Where Have All The Manners Gone?

Sadly, I have noticed a great decline in the use of basic manners in our children over the years.  As an elementary school teacher, I hear and see A LOT.  I interact with hundreds of children weekly and let me tell you, polite, they are NOT.

Today’s kids act really entitled.  I am now taken a back when a student IS polite rather than when they are rude.  The rude has sadly become the default response type.

What accounts for all this rudeness?  Where has all this audacity come from?  When did it become okay to call out, interrupt, over step, expect all, talk-over and take without any form of gratitude?  Where have all the manners gone?

How did we let this happen?

Have parents forgotten to teach basic manners to their children?  Perhaps parents are ill mannered themselves and therefore teaching their children by example is just not happening.  I question if it is the internet and social media influence.  Is everything so fast paced online and in real life (daycare, work, school, dinner, activities etc. ) that there is no time to properly incorporate the importance of basic manners into our everyday living? Has an excess in screen time brought the opportunity for human face-to-face interaction to such low levels that the upcoming generation cannot witness polite interactions between people? There seems to be an inherent inability to recognize the social cues necessary for patient, respectful and courteous exchanges. The respect for authority has all but disappeared.  There seems to be a minimal difference between how a child treats a peer or an adult. They get treated identically.  Not cool.

I wish that proper behavioural etiquette could be taught in our schools.  Japan is a shining example of a populous that highlights the importance of good manners.  The first three years of school are focused on developing the child’s character.  This includes learning manners, empathy and gentleness towards animals and nature as well as self-discipline and self-control.  Formal academic assessments only begin in year four once the groundwork of proper manners and courteous respectful human interaction have been firmly established.  Ahhhh…..how wonderful it would be if we did the same….alas, I digress.

Perhaps we, as a society, need to stop and get back to basics.

Be the change you want to see in the world.



6 thoughts on “Where Have All The Manners Gone?

  1. RING that bell, sister!!!! I’ve been trying to promote the importance of manners and bemoaning the lack of etiquette for years….
    Manners reflect an attitude of consideration, kindness and respect for others, which have seemingly become unnecessary and thus non-existent in almost all areas of day-to-day life!
    There are rules of social behaviours that everyone SHOULD KNOW and FOLLOW.
    I so agree with you, Susie, the most basic— saying please and thank you… When did saying, “please” and “thank you” fall out of fashion?
    It should be ingrained in one’s psyche, from the get-go, that one must preface any request made to someone with a “please.” When you are requesting something from another person, YOU are the person in need and not entitled to one’s attention because you believe you are.
    “Thank you” implies that you have received something from someone– be it assistance or a thing, and a thank you is a verbal acknowledgement of the person and a demonstration of your appreciation.

    Ohhhh, I can go on and on. Our students are so unaware of the bonus of being polite—In a purely mercenary manner— by being polite and minding your manners you are more likely to achieve your objectives and get what you want!

    1. Well said and well written Frances! We are completely on the same page on this one. I suppose there are a myriad of variables that have contributed to the decline in basic good manners but if I had to point to the most important one, I would have to say that they are just not being taught at home. So sad 😦

  2. Very well put . It’s actually funny because my children are extremely polite and people tell me time n time again how they never see polite children anymore . When they are asked wow u guys are really polite ( ie help an old person with their groceries or stand up to let an older person sit ) my children always say we are like my mom and dad . So I guess you have to teach by example and I am extremely PROUD to say my kids are excellent examples of George and I.

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. I would expect nothing less from you Linda! You have every reason to be proud!! These manners and respect for others need to be taught at home! I agree with you completely!

  3. You are spot on. All too often people, parents included, forget that our future generation is standing right behind us, watching us and learning from our interactions. Every time we are short with a server, impatient with a clerk, and rude to a coworker or family member they see and hear that, it reinforces in them the idea that this is proper practice. Each time we curse in traffic, watch a movie full of rude characters and foul language and gestures they see that as an example of acceptable adult interaction. Each time we snip at our spouse/partner, or loose our cool with our kids, we are modeling that behavior for them. So always stay vigilant, act appropriately and with kindness and love because your kids, and others, are watching everything we do and will accept that as the norm, absorb it into their personality, and mirror that back to us later.

    1. Yes!!! They are like sponges soaking up all that they see and hear! The responsibility of emulating the behavior we want mirrored back to us rests on our shoulders!! Back to basics!!!! Thank you for your comment!

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