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

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

by Peggy Post, Cindy P Senning


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Manners, fundamental social skills for success in life, are among the greatest gifts parents can give. From self-respect and respect for others to knowing how to behave in public, this comprehensive, practical guide helps parents instill age-appropriate manners as their child’s world expands from toddlerhood through the teen years. This is a must-have resource for every family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060933470
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/02/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Emily Post's the Gift of Good Manners

A Parent's Guide to Raising Respectful, Kind, Considerate Children
By Peggy Post


Copyright © 2005 Peggy Post
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060933470

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 in the 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.


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.


Excerpted from Emily Post's the Gift of Good Manners by Peggy Post Copyright © 2005 by Peggy Post. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Part 1Waking to the World: Birth to Twelve Months
Chapter 1Building the Foundations3
You're the Model
Visits and Gifts
The Building Blocks
Actions Beget Reactions
Setting Limits
A Safe and Warm Environment
Chapter 2First Lessons in Respect16
Siblings as Rivals
Other Adults
Playgroups and Other Children
Competitive Parenting
Child-Care Etiquette Issues
Respecting Property
Chapter 3The Budding Communicator30
How Babies Communicate
Talking to Your Baby
The Reading Habit
Interactive Games and Play
Chapter 4At the Table38
First Meals
Mealtime Routines and Rituals
Together at the Table
Chapter 5In the Larger World42
Private Occasions
In Public Places
Religious and Other Special Observances
In the Car
Breast-Feeding in Public
For Every Age: Children with Special Needs54
Part 2Learning the Basics: One to Three Years
Chapter 6Establishing Your Values61
Clarifying Your Values
Teaching Right from Wrong
Encouraging Empathy
The Real Meaning of Discipline
Discipline That Works
Managing Tantrums
Early Decision Making
Chapter 7Respecting Others74
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 8Building Communication Skills93
Encouraging Language Learning
Vocal Control
Telephone Manners
First Thank-You Notes
Chapter 9Toddler Table Manners105
First Steps
Behavior at the Table
Setting the Family Table
Chapter 10Going Out and About112
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 Issues125
Part 3The Age of Discovery: Three Through Five Years
Chapter 11Learning About Values131
Four Vital Steps
Empathy and Fairness
Honesty and Reality
Chapter 12Promoting Respect140
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 13The Expanding World of Language160
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 14Teaching Mealtime Manners173
Mealtime Basics
Respecting Food Preferences
Chapter 15Out-and-About Behavior179
Public Places and Activities
Disciplining in Public
Mobile Manners
Party Manners
For Every Age: Working It Out, Parent-to-Parent188
Part 4The Socialization Years: Six Through Ten Years
Chapter 16Instilling Values and Ethics193
Kindness in Action
Introducing Common Sense
New Issues in Honesty
If a Child Steals
Concerning Cheating
Borrowing and Trading
The Value of Tradition
Chapter 17The Importance of Respect204
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 18Oral and Written Communication229
More "Magic Words"
The Art of Conversation
Why Language Matters
Undesirable Talk
On the Telephone
Putting It in Writing
Chapter 19Improving Table Manners247
Fine-Tuning Basic Skills
Dining Out
Chapter 20Learning About the World255
Going Solo
At Parties
First Sleepovers
Other Out-and-About Occasions
For Every Age: The Over-Programmed Child267
Part 5The Bumpy Years: Eleven Through Fourteen Years
Chapter 21Moral and Ethical Values271
Change for Everyone
New Ways to Discipline
Privacy Issues
Chapter 22Respect for Self and Others282
The Changing Child
The Influence of Peers
Hygiene and Grooming
Respect Within the Family
Teen Chores
Caring About Others
Chapter 23Skillful Communication297
Your Guiding Hand
Invitations and Replies
Thank-You Notes
Polite Conversation
Introductions and Greetings
On the Phone
Chapter 24Dining Manners319
The Proper Setting
A Few Food Manners
Table Traumas
Chapter 25Out on Their Own329
Transportation Concerns
At School
Party Time
Rituals and Celebrations
Adolescents in Groups
Interaction with Peers
Summertime Activities
Joining the Workforce
For Every Age: School Problems346
Part 6On the Threshold: Fifteen Through Eighteen Years
Chapter 26Moral and Ethical Choices351
Trusting Your Teen
Keeping Communication Open
Freedom Versus Discipline
The Value of Education
The Truth About Cheating
Chapter 27Demonstrating Respect Every Day362
The Art of Disagreement
Respect for Diversity
Respect for the Opposite Sex
Self-Image and Appearance
Privacy Considerations
Good Sports, Good Leaders
Chapter 28The Power of Communication374
Notes and Personal Letters
Writing Business Letters
High Schoolers and Speech
On the Phone
Speaking in Public
Chapter 29The Etiquette of Entertaining392
When Teens Are Hosts
Issuing Invitations
The Duties of Hosting
Being a Good Guest
Chapter 30The Challenging World406
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 College433

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Sally Lee

“This book offers a wealth of warm, realistic advice for raising kids who are respecful, caring, and generous.”

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