Monday, October 18, 2010

A Thought On Children's Manners

As most of you know, I work in the Children's Department of a library. Part of my job is to work on the Reference Desk. Here, I assist children and their parents in finding materials and I also hand out computer time cards to kids who want to use our computer's. If there is a wait, they only get 30 minutes.

I encounter all types of families and all types of kids. Many kids have excellent manners. They say "please" and "thank you", and they look me in the eye when requesting some sort of assistance. The little ones are sometimes too shy to look at me, and are often prompted by their parents to say "thank you". I especially appreciate that, because I can see the parent teaching the child how to speak to an adult (even if they're feeling shy), and to remember their manners.

One thing I simply cannot tolerate is rude tweens! The girls sometimes have little attitude problems, but that is 99.9999% of the time directed at their mother's who have committed the cardinal sin of making them to their homework. Sometimes they're rude to me, which is annoying. See, when I was 12, I was really rude to my mother, but the librarian would never know it! See, I was always polite to strangers and people in authority, just not to my mom. Poor mom! She must have known that I'd grow out of it because each year when she went to parent-teacher conferences, she'd hear nothing except how sweet and well-mannered I was! ;)

The boys though? They have no shame! They come up to my desk, stick out their little hand and say, "Time card". I'll hand it to them and they say," ". Oh, yeah, they say nothing! They just turn and run over to the computer. A few repeat offenders are really starting to bother me. One came in today and tried to kick another kid off the computer. So I stepped in and told the little a-hole that he had to wait. He also has a girl's haircut, but I can't really judge on that. Well, I can, but I won't. The manners are my first concern.

I know my readers who are mothers have taught your children well. Your sons are probably well-mannered young men. And you daughters, if they are ever lippy (and I doubt they ever are!), it's only to you, and I promise it'll only last a few years! :) But what, if anything, is a lowly library employee to do?

My husband has wonderful manners (thank you MIL!)! He is more like this:Oh, I beg to differ.....

8 comments:

Randall @ Happy For This Moment said...

I'm with you, I certainly appreciate children with manners because that is what was expected of me! One of my husband's favorite quotes is: "The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any."

Suburban Princess said...

I feel it is the responsibility of adults to teach children manners even if they aren't our children. If their own parents wont teach them please and thank you, I certainly will. The next time one asks for a card without saying please I would suggest he use his big boy manners and ask properly!

Miss Type-A said...

I am with you! I was the same way-- terribleeee to my mom in those junior high years-- but always super polite to anyone else, especially adults. I can't fathom being rude to adults at that age!

LPC said...

Absolutely these kids should be saying please and thank you. Their mothers may be trying to make this happen, the culture may be making it tough. So if you raise your eyebrows and say, excuse me young sir? you are doing the mom a favor.

Cool Gal said...

Love the last cartoon and comment. LOL!

I feel your pain. I worked with children for 14 years as a teacher. What I learned was "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." We are definitely products of our environment. If a kid is rude, more often than not, his parents (one or both) are too. Or, like you said, some might not be teaching their kids manners. Yikes! I guess the school is responsible for that one, too! LOL!

More importantly, kids today seem to be undisciplined. There are no boundaries. No rules. No accountability. Thus, no manners.

Cool Gal said...

By the way...

How about that "Mad Men" finale?

Don and Megan? Really?

I'm still in shock.

I know I said I didn't like Betty in an earlier comment, but, as crazy as this may sound, I like her with Don. I want them back together! The trip to Rome they took...*sigh.* The most beautiful couple.

Bella Michelle said...

I am so with you on this. It is a shame that manners seem to be "optional" these days...especially to adults, not to mention to other children.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

You might request that they ask you politely in a full sentence with "please" from now on. And insist on a "thank you" before you hand it over. I dont think that is overstepping at all.