeseburger in front of him, I said, “What do you say, Full Speed?” My hope was to elicit a ‘thank you’ from him. Again, I am trying very hard to raise a polite delinquent. Instead, he shouts, “YAHOO!”

At least the waiter had a sense of humor and cracked a smile. Thankfully, tomorrow will soon be here and is another chance for me to teach my guys manners, reinforce my ‘no-choking’ policy and attempt to always, always, try to find the silver lining in the cracks of this crazy façade we call motherhood.