Emily Post's The Gift of Good Manners: A Parent's Guide to Raising Respectful, Kind, Considerate Children

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From America's trusted name in etiquette, this comprehensive guide explains step by step how to teach manners to children from toddlerhood through the teen years — the first such Emily Post guide in more than half a century. Etiquette authority Peggy Post and noted educator Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D., show parents, grandparents, and other caregivers how to teach children manners at every age and for every situation at home, at school, and with friends.

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Overview

From America's trusted name in etiquette, this comprehensive guide explains step by step how to teach manners to children from toddlerhood through the teen years — the first such Emily Post guide in more than half a century. Etiquette authority Peggy Post and noted educator Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D., show parents, grandparents, and other caregivers how to teach children manners at every age and for every situation at home, at school, and with friends.

Uniquely structured by the stages of children's development, The Gift of Good Manners helps parents set age-appropriate, realistic goals as their child's world expands from crib and home to school, neighborhood, and community. Each section contains chapters on developing and demonstrating morals and ethics through specific actions; respecting oneself and others; and the essentials of spoken and written communication. Practical examples abound on everyday manners in every situation from the dinner table to restaurant dining; classroom behavior to sleepovers; and first thank-you notes to first dates and first job interviews. Special sections address parents' most asked questions; health and safety issues; toys, games, and activities; and special thoughts for grandparents.

The Posts also advise on sticky situations that today's families often face: easy ways for busy parents to teach and model mannerly behavior; navigating the social politics of birthday parties, carpools, and school events; supervising teen parties; negotiating use of the phones; and much more.

Filled with the practical examples and resourceful advice that has made the Emily Post name the etiquette choice of millions, The Gift of Good Manners proves that now, more than ever, manners are fundamental to success in life and are one of the greatest gifts parents can give.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Teaching kids manners in our informal age is a tough, risky business, but the Emily Post dynasty (now in its third generation) has been grappling with such difficult problems for decades. This parent's guide offers trustworthy and realistic advice about teaching your kids to act responsibly and ethically; to behave well in public; to communicate clearly and courteously; and, not least important, to feel comfortable in social situations.
Washington Times
“Offers mannerly goals for children from babyhood to that moment when parent and child nod farewell at the college dormitory.”
Publishers Weekly
"The mechanics of good manners can be learned at any age, but when the learning process begins in childhood, mannerly behavior eventually becomes natural." These words set the tone of the latest guide to come from the Post family. Coauthored by Peggy Post (Everyday Etiquette) and Senning, codirector of the Emily Post Institute, this informative manual on teaching social skills to children is based on taking advantage of each development stage. A baby or a toddler is very limited in his or her ability to understand the fine points of mannerly behavior but, as the authors point out, babies learn first through imitation. Parents or caregivers who consistently demonstrate kind and respectful treatment of others will be used as positive role models by the children in their care. The authors fully describe each stage of growth and then outline all aspects of etiquette that should be taught during this period. From such trivial concerns as how to eat soup properly to important issues such as bullying and cheating, Post and Senning provide detailed guidance on methods of instructing children in acceptable behavior. Whatever the age of the child, they suggest positive reinforcement rather than punishment and, in fact, are opposed to any corporal punishment. During the difficult adolescent years, Post and Senning recommend keeping communication lines open, setting clear rules and expectations, and praising rather than criticizing teens. This is an excellent source of ideas and inspiration for raising children to be considerate adults. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Every child wants to be well liked, and every parent wants children who can get along well in the school, social, and work arenas. The secret to this is good manners, and Post, the author of ten etiquette books, and Senning, codirector of the Emily Post Institute, emphasize that these do not simply materialize on their own. Like proper hygiene, good manners must be instilled from the beginning, until they become habit. This book guides the reader through the development of babies, children, and teens, explaining what they are capable of and when. Teaching a toddler to say "please" and "thank you" evolves into the preschooler's "excuse me," and the child's "I'm sorry," right up to the teen's college application letter. The confidence that accompanies social skills will stand adults in good stead throughout their lives. Not since Miss Manners (Judith Martin) gave us her Guide to Rearing Perfect Children has this topic been so well done. Highly recommended. Susan B. Hagloch, Tuscarawas Cty. P.L., New Philadelphia, OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060185497
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Peggy Post, Emily Post’s great-granddaughter-in-law, is a director of The Emily Post Institute and the author of more than a dozen books. Peggy writes a monthly column in Good Housekeeping and an online wedding etiquette column for the New York Times.

Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D., codirector of The Emily Post Institute, Inc., developed a training program for etiquette educators and conducts children's etiquette workshops across the U.S. and overseas. Cindy is the coauthor of all the Emily Post children's books, with her sister-in-law, Peggy Post.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Building the Foundations

At some point -- usually between six and twelve weeks -- your baby will look at you and smile. As days and weeks go by, she will learn to greet you with expressions of both recognition and pleasure. These are among her earliest forays into the parent-child relationship. She is learning to trust you and to depend on your presence in her life. As she wakes to the world, her trust in you forms the bedrock for all her experiences to come.

Over her first twelve months, your baby will acquire an astonishing array of physical and mental skills, progressing from an almost totally reactive being who responds instinctively to physical stimuli (an empty tummy, a wet diaper, a sudden noise) to one who makes deliberate choices. She will begin to master her body and start to manipulate her environment -- grasping objects she wants, for example. She will learn to distinguish her primary caregivers and cling to them. Around five or six months, she will become delightfully sociable. She will begin to sense herself as a separate being and learn to recognize her name. She will be driven to explore by her limitless curiosity. From birth to twelve months, a baby is an incredibly busy little person.

You're the Model

You will not actively teach the principles or guidelines of etiquette for several years to come. But from the day she is born, you will be helping your child build her foundations for life. As babies develop, they increasingly learn through imitation. What you do will provide the example of how people act and interact. By your example and with the introduction of a few limits inthe second half of your child's first year, you begin to establish patterns that will eventually translate into appropriate manners, conduct, and concern for the well-being of others.

By meeting your baby's physical and safety needs and giving her the fullness of your affection and attention, you are establishing trust and love -- the two great pillars of teaching and learning. Whatever the form of your nuclear family -- two parents, single parent, grandparents or other guardian as principal caregiver, adoptive or blended family -- you are the central figure in your infant's life and will be for many years. With your love and attention now, your child will be well on her way to becoming a loving, attentive, and considerate member of the human race.

Visits and Gifts

Because hospital stays after an uncomplicated birth are as short as a day or two, it's fairly easy to put off visitors until you return home. The problem with the early homecoming is that a postpartum mother often feels far from well yet, and both mother and father are coping with their new duties. Hopefully, family and friends will be both sensible and sensitive.

Most people will phone before coming to visit. If you are not up to receiving guests, you can explain and suggest alternative days and times. If people drop by unexpectedly, you can't turn them away, but you can set some limits. ("Gosh, it Is good to see you. We Just got the baby to sleep about twenty minutes ago. Let's visit for a while, but if she doesn't wake before you leave, we can plan another time." Your friend will get your message.)

Young Visitors

Young children or any child who is ill should not visit a home with a newborn. If friends call in advance, you can head off a problem. ("We'd love to have little Charlie over, too, but our pediatrician insists that the baby shouldn't be around other children for a few weeks yet. Tell Charlie that we'll miss him this time.") If parents with young children show up unannounced, your best tactic is to put your baby in her room or yours immediately. Your uninvited guests may think you're being overly protective, but as long as you are polite, they will have no reason to complain.


About Baby Showers

Baby showers are usually given before a birth but may be given after your baby arrives. Co-workers, for example, may host a shower after new parents (dads as well as moms) return to the job. Showers for adopting parents can be held before or after the legal process is completed. Invitations to a shower never include gift suggestions. (A gift -- any gift -- is always the choice of the giver.) You can provide the hostess or host with a list of items you may need so that she can advise anyone who asks for a gift recommendation. If you provide a list, be conscious of the financial capabilities of the guests. Send a thank-you note to anyone who gave a gift but did not attend, including those who contributed to a group gift.

A grandparents shower is hosted for new grandparents by their friends. Although gifts are given to the grandparent for the new grandchild, it is the parents' responsibility to write thank-you notes.


Deflecting Visits

A grandparent or other close adult may be able to run interference and deflect inconvenient visits. Also, let your home phone answering machine take calls during your busiest times, and you won't be caught by surprise when someone asks to drop by. You should return the calls as promptly as possible, but the answering machine gives you time to collect your thoughts and avoid a flustered response. Requests to visit will probably ease up after a few weeks. Your baby's christening, brit or brit bat, or other observance will satisfy most people's desire to see the baby and congratulate you in person.

Thank-You's

When you feel capable, use your spare time to complete thank-you notes and calls. While you should respond to gift givers as soon you can, people are generally understanding about short delays, especially in the weeks just before and after a baby's birth. But for gifts sent by mail or delivery service, phone the givers as soon as possible to let them know that their presents have arrived. (E-mail will work if you know that the person will understand the casual nature of your message.) Then follow up with a thank-you note.

Writing thank-you notes can be done by both parents. If you have older children, it will be a good lesson for them to see you thanking the people who have been so kind to the new baby.

Emily Post's The Gift of Good Manners. Copyright © by Peggy Post. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Foreword xiii
Introduction xvii
Part 1 Waking to the World: Birth to Twelve Months
Chapter 1 Building the Foundations 3
You're the Model
Visits and Gifts
The Building Blocks
Actions Beget Reactions
Setting Limits
A Safe and Warm Environment
Chapter 2 First Lessons in Respect 16
Siblings as Rivals
Other Adults
Playgroups and Other Children
Competitive Parenting
Child-Care Etiquette Issues
Respecting Property
Chapter 3 The Budding Communicator 30
How Babies Communicate
Talking to Your Baby
The Reading Habit
Interactive Games and Play
Chapter 4 At the Table 38
First Meals
Mealtime Routines and Rituals
Together at the Table
Chapter 5 In the Larger World 42
Private Occasions
In Public Places
Religious and Other Special Observances
In the Car
Breast-Feeding in Public
For Every Age: Children with Special Needs 54
Part 2 Learning the Basics: One to Three Years
Chapter 6 Establishing Your Values 61
Clarifying Your Values
Teaching Right from Wrong
Encouraging Empathy
The Real Meaning of Discipline
Discipline That Works
Managing Tantrums
Early Decision Making
Chapter 7 Respecting Others 74
Welcoming a New Baby
Toddlers and Older Siblings
Playing with Peers
Dealing with Adults
Respect for Property
Choosing Toys and Activities
Tasks for Toddlers
Protecting the Property of Others
Chapter 8 Building Communication Skills 93
Encouraging Language Learning
Vocal Control
Telephone Manners
First Thank-You Notes
Chapter 9 Toddler Table Manners 105
First Steps
Behavior at the Table
Setting the Family Table
Chapter 10 Going Out and About 112
Car Travel
Private Occasions
Who's Minding the Child?
About Birthday Parties
Out in Public
Tantrums in Public
Stranger Danger
For Every Age: New Family Etiquette Issues 125
Part 3 The Age of Discovery: Three Through Five Years
Chapter 11 Learning About Values 131
Four Vital Steps
Empathy and Fairness
Honesty and Reality
Chapter 12 Promoting Respect 140
Sibling Relations
Playing with Peers
Cooperating with Adults
Coping with Peer Problems
Discovering Diversity
Introducing Good Sportsmanship
About Privacy
Taking Care of Property
Encouraging Thriftiness
Chapter 13 The Expanding World of Language 160
Conversing with Your Child
The Basic Manners of Talk
Reinforcing the "Magic Words"
Meeting-and-Greeting Manners
Unsavory Talk
Teaching Telephone Manners
Communicating in Writing
Chapter 14 Teaching Mealtime Manners 173
Mealtime Basics
Respecting Food Preferences
Chapter 15 Out-and-About Behavior 179
Public Places and Activities
Disciplining in Public
Mobile Manners
Party Manners
For Every Age: Working It Out, Parent-to-Parent 188
Part 4 The Socialization Years: Six Through Ten Years
Chapter 16 Instilling Values and Ethics 193
Kindness in Action
Introducing Common Sense
New Issues in Honesty
If a Child Steals
Concerning Cheating
Borrowing and Trading
The Value of Tradition
Chapter 17 The Importance of Respect 204
The Privacy Question
The New World of School
A Parent's Responsibilities
Respect for All School Personnel
The Power of Peers
Social Essentials
Dealing with Bullying
Teaching Joining-In Skills
Encouraging Good Sportsmanship
Chapter 18 Oral and Written Communication 229
More "Magic Words"
The Art of Conversation
Why Language Matters
Undesirable Talk
On the Telephone
Putting It in Writing
Chapter 19 Improving Table Manners 247
Fine-Tuning Basic Skills
Dining Out
Chapter 20 Learning About the World 255
Going Solo
At Parties
First Sleepovers
Other Out-and-About Occasions
For Every Age: The Over-Programmed Child 267
Part 5 The Bumpy Years: Eleven Through Fourteen Years
Chapter 21 Moral and Ethical Values 271
Change for Everyone
New Ways to Discipline
Privacy Issues
Chapter 22 Respect for Self and Others 282
The Changing Child
The Influence of Peers
Hygiene and Grooming
Respect Within the Family
Teen Chores
Caring About Others
Chapter 23 Skillful Communication 297
Your Guiding Hand
Invitations and Replies
Thank-You Notes
Polite Conversation
Introductions and Greetings
On the Phone
Chapter 24 Dining Manners 319
The Proper Setting
A Few Food Manners
Table Traumas
Chapter 25 Out on Their Own 329
Transportation Concerns
At School
Party Time
Rituals and Celebrations
Adolescents in Groups
Interaction with Peers
Summertime Activities
Joining the Workforce
For Every Age: School Problems 346
Part 6 On the Threshold: Fifteen Through Eighteen Years
Chapter 26 Moral and Ethical Choices 351
Trusting Your Teen
Keeping Communication Open
Freedom Versus Discipline
The Value of Education
The Truth About Cheating
Chapter 27 Demonstrating Respect Every Day 362
The Art of Disagreement
Respect for Diversity
Respect for the Opposite Sex
Self-Image and Appearance
Privacy Considerations
Good Sports, Good Leaders
Chapter 28 The Power of Communication 374
Notes and Personal Letters
Writing Business Letters
High Schoolers and Speech
On the Phone
Speaking in Public
Chapter 29 The Etiquette of Entertaining 392
When Teens Are Hosts
Issuing Invitations
The Duties of Hosting
Being a Good Guest
Chapter 30 The Challenging World 406
Licensed to Drive
On the Job
The Benefits of Dating
Dating Etiquette for Teens
Very Special Occasions
Fine Points of Restaurant Dining
Concerning Tipping
For Every Age: Getting to College 433
Index 435
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