Trying to raise a teen in today’s world comes with many new challenges. Something as simple as teaching your kid to have manners has suddenly become hard! Of course, it was always challenging to teach toddlers how to behave in public and use table manners, but most kids had it down by the time they were teenagers.
With today’s “me” culture permeating every aspect of life, it’s become challenging to raise a teen with manners. It’s so easy for them to focus on themselves and their friends or to get lost in social media. For a lot of teens, their online life takes precedence over their real life. They want to stay connected with their devices to the point of being rude to the people around them.
Thankfully, most teenagers aren’t actively trying to be rude.They just weren’t raised with manners, or they forgot their manners along the way. As the parent of a teenager, there are several things that you can do to encourage your teen to use manners even in today’s culture. With some effort, you can help your teen stay grateful, kind, and humble as they grow up.
Teaching Manners to Teens
When you try to teach a life skill like manners to your teen, you need to focus on the reason behind it. Teenagers are less motivated to learn new skills if they don’t understand the reason for the effort. If it just seems like you’re trying to tell them how to behave, they’re more likely to brush it off and ignore you.
Teens understand the need for respect. They realize they need to show respect to others, but even more, they want to be respected. When you talk to your teenager about the importance of using manners, emphasize respect.
The whole reason that we use manners in society is to show respect to those around us. When we don’t use manners, it’s a social signal of disrespect. It’s important for teens to realize that all people are worthy of basic human respect. This includes family members, friends, and strangers.
Rather than just harping on your teen for forgetting to use their manners, remind them it’s disrespectful not to use their manners. Then encourage them to show respect to others by using their manners.
Involve the Whole Family
If you have younger children in your family as well, get the whole family involved in using manners. This might mean that you have to changehow you typically do things around your house. If your kids are used to interacting without manners, it might take them a little while to adjust.
Set some ground rules for using manners around the house and review them with the whole family. Make sure that everyone (including adults) is on board for following the new rules and that everyone understands the reasoning behind the rules.
Some examples of family rules for manners include:
- Knock before entering a room
- Everyone eats dinner together at the table
- No cell phones or headphones at the dinner table
- No cell phones or headphones during car rides
- Say “please” when making requests
- Say “thank you” when someone does something for you
- Take turns when playing video games
- If you see someone doing something difficult, offer to help
Acknowledge Good Manners
As your teen gets used to using manners, they’ll act without thinking. Acknowledge their good manners when you see it. This will help reinforce the behavior and show your teen that you notice when they do things well.
Also, encourage them to notice when they see good manners in use. It will help them see how frequently those around them use manners to communicate respect and to interact with one another.
It’s easy for teens to get lost in their own world and forget about what’s happening around them. Today’s world makes it tough to raise a teen with manners because you have to compete with so many self-centered distractions. When teens take time to notice others, they broaden their focus and see how they fit into the big picture.
Choose a Path for Success
Most teens forget to use their manners from time to time, but they aren’t purposefully being disrespectful to those around them. If your teenage son is blatantly disrespectful and refuses to use manners as an act of rebellion, he might struggle with mental health problems.
Disrespectful and defiant teen behavior can often be treated through therapy and life skills training. Contact us for more information about therapeutic treatment options for struggling teen boys.