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July 11, 2006


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I'm sure it's been said already but I haven't the time tonight to read all the comments...

Kids learn by example. Model it at home. Make sure anyone who spends time with the Peanut says please and thank you whenever possible. Remind her when she asks for anything to say please and when she gets it, to say thank you. We've gotten to the point that Munchkin says, "Thank you driver" when we get off the streetcar.

Aside from bad grammar, bad manners are one of my absolute pet peeves so I'm doing my best to bring manners back to Canada, one Munchkin at a time!


Okay, I have no kids yada yada yada BUT! I have *seen* children and am familiar with their ways.

1) My co-worker teaches her kids to call everyone Miss and Mr. To her kids I am Miss Samantha and I just think that's the coolest. Without ramming it down their throats, they still have to slow down and respect their elders (and let's not talk about me being an elder at 27. Moving on. . .)
2) I am an only child and have been raised by mom mom since I was three. She always spoke to me as an adult, not like a kid. I really think this helped me because she was showing me respect while being polite. I am a very considerate person to this day (no really!) and I think in addition to the Please Thank You Excuse Me stuff, that was a major impact as well. Granted I have been swearing like a sailor since I was in second grade (no joke. but just around my friends--no adults please. i couldn't even say the words 'fart' or 'crap' around my mom until i got married) but that's besided the point. You're leading by example and after that it's up to her.

Cheers to you both for caring though. Rude kids make me want to peel my eyeballs out.

samantha campen

Okay so I meant 'my mom' and not 'mom mom'. Just wanted to clarify cuz that sounded weird.


I haven't read the 53 comments before this one, so forgive me if I repeat... however, I don't think 21 months is too young... at this point it is just a mimic-thing but she will learn that "thank you" follows up an action and "please" is before an action and by making it rote now, she will less likely to forget it later.


I've taught my little ones to say either yes please, or no thank you by literally holding their treats and snacks until they do so. If I'm gonna hand over the apple juice, I insist on politeness.

However, now I have to teach my 3 yr old daughter that begging "Oh-please oh-please" is not polite either! I just don't know where she gets her dramatic streak from ;-)



Okay, I can't even read all the comments, because there are just too many--sorry if I'm repeating.

First of all, I'm pretty sure that Ian McShane was named the Poet Laureate of Cursing for his role on Deadwood.

Secondly, I think this is definitely one of this ymmv things. The Bee (at nearly 7) still needs reminding to ask for things using the word 'please.' The Potato (at nearly 3) is much better about it. Probably because he's heard us say over and over again to his sister, "now how would you ask for that nicely?"

When I was pregnant with the Bee, one of the things I worried about the most was that I, like you, am a constant curser. I haven't found it that hard to stop around the kids, I'm happy to say. There is nothing cute about a four-year-old dropping the f-bomb.


i curse like a sailor. and i fucking love manners. it's possible.


Repetition, repetition, repetition....The Punch and Judy show must go on daily, for what seams like EONS, until the message is delivered. I've already started with Vampbaby, and at 16 months I know I've got a long way to go!

And swearing does have it's place...God dammit!


You set my husband off saying "may I please have a cookie." Ada's asleep, but he just loves cookies.


That story is one for Metropolitan Diary. I love it!

While my kid isn't yet old enough to be taught manners, I'm all about etiquette and civility. I still hate that people wear jeans to the theater; call me old-fashioned. And I HATE holding open a door while seventeen people stream out and not one of them say thank you.


Isn't that what Sesame Street's for?

Her Bad Mother

I'm stil working out the details of his one myself, but so far we're working from the 'do as I do' model of 'modelling' good behaviour (to the extent that it matters for a 7 month old).

The 'say as I say' part is a little more tricky. I am also a fan of creative cursing, and am working hard to restrict it to my writing so that WonderBaby doesn't acquire a taste for the curse before she is skilled enough to appreciate its nuances and deploy it accordingly.

Foulmouthed Father

I take full responsibility for raising two very polite children. Unfortunately, I also take full blame for teaching them to curse. I wrongly figured that since my twins couldn't speak yet, they wouldn't be able to pick up the lingo. Imagine my surprise when one of my daughter's first words was "Shit!" She even used it in context!


How funny, my husband and I have been doing the same thing with the PLEASE and THANK YOU. My thoughts are that you lead by example. And with you and Boss Lady as parents she'll be fine.

Manners are more than Please and Thank You too. You can say please and thank you all you want and still be disrespectful with no manners.


Um, I'm really surprised that nobody has mentioned hooking electrodes up to her nipples and shocking her every time she doesn't say please or thank you. I mean, that's what Joan Crawford did, I heard, and it worked out pretty well.

Well I have no idea honestly here. Sometimes it gets so frustrating to listen to parents saying please and thank you to their kids, like "Johnny, please stop stabbing Sally with that knife. Thank you." Or "Melissa, please stop playing in traffic" but on the other hand I understand why parents sometimes do that, the whole modeling thing. So yeah. Obviously I'm a lot of help.


My son is four and I remind him 264 times a day to say please and thank you. Every once in a while (when he's really thankful?) he'll slip in a "fanks" without being stong armed into it. I think he's getting the point.

My son has some four-year-old friends who are twins. Every time we invite them to do something fun they will, without a doubt, thank me profusely for inviting them. Additionally, if they invite us to do something fun, they will thank us profusely for coming. I wish I knew the trick, but alas I do not.


"The William Strunk of Swearing"

"a bunch of autistic monkeys putting on the world's worst one-act play in history"

You are a funny, funny man!


"The William Strunk of Swearing"

"a bunch of autistic monkeys putting on the world's worst one-act play in history"

You are a funny, funny man!


"The William Strunk of Swearing"

"a bunch of autistic monkeys putting on the world's worst one-act play in history"

You are a funny, funny man!


We had a pre-school teacher who told me, "I just hate it when parents try to make 2 year olds say 'thank you'; it really doesn't mean anything to them." I thought about that for about 2 seconds and decided that this woman was an incompetent ninny who should not be teaching pre-school. We modeled "please thank you excuse me and may I" from the time our son was born. He is 5 now, and these things are normal parts of his vocabulary. He gets lots of kudos from older people for his politeness (though he can be a hellion in other ways). It might not seem like it's sticking, but it does.

Unfortunately, he nearly got kicked out of Kids Club on a cruise ship when he was 3 for saying, "dammit!" when their computer stopped working. That's the magic word Daddy uses to make the computer come back on, right before he reboots.

Epiphany Alone

IMO, repetition is very important.

I've been doing the Punch and Judy show for my oldest, 3 1/2 year old girl, since she was preverbal. She asked me about it the other day...

"Mom, why do you always say please when you ask me to do something?" Which was a prelude to a great conversation about why it's important to have good manners. We have also been discussing that it's polite to say "Hello" to people when we enter a room rather than to hide in Mom's skirt. We often talk during the day about finding situations to practice our good manners.

It's pretty much a game for her, but you can't argue with results :)

JJ Daddy-O

Glennia's story about her husband's magic tech support word and her kid's emulation of same reminds me of a story about one of me and Baby Momma's friends and her daughter. (WARNING: if you are drinking something while reading this, liquid may shoot out your nose)
Seems our friend C was pushing her 3 year old daughter around the supermarket in her cart and was trying to steer around a little old lady who was blocking the aisle when her little cherub burst out with "Jeez, lady, are you fuckin' retarded or what? Move it!"

Seems C had just used these words on some other motorist while driving over to the market that day.

Why can't kids pay attention like that to what we say ALL the time?

Andie D.

Great post!

I too am a stickler for manners, even if I do pepper my words with "sentence enhancers" now and then.

Love the Dennis Leary quote.

It sounds to me like you are doing the right thing. Modeling good manners. Make sure to give tons of positive reinforcement when Peanut uses hers.


So fucking great. I too, swear more than Martha Stewart. I am also obsessed with kindness and manners. I have never edited myself and I have actually told both of my children that they can swear all they want into their pillows in their bedrooms. They do say please and thank you. They have so far turned out to be polite and kind and decent (although they are only 6 and 8). I speak to them like the intelligent, dignified human beings that they are. I love to watch the look on their faces when adults dumb down their conversations for them. It is one of, "Are you fucking kidding me?"


So, some little Eddie Haskel pulls the wool over your eyes and you're already lining him up to marry Peanut?

What the fuck? I'll have JT saying Thank You and Please anytime you fucking want.

Okay, some I'm not William Strunk.

Liberal Banana

How did you post this 3 days ago and I didn't notice?!? Thanks for the laugh - the R. Kelly joke was awesome (and very, very creepy). Good luck with the toy-stealing phase, that's gotta be a fun one to work through!


I agree with the advocates of signing. My 20 month old won't (or can't?) speak his pleases and thank you's but a little prodding and he'll sign them happily (beware: while it is charming to see a fifteen month old sign "please," you will regret the same behavior in your older toddler as each and every piece of clothing suddenly shows up in the laundry with large, circular, greasy paw prints where frantic "pleases!" were signed on the stomach). A signing toddler also wow's strangers and gives the kid an aura of intelligence; it is between you and the kid that the signing is limited to ten words -- most of which involve procurement of sugar.

alice, uptown

I think the carrot and stick approach probably has a lot going for it, and if you just keep fucking repeating the politeness act, the Peanut will eventually master (mistress?) it. In my house, we never got anything without the proper answer to the question, what's the magic word? Please.... I speak as someone raised to be the poster adult for civility who also taught her mother to say when things sucked.


Soldier on, MD!! My daughter is 6 months older than yours, we employed very similar methods, and we're mostly ramped down from "what do you say" to a questioning, raised-eyebrow look to elicit a "please" or "thank you". Often she even says it on her own--the checker at our local store gave her a sticker yesterday and she said "thank you, Lili". Yay.

Now we're working on "sorry", which is going OK, and not interrupting, which is a tougher one. I don't know if the sorry method would work with more than one kid in the house (or with an older kid), but if Mouse shoves or hits one of us, that person immediately disappears and refuses to acknowledge her. The non-injured party gives her a talk about "you hit mommy and now she doesn't want to talk to you. you need to say sorry to make her feel better". After about 4 months of this, she now sometimes produces an apology as soon as she realizes she's hurt someone. (And of course, we also work on not hitting even when you're really really mad.) Luckily, they reinforce this at her daycare--the kids have to say sorry and give the injured party a hug.

Onward and upward.


I think there's nature element, it's not all nurture. Sophie, age 2 1/2, said, 'Oh, thank you!' for her first phrase. (Complete with a delighted intonation.) Her brother, well, not so much.

And since children always behave better for strangers than for their parents, you may find that Peanut will give out pleases and thank yous all over the place when you're not looking.

christmas gomoe

the seed for us was "Clowns Do, Clowns Don't, Loonette's Book of Manners". We always ask sweetpea to pick a book before naptime and for a good 2 months before every nap and nighttime she picked that and we read it.

I also make it a habit being polite all the time, even in my stern, "i brought you into this world and can take you out" voice. Especially during pretend play, if she offers you a cookie, its "why thank you very much".

Now she consistently says thank you, please, and says excuse me when interrupting. the only snag is if we don't acknowledge her at first, she gets louder and louder.


How refreshing to read a manblog....
I am into manners as well, it seems to take forever...but they do eventually get it. We are polite to our kids, so Most of the time they are fairly polite in return.... Eye contact, please and thank you, elbows off the table, I am constantly reminding them. Have fun! Anne

Richard Kuhlenschmidt

A friend of mine just started a site called Piggy Industries http://www.piggyindustries.com/ that deals with piggish behavior in today's world.

Check it out.


A little late here, and actually admitting that I've never been to your blog before. I met Mega Mom and Mrs. Fortune this weekend and well, they were flabbergasted that I've never, ever read Metrodad. So here I am. I'm enjoying your blog but I must say that I will forever quote you on the virtues of indiscriminate cursing. Well said.


Again, a little late in the game here, but with a 14 year old and an 11 year old I must say that it's not always what they show you at home, it's how they behave when a little out of their element. Keep doing what you are doing, even if Peanut does not really respond. And the day that SOMEONE else gives her a cookie and she looks at them and says THANK YOU, is how you will know it was a job well-done. Not saying manners aren't important at home, they are, but it's also the place that kids are most comfortable and where they are supposed to test the waters and limits. JMO!


Again, a little late in the game here, but with a 14 year old and an 11 year old I must say that it's not always what they show you at home, it's how they behave when a little out of their element. Keep doing what you are doing, even if Peanut does not really respond. And the day that SOMEONE else gives her a cookie and she looks at them and says THANK YOU, is how you will know it was a job well-done. Not saying manners aren't important at home, they are, but it's also the place that kids are most comfortable and where they are supposed to test the waters and limits. JMO!


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be left quiet for long periods when it is sukncig the thumb. However, when it continues to carry a big habit. To be able to sleep, children first need to suck his thumb. When I awoke in the middle of the


To: Martin, IL: Hey Martin. From your comment above, I take it that you're a young man. I think you need to go back and re-read the first sencente of the 2nd paragraph in Red's entry. Also, my young friend, you wrote, he who pays is boss, didn't you!? Now, let's try putting it this way, He who buys is a consumer. This post is about teacher student relationships and not employer employee relationships. There's a big difference, don't you know? In this case, above, I believe the teacher (provider) has been very patient for several months. Also, a student (consumer) should never, ever, never (unless told to do so) turn on a tape recorder in the classroom, but rather must turn on his or her brain! Ease up, Martin, ease up.


Is it me or does this post seem a little tense?! I am not sure it was nesslearicy that this person was rude, but I wasn't there. I do know that if you pay for something you have an expectation as to how it goes. Just as you apparently have an expectation also. I think its up to both the teacher and student to set that expectation up front. I do not like rudeness, but maybe I am new school, and thinking he who pays is boss. Besides, you know how to herd cats, right?


Duane,You can do things to enraocuge friendly, civil interactions among strangers. I walk to work every day at the same time and I follow the same route. There are people whom I see every day who never used to look me in the eye or say hello. They do now. I simply started ingoring the fact that they acted as though I was invisible and I greeted them. Often they would respond with surprise but still pleasantly. Now they smile when they see me and they greet me and sometimes we stop to chat. Initiating a friendship is a little difficult but not much and the reward is a more pleasant walk to work for me. It is important to sincerely want to be friendly. Condecension is often very easy to detect and it is very offensive.There are some people who will never respond or who will always be angry at me. Some of that is politics. I know that I am angry at certain people in this town and I will never like them. If someones agenda is increasing my cost of living while diminshing the quality of my family's life I don't care how much they smile at me, I still won't like them. Generally though, I make an effort to get along with people and it makes my life easier.

GS test

MetroDad: Building a kinder, gentler world...one baby at a time!

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