Teaching Etiquette During Developmental Stages of Childhood

The last two weeks Awesome Etiquette (a podcast I highly recommend) had a post script segment by Cindy Post Senning on six developmental stages of childhood and what you can expect regarding teaching etiquette to them.  These postscripts are a great listen and very informational. The first three stages start around the 41-minute mark of episode 126, and the last three stages start around the 38-minute mark.

Episode 126


Episode 127



Helping Your Child With Their Fears


Everyone in life will experience fears, but it get be difficult when our children start becoming afraid of things in the world. It starts off small, like a loud noise or a room filled with people, to later in life when they start fearing rejection or being home alone. Even as adults, we have fears from death to budget concerns.

Fear is just a part of life, but our children don’t know that yet. And telling them it’s normal can be very discouraging to hear.

Fear begins when our imaginations start developing. That coat in the closet can easily become a person. That shadow on the wall could be a monster. Imagination plays a big role in fear in our children.

But as the child develops, fear also happens through observations from their parents. A parent being uncomfortable in an environment will cause the child to be afraid. One time, we were on a trip away from home with the youth and a storm was coming. As the adult leaders, we were well prepared and knew the dangers. We were calm and collective, but a parent back home wasn’t and called their child. Calling their child in panic, caused their child, who was hundreds of miles away, to get fearful of a storm that we knew was coming.

As parents, we can do a couple of things to help with your child’s fear.

First, we need to stay calm and confident. I know it can be hard to be calm especially if you awoken every night. And sometimes we don’t have confidence because we don’t have the right solution to fix their problems. But what you can do, is walk and talk with them about their fears and show them that there is nothing to be afraid of. Say that with sincerity and confidence will come out.

Second, reward bravery. Do not worry if the accomplishment is small or big, it is an accomplishment. Reward them with something that fitting for the task. For example, if they are afraid of the water, and they decide to take on their fear. Reward them with a trip to their favorite dinner spot.

Finally, relieve your child’s fear by allowing them to tell you what will comfort them, even if it sounds dumb. Let them lock the door or window, if they are afraid of someone coming. Give them a night light, if the dark is causing problems. Let them tell you what will make them feel safe and if it’s reasonable let it happen. Obviously there are some realistic boundaries, and if something comes up that is unrealistic, give them a better option.

There is no doubt about that life is scary, and there are realistic fears in this world. We cannot protect or keep every fear away from children, but we can help them know that there is comfort, and there is peace in this world as well.

What kind of tips do you have with dealing with fears? If it is constructive, let me know if the comments below.

Photo Credit: Medo / Fear by xaimex via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Choose Your Own Adventure


Is the sound that came from my youngest son tennis racket as the ball shot into the backyard. Instead of hitting the tennis ball in the middle, the ball hit the tip of the racket that caused the ball to fly off in the wrong direction.

When this happens, the boys take turns in retrieving the wayward balls. I personally this is not accidental but intentional. I could give them a tennis racket the size of a kiddie pool and they could find a way to miss the middle of the racket, so the tennis ball would fly off in the backyard.

The oldest jumped to retrieve the ball, so the game that somewhat resembles tennis, can be resumed. All he had to do was to open the gate, grab the ball, and come back. Such a simple thing to accomplish.

But instead of opening the gate, he decides to climb the gate?

How counterproductive?
How illogical?
How adventurous!

What should have been a simple, and boring task, he took as a time to be adventurous. Instead of doing the logical and normal thing to do, he used his creativity to make the mundane more exciting.

As an adult, I live life in logical and normal side. I do not see normal things in my life as an adventure, but more like a task that needs to be done. Don’t get me wrong, I am proponent in efficiency but I might enjoy life more if adventure had a bigger role.
Did my son accomplish the goal of retrieving the tennis ball? Yes and he had a great time in the process.

Comprehended Rules

All families have a ruling system. Some rules are spoken and some unspoken. Some are determined in advance while others are on the fly.

Having rules is one thing, but why are those rules there? Are they based on safety? Are they based on religion? Are they based on tradition? Rules are great, but rules can easily become legalistic and authoritarian. Those two things are not good in a household. They create negative consequences in children toward their parents. Children can be afraid of their parents. They could hate their parents. Legalism and authoritarian need to absent in everyone’s household.

What can curb rules from being those two things, since rules are necessary in every household? The best way is to make sure children know why rules exist in their heads, but also in their hearts. They need to comprehend fully why those rules exist and why they have value. It is not enough for them to know the existence of those rules, but to know why they exist.

Rules that stem from the child’s safety helps teach children that parents want to keep their children safe. Rules that stem from religion help children understand why those rules are important to the family’s faith. Rules that stem from tradition help children understand the value of the past and why certain things are important to their individual family.

If rules exist only to control a child, then those rules need to be evaluated and possibly discarded. Parenting isn’t about controlling a child to adulthood, but about building a child to adulthood.

Explaining to your child, the “why’s” helps them understand more clearly your love for them.