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How to Teach Etiquette to Teen Boys

by Tiffany Raiford

Few things make a woman happier and a mom prouder than a man who opens doors for others, stands when a woman enters or exits a room, and uses basic etiquette on a daily basis. Teenage boys are not known for their inherent listening skills and their open mindedness regarding being told how to behave in different situations. At this age, your son is working on asserting his own independence, which means your good idea to teach him etiquette probably isn’t one he’s all that open to hearing. He may not like it at first, but once he realizes that learning proper etiquette will help him all throughout life, he might be more open to the suggestion than he was initially.

Practice etiquette at home on a regular basis, advises Modern Manners and Etiquette. While you should have started teaching your teen basic etiquette, such as saying please and thank you, using his napkin rather than his shirt sleeve and always being polite, as a child, there are other forms of etiquette to teach him. He will not learn how to use his table manners if you only require he do so on special occasions. Instead, require table manners, as well as all other forms of etiquette, at all times to help keep them fresh in his mind.

Talk to your son about technology etiquette and practice that etiquette yourself, advises Emily Post. Today’s world is one where cell phones, text messages and computer conversations are more common than face-to-face conversations. Teach your son to refrain from answering his phone -- call or text -- when he is conversing with someone else or when he is sitting at the table with others enjoying a meal. He should not send inappropriate text message photos, such as nude photos or offensive photos. Additionally, teach him to turn off the music and remove the earphones when someone is speaking to him, and to never post personal information on the Internet.

Discuss with your teen the fact that good etiquette is not so much about knowing exactly which of the many different glasses are used for water or different types of wine and which fork to use with his salad, but about how his manners affect the feelings of those around him, advises etiquette professional Thomas P. Farley. While it will benefit him later in life to know which fork to use at a five-star restaurant, it’s more important that he learns the basic etiquette of letting his friends know in advance if he has to cancel plans rather than waiting until the last minute and potentially ruining their plans as well.

Tip

  • Use etiquette at all times so that you will become a good role model for your teenage son. If you want him to learn to take the elbow or lower back of a woman when she exits a vehicle, ensure your husband does the same to you, or encourage him to do it to his grandmother. He will learn far more about etiquette from your own behavior than he will from your words.

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