We often here the etiquette and think of girls/women/table manners, but after an experience this weekend I think I may have discovered a new form … KID Etiquette.
My kids often get on my case and label me as “DOING TO MUCH” when they ask can they visit a friend, go hang out at the mall or movies with a friend or sleep over at friends house. The #1 response I give them is “Who are the parents and what is their #”? That’s when they come back with “Why are you always doing too much? Who’s parents ask for this stuff”? I guess that’s why I’m called the parent and you’re the child because you don’t get it! The rules are simple.. before I allow my kids to hang out with others off site from my house I need the following. ..
- Parents information – Name/Address/phone #
- In depth face to face and phone conversation with the parent(s). This allows me to feel them out and determine if the buck will stop here or will this be a positive step in the child getting the result they are after.
- Details on the specifics.. Who/What/When/Where/Time
Once I’ve done my due diligence and research I render my decision as to yes or no and we go from there.
About kid etiquette. As a parent it is important for me to understand the other parents for multiple reasons.
- I want to know do we share the same/similar values
- Will you respect my wishes while my child is with you?
- Communication style. Will you challenge what may seem off to you and call me or assume the kid is being truthful and go with it?
- I lastly get a glimpse at your kids and see the parenting style, something you don’t pick up on via a phone conversation or text but rather in person.
Understanding the other parent(s) helps me make an informed decision about whom I’m willing to allow into my life and more importantly my kids world where I have control. School of course is somewhat out of my realm of control because I can’t be there all day. Am I saying my kids need to have friends that are just like them? NO. Do I think my kids are perfect? Heck no… their boys… need I say more? I recall as a kid my mother kept close reins on us and regulated who we interacted act. As a parent today.. I get it now.
Over the weekend my sons friend stayed with us from Friday until Monday. Never once did I hear from the other parent ( no judgement) just stating facts. I called and texted and never heard back. Meanwhile, her son… the eldest of 4 with the younger 3 being girls is completely outnumbered and I get that he wanted to escape the girls and be around boys. While a pretty quirky 13 year old he definitely brought a check on bag of “drama”. .. the kid type. Right out the gate he made it known that he prefers clear sodas vs dark and that he doesn’t drink water. I made it equally known that we don’t do sodas at all and drink lots of water … lol. Oh to see the look on his face when I threw that back at him. #priceless. As the days and hours progressed it was quite evident this guy was dare I say “high maintenance”. He only ate at certain places and didn’t like this or that. He didn’t like the sun/heat and wasn’t into “work”, unless it was for pay. I just laughed internally at the innocent sincerity of his words. Thats when I reminded myself why my mother rarely let us out of her sight or why I don’t let my kids roll with just anybody.
Kid etiquette 101 –
As parents I’m learning that it is important to teach the kids not only manners and respect but etiquette.
- speak only when approached
- stay in a childs place
- don’t interrupt adults who are talking
- Say yes/no Mr and Mrs.
- When food is present EAT IT or not but don’t demand or suggest you eat something different, much less expect to get that… barring allergies of course.
- Obey, respect and follow house rules ( even if they are opposite of what you do at home). Now this one gets a lot of people because as a child the expectation.. .although false is that everyone does it the way “Mom and Dad” does.
- lastly… say thanks and be grateful.
While I’m not saying this child was void manners he was definitely going to let you know his stance. The funniest thing he said to me was this. .. I called out to him and told him to gather his belongings as I was ready to take him back home. His response… “Are we taking the convertible”? While a valid question on one hand a bit brazen on the other he had literally just requested what vehicle I was to drive him home in. Well, he was surely and sorely disappointed as I pointed out the convertible is only for 2 and we have 3 so that would be a no bueno. He then says.. “Oh, I didn’t know (insert name) your son was coming too! lol That did it. When I dropped him off I had a good heart to heart with my son and broke it down to him as to why I am the way that I am and why I’m not a fan of kids sleeping over other people’s house etc. In that moment my 14 year old “got it”. He ( my son) said… “yeah, I knew after this weekend that he probably won’t be coming back over here to spend the night or weekend anymore”. I chuckled, but internally I was saying to myself EXACTLY! I can’t do kids with a laundry list of needs and hard heads. That whole weekend experience inspired the term “Kid Etiquette” and this post. At the end of the day, he’s just being a kid and I get it, but I think parents, myself included don’t necessarily think about this stuff until moments like these happen. I’m looking for feedback. Am I off on my approach or thoughts? Do others feel similarly? Sound off here or on Facebook @goodmombadwife