The Important Manners Teens Often Forget

Teach your teen the most important manners.
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Teenagers aren’t usually known for their etiquette. They stare at their cellphones during dinner, interrupt conversations and, occasionally, throw out a swear word (just because they can).

When an adult runs across an exceptionally polite teen, it’s like a diamond in the rough. Remembering these manners can help your teen go a long way, whether it’s when he’s trying to get his first job, score an internship or charm a new girlfriend’s parents.

When you find your teen slacking on his manners, nudge him with a reminder. However, don’t do so in public, especially if his friends are around. Instead, have a short conversation later at home--he’ll get the message and, hopefully, mind his manners the next time around.

Cellphone Etiquette

When it comes to teen manners, bad cellphone habits are a biggie--and it’s a problem that your parents probably didn’t have to put up with. Let your teen know that you expect the phone to be put away at appropriate times, such as during dinner or when company is visiting.

Also, make it clear that the phone needs to be silenced or turned off when at school or in a quiet place, such as a library or movie theatre. Teach your teen how to appropriately answer a call and excuse himself to talk privately when it’s appropriate to do so.

Conversational Manners

Teens might not quite know yet how to enter a conversation with another adult, so it’s your job to teach her.

Some key points that your teen should remember:

  • When you’re introduced to someone new, offer a firm handshake.
  • Don’t interrupt when someone else is speaking (this might be a real issue when you’re having a conversation with another adult!)
  • Steer clear of controversial topics, within reason. Your teen probably isn’t into chatting about politics and religion, but it’s a good lesson to learn early.
  • Let the other person speak. A conversation isn’t a chance to deliver a monologue.

Polite Language

You probably wouldn’t be shocked to hear your teen throw out a cuss word once or twice. However, your teen should remember that polite manners dictate refraining from vulgar language in public situations.

Whether you allow curse words in your private home--that’s entirely up to you and your house rules. Just make sure your teen understands impolite language isn’t likely to serve him well in most other settings.

Visiting Others’ Homes

Even if your household isn’t strict about manners, other people might feel differently. Teach your teen to mind general manners when visiting someone else’s home, such as:

  • Take off your shoes when entering someone else’s house (if no one else is wearing them)
  • Bring your dishes into the kitchen after a meal
  • Stay quiet if sleeping over so they don’t wake up other family members
  • Wait to be offered food and drink, rather than helping themselves.

Make Manners an Ongoing Discussion

If your teen’s manners aren’t the best at home, don’t panic. Most teens behave much more polite in general society than they do at home. And it’s likely you can relate to that. Most people are lot more relaxed in the comfort of their own homes.

Let’s face it, your teenager probably won’t feel as strongly about using proper manners as you do. Provide gentle reminders on an ongoing basis.

Even more importantly, be a good role model. Show your teen how to behave politely. Whether you encounter a less than cordial customer service representative, or you are invited to a neighborhood gathering, your teen will observe your interactions closely.

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