Are You Helping Your Child To Succeed?

Informal place settingThe other day my husband, Eric, and I grabbed a fast dinner at Whole Foods Market. We love the variety of options and how easy it is to get a quick meal.

As I was enjoying my chicken mole I noticed a very nicely dressed family sit down near us with their dinner. They must have been at a formal event because they definitely stood out amongst the rest of the jeans and t-shirt crowd. The family was a mom, dad and their son, who looked to be about 11 or 12. I had to laugh because the boy had chosen a sensible dinner of salmon but no vegetables. I surmised that the parents had given up fighting him to eat his veggies because they didn’t seem to be bothered by his choice.

Anyway, I noticed as he cut his salmon that he was very awkward using his knife and fork. He didn’t seem to really know how to hold them to cut the fish. At one point I noticed the mom look at her son cutting his fish and she didn’t say anything. Either she didn’t know better or she had given up teaching him just as she had with the vegetables.

I realized that young man could benefit from a dining etiquette class. He seemed like a polite boy but I imagined him in 10 or so years sitting down to an interview over a meal and losing the job because he didn’t know how to properly use his utensils.

Families are so busy these days. It can be rare for the whole family to sit down together at the dinner table. Parents may be distracted and kids are often texting during dinner. A friend shared that even though they don’t allow texting at the dinner table, he caught his son texting with his hand in his pocket during dinner. With so many distractions and so little quality family time, where are kids learning their table manners? Actually, any manners?

Technology has changed how we relate to each other. Many children are growing up not knowing how to read body language because they communicate so much through digital devices. Manners are not a nice to have. They are a necessity if parents want their children to succeed socially and in the professional world.

I had a concerned mom call me recently because her teen daughters don’t have good table manners. She admitted she didn’t always reinforce table manners and regrets they have learned some bad habits. She is quite worried they will struggle socially and professionally. So, we booked an hour and half dining etiquette lunch where my client and her two daughters will learn table manners. Smart mom!

If you’re a parent are you teaching your children manners? It can be hard work having to be the bad guy. I know I hated being taught table manners when I was a child, but I thank my parents today for sticking with it.

I will be teaching a children’s etiquette class in the late summer or early fall. Make sure you give your children every advantage to succeed socially and professionally.

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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