Call me old-fashioned, but I am a stickler for manners. I’m firmly of the belief that manners aren’t a nice thing to have, but a non-negotiable necessity. I spend a lot of time using manners myself and insisting that my children use manners every single day. At the most basic level, I believe that saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are vital, no matter who you are talking to.
Manners should be just more than please and thank you. Manners are responding appropriately when you are given a gift. I always sent thank you notes; now I tend to send thank you emails. Good manners mean not saying “oh I’ve already got one of those” on receipt of a gift; they mean making your bed or asking if you should strip the sheets when you stay at someone’s house ; they mean thanking the maker of a meal for their effort and offering to help with the clean up; good manners mean taking your glass or plate to the kitchen bench when you are at someone else’s house and finding a time which suits them for you to shower in the morning.
At home, and with those you are most intimately familiar with, you should always use good manners. Those small basic courtesies of life can make all the difference to your partner’s day, your teenager’s mood, or the way in which your requests are received by those living in your home. I think we often develop a kind of communication shorthand with our nearest and dearest and sometimes this means we forget to use manners with them. Best of all, by using manners at home, you are modelling the manners and behaviour you want your children to display both in and outside the home.
So my attitude is that YES, manners are still necessary. Vital even. What are the rules on manners at your house and how do you get the message across that they’re to be used?