Good Manners for Three Scenarios

Group of smiling children

My children go back to school tomorrow after the Winter break, and my troubled little 7 year-old son is eager to go back to school. Considering his difficulties and anxieties over social skills this is really wonderful. While he is at home he is a relatively well behaved little boy with only a few issues, playing by himself in his room with all his new Christmas Lego and building sets, but once he gets to school it is touch and go whether he will be able to navigate his social situations well.


Robot pulling two plugs apart

Sure, we all know that it’s considered rude to interrupt someone. However, there are times when interruption is necessary, even critical. So, how do you handle behavior that’s normally improper, properly? Fortunately, there are manners for that (bet you didn’t see that coming)!

Cell Phone Manners

X-ray of skull with cell phone held up to ear

By 2008, nearly 80% of kids between the ages of 12 and 17 had a cell phone. At this writing, based on the rate of increase, it’s a fairly safe bet that percentage is now 99.9% (allowing, of course, for that handful of children raised by wolves or gorillas and such---hey, it happens). With cell phones, as with great power, comes great responsibility. If you haven’t already spoken with your children about when and when not to text, here are some ideas for having a productive conversation about cell phone manners (yep, there are manners for everything).

A Tip About Hat Manners

Suit of armor

But how do I know you’re smiling? By tipping their visor, knights not only showed their winning smiles, they demonstrated proved that they came in peace.

Whether you’re a cowboy, a film noir gumshoe, or just an average Joe, whenever you meet someone on the street, you tip your hat. Have you ever wondered why? Good, because we put our thinking caps on and found an answer.

Bending the Elbow Rule

Girl with elbows on the table

Even the crudest among us has heard you’re not supposed to put your elbows on the table. In fact, it’s so familiar, there’s even a nursery rhyme about it—and you know you’ve arrived when you have your own nursery rhyme, just like the plague (Ring Around the Rosie) or a homicidal English queen (Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary). It goes:

Mabel, Mabel, strong and able
Get your elbows off the table

This is not a horse's stable

But why?

Don’t Let Poor Manners Be A Handicap


Millions of people have disabilities. And just like individuals, disabilities come in different forms, with different stories and circumstances. Yet, while people without hearing or sight have made great strides adapting to the world around them and have normal lives, people without disabilities often still find themselves struggling with how to interact with them. And guess what, there are manners to help you navigate social interaction with people who have disabilities without awkwardness or insult.

Silverware Semaphore

Person signaling with fork and knife

Speaking with your mouth full is without question the antithesis of manners. But what many don't realize is that there’s plenty you can say at a meal without speaking a word. Instead, dashing diners let their utensils do the talking.

Though a place setting may have several different utensils (salad forks, fish forks, soup spoons, etc.) the dinner fork and knife are the only two required to communicate wordlessly with the wait staff.

Getting Your Sit Together (or Assessing The Situation)

Chair with knives

Sitting may seem like a simple enough thing to do, after all, we’ve been sitting down ever since before we could stand up. In fact, sitting is a very easy thing to do once you realize that gravity really does most of the work. But sitting properly is another story. Sitting properly is basically the same for men and women and can be reduced to two simple rules: