Parents failing to teach their children basic social graces

From: Karl Sheridan, Selby Road, Holme on Spalding Moor, East Yorkshire.

HOW often these days do we hear the phrase “Behave! Where are your manners?” Sadly, very seldom indeed – in fact it seems a considerable number of parents have no manners either, which probably explains the behaviour of their offspring.

Being of an age where manners and courtesy were both taught and expected, the apparent lack of these social graces seems more evident as the years go on. An elderly lady in our village commented that years ago most folk would wish a cheery “morning” when encountering a neighbour, yet these days “incomers and the younger folk” were totally ignorant of social etiquette and blanked her out if she acknowledged them: but then she added that that was all to be expected from this generation and how right she is.

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The vast majority of children are failing to be taught just how to behave in public places – many parents feeling that just because they love their child so should everyone else, regardless of the nuisance they are causing to others.

Many times I see kids being allowed to stand on seats or squealing loudly, yet the parent either ignores it, condones it with a smile, or else shouts for the child to “pack it in!” without bothering to explain that someone has to sit on that seat and that their shoes might be dirty, or that screeching loudly upsets other people trying to have a quiet lunch.

My parents taught me how 
to behave in public by 
explaining that when I was in church I needed to be quiet out of respect.

When I was in museums, playing up was wrong because it disturbed people trying to enjoy works of art, and that in restaurants one sat quietly and behaved and ate one’s food properly, and replaced the chair when leaving as one found it.

Sadly it is the norm these days for some to leave tables as if a bomb has hit it, neither apologising or acknowledging that staff have to clean up after them, and that sadly is down to the McDonald’s type of fast food outlets that accept any behaviour.

Frankly, I was taught at an early age that when shopping I must stand nearby and not to touch things on shelves that we were not buying, unlike today where kids seem to help themselves or maul anything within reach, or else amuse themselves by shouting and charging around playing silly games, totally ignored by the parent who is only too happy to be shot of the little darlings.

Sadly these days the supermarkets tolerate this behaviour because they don’t want to offend a customer and lose a sale. But what about other customers trying to shop in peace, I ask?

Do I feel out of kilter with the current lifestyle of the masses? Yes, I do, because it appears most folk no longer have time for the social pleasantries, no time to reflect on things, no time to teach their kids how to behave, no time for others, no time for themselves in fact. Surely I can’t be the only one who feels this way?