The Bumpy Years
Between the ages of eleven and fourteen children are engaged in an astounding process of change. During this stage, which coincides roughly with the middle school years, they leave childhood behind. Bodies, minds, and emotions are growing and readying these kids for their teen years. The changes can be welcome and painful at the same time.
As kids struggle towards independence, it may seem that all good manners have been tossed aside. But have faith. With a clear-eyed understanding of what their kids are going through during early adolescence, parents can ride out the storms that are a natural part of early adolescence.
This is a time to select those manners that you value most highly and focus on them. At the table, you may want to emphasize the importance of chewing with your mouth closed, holding utensils correctly, and helping set and clear the table. If you have established standards for language and dress be firm in your expectations. Let kids know that they may not use cell phones or send text messages when it’s dinner time. Require thank you notes!
Cindy and Peggy’s Books
Cindy Post Senning and Peggy Post have written three books for kids in this age group:
The Guide to Good Manners for Kids is appropriate for eleven- and twelve-year-olds. The manners described and the examples used relate directly to kids in middle school. The illustrations depict kids in this age group and actually make the manners fun.
In Emily Post’s Table Manners for Kids, Cindy and Peggy present this special set of manners in an entertaining book. In addition to the familiar table manners—napkins in laps, chew with your mouth closed, don’t blow your nose in your napkin—they introduce table manners at school, the idea of meals as social events, being a good host, and special meals. Steve Bjorkman’s pen and ink drawings add humor to Cindy and Peggy’s fun narrative, making this a book kids of all ages will enjoy.
Teen Manners: From Malls to Meals to Messaging and Beyond is written specifically for teens. In addition to the everyday manners presented in a more mature style, manners related to interviews, jobs, leadership in school, and social life are explored with explanations about why they are important and examples that show how good manners make a difference.