Seven Tips for Raising Gentleman

Hello! It’s Erika here from Yellow Pear. I have four boys, and I’m constantly working on helping them turn into well-rounded, respectful gentleman. It can seem daunting when they are always wrestling, teasing, being goofy etc. but my husband and I are determined.  I also have one girl and we are equally invested in her turning out to be a well-rounded, respectful lady, but I will focus more on the boys this time.  We have come up with seven tips for teaching good manners for kids.

How to teach good manners for kids via @PagingSupermom

How to Raise a Gentleman and teaching good manners for kids via @PagingSupermom

Be an Example

I think the most important way to teach good manners, kindness and respect, is by example. Notice when someone needs help and point out situations of need to the kids.  Then most importantly show how to help. My husband gives up his chair for women, holds the car door for me, takes me on dates and always treats me like a lady.  I try to notice when someone at the store needs an extra hand, a door held open or other such situations and involve the boys in helping.

Use Ordinary Situations

Using ordinary situations is my favorite way to teach good manners, chivalry and make my boys think.  They don’t really know they are in a teaching moment, and it’s so much more impressive to see something play out in real life.  For example, if a young mother is struggling to keep her screaming children together while shopping, we talk about how we could help (and then do so if the opportunity arises).  We also discuss how she must be feeling overwhelmed, hopefully teaching empathy and some skills in noticing others and thinking about how they must be feeling.  These types of learning moments generally work best in one on one situations when my husband or I are out with just one of the boys at a time. It also gives us a chance to listen to them and hear their thoughts and feelings more effectively.

Communicate Expectations

I firmly believe that communication solves most problems, particularly when it comes to teaching good manners for kids. We’re not telepathically hoping they will get the message of how we expect them to behave, but we have talked about it previously and agreed upon a certain action.  I’ve also found that if my boys understand the reasoning behind how we want them to act, then they seem more likely to follow through.  Also, clearly communicating our expectations to them allows them know exactly what we want from them, and keeps us all on the same page (or at least a little closer to the same page).

I tell them stories of how much it means to me when someone has noticed a problem I am having and steps in to help. My husband talks to them about treating women with respect.  I talk to them about humor and how it can be used effectively.  We have discussed the difference between bathroom/foul humor and humor that takes a little more wit and thought.  We talk ahead of time about how to act at friend’s homes. I think we all feel more secure knowing what the expectations are.

Seven Tips for Raising a Gentleman and teaching good manners for kids via @PagingSupermom 2b

Teach Good Manners for Kids

Teaching good manners for kids is ongoing and seems ridiculously hard at times, but we are persevering!  We have a few table rules: keep elbows off the table; chew with your mouth closed; sit on your chair correctly; ask to be excused; ask politely for food to be passed; no bathroom jokes. We are always working on polite table conversation (ie. listening to someone’s comments and waiting for your turn to talk). We also talk about gratitude, looking people in the eye, shaking hands, having a good attitude and responding to questions without mumbling.

Work Hard

We want our sons to know how to work and to work hard.  We have involved them in a variety of work from car repair, to gardening, to helping their grandpa on his farm. Everyday life provides plenty of opportunities too like laundry and housework. My kids are required to help clean the kitchen after meals, clean their rooms, make beds and do chores. We don’t want to send them out into the world unable to take care of themselves and their future families.  They do not usually work willingly — maybe someday — for now there are always complaints and whining.  We try to make work fun and make plenty of time for outings and fun activities as well.

Seven Tips for teaching good manners for kids via @PagingSupermom 2b

Dress the Part

I want my boys to be boys — they can jump and run and rough house with the rest of them. However there is also a time to clean up, comb those unruly locks, dress nice, and put on their best behavior. Teaching good grooming, hygiene, when to calm down and listen is also very important in raising a gentleman. It’s helpful to learn that how you dress is a good indicator of how you should act at a certain event. (ie. best dress means best behavior.) My boys do not always like dressing a certain way, but the more we do it, the better it gets.

Acknowledge Good Behavior

Acknowledging and praising good behavior is HUGE! Everyone loves to feel appreciated and to know that someone noticed.

I remember very vividly walking into Sams Club with all four boys.  I was holding the baby and watching the others jump/twirl/walk ahead of me, making sure no one got run over.  We quickly caught up to an older lady in a motorized wheel chair.  She was having trouble with her keys and purse and then dropped her keys. She proceeded to try and figure out how to reach them.  My middle son was closest and quick as a wink, he ran ahead, picked up the keys and handed them to her.  My heart swelled!  I knew he had to really be paying attention to see the problem unfold.

Later, I took him aside and told him that I had seen what he did and how proud I was of him. I told him I was proud of what a gentleman he was. He practically glowed!

My boys are far from perfect, and we do not have all the answers on raising gentleman. These are just a few of the things that are working for us, and most of all, we’re not giving up!

If you  have more ideas on how to teach good manners for kids, please share them in the comments because we’d love to hear them.

Seven Tips for Raising a Gentleman and teaching good manners for kids via @PagingSupermom

11 thoughts on “Seven Tips for Raising Gentleman”

  1. I love these tips. One thing I like to do is create opportunities for my son to practice what he’s learned- whether he grabs them or not is up to him but I’m noticing as time goes on he’s starting to connect the teaching with practical application. I would really love to know how you teach manners though because I feel like it’s never ending!
    Michelle
    Local Shoppe

  2. What beautiful boys!
    My brother-in-law always says, “Ladies first” as he holds a door open. His sons mimic his behavior (even with their sister).

  3. Michelle… as a mother of a 36 yr old son and sister of 3 brothers… i did what my mom did. she taught table manners at the table… i don’t remember her being as particular at breakfast or lunch [except on sunday lunch] but always at supper. no elbows on the table, don’t talk w/ your mouth full or chew with your mouth open… no shouting/reaching across the table. sometimes we’d have a special dinner and she’d use the “good dishes” and she’d talk to us about which fork for what, napkins in your lap. she’d make it seem special and we didn’t want to break mama’s china so we were careful! always put your dishes in the sink and help clear the table. stuff like that. she’d teach other things in the den like no pillow throwing, feet off the furniture, no throwing balls in the house. bathroom etiquette was hang up your towels/wash cloth .. hang the hand towel back up neatly. there were other rules when company came – she taught us not to monopolize the adult conversation – something kids need to learn these days. there is a time and a place and it also depends on the ages of your guests. she also taught us not to touch other peoples things at their house in their living room. older people are not always used to the casual-ness of today’s kids/parents. my mom was not a yeller. she didn’t repeat herself much either. but she wasn’t mean. she also taught us to respect daddy. i don’t know about other mom’s, but she probably thought she failed… as did i with my son… because you feel like they aren’t getting it. but she didn’t, my brothers are gentlemen and my son turned into such a clean freak, he has great manners and he’s passing the lessons to my grandson who is 11. Don’t give up… remember you’re teaching your grandchildren’s daddy!

  4. Very informative blog. I feel good parenting is very important in raising proper gentlemen. Great work.
    I must say, your boys are really beautiful :)

  5. Such great tips and parenting advice from another mom to hear! I have 4 boys as well(no girls just me lol) and it can be overwhelming some days but over the years of them growing and me growing as well, has made realize so much. Manners is a big deal in our family as well and I find that always complimenting them when they do a great thing, means so much coming from their parents.(Makes worlds of a difference) Always saying “Thank You” for anything given to them as well as “Bless You” for a sneeze warms my heart, or “excuse me” when you burp! Manners starts with parents teaching as soon as they start talking. Saying “Yes Ma’am,Yes Sir” and “No Ma’am,No Sir” is the best gift Ever to hear your kids say to their elders. Even your welcome when someone says thank you, it’s the small things in life you teach your children that make a huge impact!

  6. Great tips! Thanks for such a lovely post. Parenting and teaching of manners/values requires both parents to be on the consistent in their approach, and certainly takes time and effort. Leading by example is so important. We may not realize it but our kids are constantly learning from our everyday actions. To teach them to be a gentleman, we should first treat them as a young gentleman so that we provide them the opportunities and environment to act the part.

  7. Erika, this was a wonderful post! I’m excited to start following you! I’m working on a website that I’m pretty confident would fit your parenting style! I would love to exchange guests posts/social media shares if you are interested! Send me a note! – Joanna H

  8. Thank you Erika for this posts….but i would like you to tell me how i can teach children not to test alcohol.
    Thanks.

  9. This post had some great tips. I have 2 year old twins boys and this definitely spoke to me.

  10. As the mother of three boys I am somewhat concerned about my boys’ manners, but more so about how they treat women and other people. You have some very good tips here. I’m going to keep at it and not give up as well.

  11. Thanks for sharing!
    Is a really helpfull list. as a mother of two boysand being raised by my own it is difficult for me to know what exactly teach to them about manners and how to be a llettle gentelman but this helps a lot.

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