The Importance of Manners for Teens

Manners and etiquette might seem to be relics of the past. However, etiquette still matters, especially for children and teenagers. When parents emphasize the importance of manners to teens, they are not doing so to make a teen conform to rules that have no bearing on a person's real life. Being polite helps a teen distinguish himself from the crowd in a positive way.

More Safety, Less Conflict

In many ways, manners help the world run smoothly. A teenager who knows how to act politely is less likely to find himself in potentially harmful or dangerous situations, according to Dr. Alex Packer, the author of "How Rude!" For example, teens who are rude to other teens risk becoming physically injured. If a teenager speaks to an adult in a sarcastic way or is testy with a peer, he creates conflict, which could have been easily avoided, by being polite.

What Goes Around. . .

The "Golden Rule" or acting toward people as you would like them to act toward you is a significant part of good manners 4. When a teen is polite to another person, it is likely that the other person will be polite in return. Teenagers who have good manners earn the respect of their peers, of younger children and of adults. In addition, being polite can indicate that more good things will happen to a teenager. For example, a teen who is in the habit of writing “Thank You” notes to people for gifts or favors is more likely to continue to receive gifts, because the giver feels appreciated.

Getting Ahead

Manners also help teens get ahead -- both in school and in life. Teenagers who understand how to behave during the job search and interview have a better chance of landing a part-time job. Teaching a teenager how to write a proper business letter and how to conduct a formal phone conversation will enable her to be a standout in the eyes of a potential employer. Good manners are rare enough in teenagers that any sign of manners makes a teen shine in the eyes of people in positions of authority, according to Dr. Packer.

Teaching Manners

Kids and teens learn by watching the adults in their lives. If you are rude to your teens at home or if you are impolite to adults in your life, your teens will mimic that behavior. At the Emily Post Institute, Cindy Post Senning notes that the Golden Rule should be a guide for parents when it comes to teaching kids and teenagers’ manners 4. At home, you should act in the ways you want your kids to act. If you slip up, take time to explain to your teen why your behavior was rude.

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