Social graces bring confidence. Often children are unsure as to how to behave in a particular social situation,and this makes them uneasy, causing them to lose confidence. Kids can get away with running around the place, but teenagers tend to feel awkward. They frequently wait for a cue from their parents as to how to behave,
and if that cue doesn't come, they waver around uncertainly, not sure what
to do next. Make sure you instill certain graces in your child, so he doesn't
have to wait for that cue.
Mallika, a teenager I know, went up to Vikas, another teenager she had met once before, and said hello. Instead of responding in kind, he looked at her blankly and said 'Er… who are you?' She re-introduced herself, spoke for a minute and walked on,
but not without feeling slightly insulted.
Teach your son that if someone he does not recognize comes up and says hi, instead of cheekily declaring
'who are you?' he should smile back in acknowledgement, and try and figure
out who the person is during the conversation. Or he could politely state,
"You look so familiar, but I just cannot seem to place you." The same rule,
of course, does not apply to teenage
girls, who are often approached by random boys. In any case, being
polite has never hurt anyone.
Your friends drop in for a cup of
tea when your children are lounging around watching
MTV. Make sure they stand up and greet the guests. A causal wave or
nod of acknowledgement is not enough, unless, of course, the guest is practically
a family member.Even so, practice makes perfect, and the more often your
child gets up to greet guests, the more naturally and easier it will come
If you are out for dinner at a restaurant,
and are waiting for guests to join you, your children, along with the father,
should stand up as the guests approach your table. The lady may remain
If guests come over and your children are in their
room, it is always nice if they can come out and say hi. If they are not
suitably attired and are loath to change their clothes, you could excuse
them, but if it is a family member who would be pleased to meet the kids,
they should definitely come out and greet them.
If guests stop by when you are not
at home, your teenager should invite them in, offer them something to drink
and sit with them until they leave. (Only if your teenager knows who they
are. It is understandable if your teenager doesn't invite strangers when
he or she is alone at home. It is important for them to use their discretion
children should never answer the door.)
Teach yourchildren to offer to carry
anything heavy and weighty, and to help you carry stuff to and fro. This
does not mean that you sound them off for not offering to carry that light-as-a-feather
plastic bag. They are not coolies. There is nothing more annoying than
mothers goading their children on to 'help' a relative carry something
no heavier than an envelope, just so she can feel proud to have such thoughtful
children. But if you or any elder is carrying an assortment of packages,
or something weighty or uncomfortable, your child should rush forward to
Teach your son to:
Open the entrance door for women
Open the car door for women
Stand aside and wait for women to exit
the elevator before he does
Wait for the ladies to sit down first
Stand up when being introduced
Apologize for swearing in front of elders
And most importantly, teach your teenagers
to be friendly.
It is not 'cool' to be standoffish. It is far cooler to be a well-mannered,
confident and warm person.
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- The Indiaparenting Team