October 26, 2009

Monday Manners 10/26/09

"It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."
~Author Unknown

Why should we be nice when we feel others are being mean? Sometimes it seems like no one else cares anymore. You can be sincerely polite, gracious, and kind to everyone you meet and never have it reciprocated. Why bother?

B and I were discussing this today after Robotson told me that he was upset with someone and wanted to "make them feel the way they made him feel." I was letting him talk through it, using Active Listening, to get to the root of the problem. His idea was pretty detailed, and yes, rather mean. He wanted to make this person miss him, then call to find out where he was just so that he could make them apologize. Then he planned to not accept their apology. That way they would know exactly how he felt. While his plan may have worked; it was just as likely to backfire. Not to mention the other dozen things that were wrong with this particular idea.

It was really important for me to let Robotson talk this through though, because he did eventually reason himself out of it. If given the chance, kids know right from wrong. They don't actually need us to tell them.* He doesn't really want to hurt them, he wants them to realize that he was hurt, and apologize.

What B and I were discussing, is how being mannerly can sometimes make you feel walked upon. I'd say, more often than not, the other person truly has no idea there was a problem. On a rare occasion they know, but are too embarrassed to say anything. But why should you take the high road? Because being mannerly isn't about other people. It's about feeling good about yourself. Ultimately, Robotson wouldn't have felt good making anyone feel badly, no matter how hurt he is himself, and he recognized that. I suggested he try to talk to them about what happened. I'm not sure if he will, but it's a better way to go.

Here are some guidelines to follow for confronting rude behavior:

During a confrontation…
1. Ask yourself if it’s really worth it.
2. Stay calm under pressure.
3. Address the rudeness.
4. If all else fails, leave.

*Well, as long as
we are modeling the correct behavior, that is!


  1. I really do love your Monday Manners posts.

    This one reminds me of how I got DD to see how she was acting when she'd get angry or annoyed and act out. She never *got in trouble* for these actions or attitudes. Those kind of punishments never teach the right lesson. I always wanted her to know that her feelings were validated. She always has a right to her own feelings. BUT I wanted her to be aware that how she handled those feelings mattered. When she would act out, I'd ask her how it felt to act like that. Did it make her feel good? Did she like herself when she was acting like that? The answer was always no. This was how I made her aware that she ultimately had the choice in how she reacted to a situation.

    This is not to say that we all aren't human. We all have our bad days or bad moments. This is where grace, appology and forgiveness comes into play. I make sure to appologize when I've been a grump or over-reacted to a situation. DH had gotten better about it, too. Sometimes we have to make each other aware of how we are acting.

    I think you are doing a great job at trying to change things around in your parenting style. I am certain that with open and honest communication between all of you that you will build the bridges you desire.

  2. Great post--I really like how you let him talk his way through it instead of telling him what he should think!

    By the way, hello! (Just found your blog thru the Evolved Hschooler list.)

  3. Thanks Sparklees! Glad you found your way here :)

    Vert-The way you worked with your daughter to see that she could control her reactions-- that's what I want to do with my son. We are making progress but he's so quick to temper (just like me). I wish it came more naturally to me. But you are right, I think we'll get there.