Saturday, February 28, 2009

Etiquette Lesson # Three from Betty and Emily: Children and Manners! What's a Parent To Do?

Beware!  Set down rules NOW or you'll end up with children like these unruly monsters!

Betty knows most of you parents try your hardest to make those children of yours behave at the table and elsewhere, but all that talking, and cajoling, and reasoning with the little beasts is getting you nowhere.  It's time to face it: trying to understand your children and treat them as rational human beings is not getting you anywhere and is, in fact, robbing your children of their future need for self-medication/therapy.

Betty and Emily are here for you.  Here's a no-nonsense guide to making those children behave at the table and elsewhere.  

 The Baby Feeds Itself
pg 743 from Etiquette

Girls are usually daintier and more easily taught than boys, but most children will behave badly at table if left to their own devices.  Even though they may commit no serious offenses, such as making a mess of their food or themselves, or talking with their mouths full, all children love to crumb bread, flop this way or that in their chairs, knock spoons and forks together, dawdle over their food, feed animals--if any are allowed in the room--or become restless and noisy.

Once graduated to the dining-room, any reversion to such to such tactics must be nipped in the bud.  The child should understand that continued offense means a return to the nursery or eating, wherever it may be, by himself.

The Spoiled Child
pg 763

It is only necessary to bring to mind the most irritating and objectionable child one knows, and the chances are that its mother continually throws the spotlight on it by talking to it, and about it, and by calling attention to its looks or its cunning ways, or even, possibly its naughtiness.

It is humanly natural to make a fuss over little children, particularly if they are pretty, and it take quite superhuman control for a young mother not to "show off" her treasure, but to say instead, "Please do not pay any attention to her." nine cases out of ten, the old-fashioned method that assigned children to inconspicuous places in the background and decreed they might be seen and not heard, produced men and women of far greater charm than the modern method of encouraging public self-expression from infancy upward.

The Chief Virtue: Obedience
pg 764

No young human being, any more than a young dog, has the least claim to attractiveness unless it is trained to manners and obedience.  The child that whines, interrupts, fusses, fidgets and does nothing that it is told to do, has not the least power of attraction for anyone, even though it may have the features of an angel and be dressed like a picture.  Another that may have no claim to beauty whatever, but that is sweet and nicely behaved exerts charm over everyone, 

When possible, a child should be taken away the instant it becomes disobedient. It soon learns that it cannot stay "with mother" unless it is well-behaved.  This means it learns self-control in babyhood.

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