The Lost Art of Etiquette & Everyday Manners
I may be going out on a limb here, but I do not believe that etiquette and manners are not a high priority today. Why? Frankly, when I watch the evening news, television programing or read posts on social media, I also wonder what happened.
I cringe when I listen to the talking heads on television who talk over each other as they each try to compete for their five seconds. I observe this same lack of respect in many conversations, I see between spouses, partners, and parent/child interactions this in my work as a therapist, and in social situations. Personally, I learn much more when I listen than when I speak. One of the reasons there such a demand for my services, is no one has anyone who really listens to them. I would be out of business tomorrow if there was someone in their life who would take a moment to really hear their loved ones, and let them know they were heard. I work with individuals, couples and families to help them learn better listening skills so they can heal the wounds in their families. It is amazing how much just being heard helps a wounded heart. We work on listen and communication skills. Clients learn the difference between feedback, criticism and praise, which helps them to listen without getting defensive and speak with out offending.
Parents behavior, often without realizing it, caused the issue by their own lack of manners, and respect for others. Frequently during session parents will tell their children to "shut up" or call them names. Of course, I work to redirect the parents and help them develop better parenting skills. However, it is in my individual work with the children, when I hear the children express their parents never listen and/or tell them they don't know anything. Everyone deserved to be heard and have a voice. Parents listen to your words and if you need help with finding new ways to communicate with your children, please get some help before you do more damage. You can change the interactions and reduce the stress in your home.
Many times I hear that manners are old fashion, and Emily Post was stuffy. Yes, I am not young, but I do not believe that manners and presenting yourself well never go out of style. For example, if you are interviewing for a job. In my former life, as a bank manager, I interview many potential employees and I looked for those who spoke well but also that listened and made eye contact.
In closing, I believe that it is important to be mindful of our actions and our words whether with our children or with our contemporaries. Manner and using proper etiquette do say something about how we feel about ourselves and others. It does let people know that we value them and ourselves when we make the effort to be courteous and respectful. Likewise we do teach people how to treat us. If we treat others with disregard, we can expect others to treat us with respect. Despite the implications of appearing old fashioned, everyone likes to hear "please" and "thank you".