Having a little trouble with sonny boy loudly belching his ABCs? What about your darling daughter waving her fork around at the dinner table like a crazed beast?
As a report from The New York Times notes, the growing trend of etiquette classes for children all the way from ages 8 to 18 is banking on one thing: In these harried times of two-income families and 24/7 obligations, many parents don’t have the bandwidth, the will, and in many cases, the know-how, to teach their children the basics of good manners. Indeed, etiquette experts argue that parents might not even be the best choice to teach their kids how to properly behave.
But what do they actually teach your little monsters? Classes typically cover topics such as good table manners, correct posture, and body language (think: elbows off the table), and how to make polite conversation with adults. Some schools delve further into dress, hygiene, and overall comportment.
In this day and age, experts warn that kids aren’t necessarily learning proper people skills. They no longer enforce good manners in school, and teachers and other parents might not feel comfortable correcting kids’ behavior when they know they might have to deal with negative parental consequences. The result? A bunch of rowdy children used to getting their own way. Technology is also a factor. Experts say that given our penchant for online devices and gadgets, even simple communication skills like making eye contact have gone by the wayside. According to Arden Clise, President of Clise Etiquette n Seattle, “Manners are more important than ever due to the increasing lack of face to face interactions. Children need to understand not only how to interact with others in-person but online as well in this ever more tech focused world.” All this pleasantness doesn’t come cheap. Costs range from $100 to a brief mini-session on table manners all the way up to $1,500 and up for a series of classes. Pricey, to be sure, but when your little darling comes home and inquires, “How was your day, Mother?” you might just find it priceless!