An Examination of the Decline of Manners in Today’s Children in the Article Today, Courtesy Isn’t Common. But Hatred Is by T.T. Nhu

One Baby Step at a Time

“The hardest job kids face today,” says famous American actor Fred Astaire, “is learning good manners without seeing any.” In the article “Today, Courtesy Isn’t Common. But Hatred is,” T. T. Nhu describes how the “break down of the social fabric stems from parents allowing children to treat their elders without respect.” The author conveys the valuable idea that parents are allowing their children to exhibit inappropriate behavior. Nhu explains that society is falling to pieces because children are raised with bad manners. Also, the author perfectly describes that parents contribute to a child’s lack of civility. Without a doubt, I would have to agree with the author’s statement. Parents and their inability to teach by example are harming their children. Because of their parents, children are unsociable, make wrong decisions, and become disrespectful towards others.

Children have an unsociable attitude because of their parents’ unwillingness to teach by example. For example, in the article “Today, Courtesy Isn’t Common. But Hatred is,” Nhu mentions that children are “brought up not knowing how to get along with others.” If parents never teach their children valuable skills in life, they cannot learn and develop as human beings. Because of this, society will not be able to progress altogether. Lisa Belkin, in her article, “Teaching Children Manners,” argues that children have to learn about manners in order to apply it to the real world. Amy Vanderbilt goes on to say that “good manners have much to do with the emotions.” I would have to agree with Vanderbilt’s suggestion. Simply teaching a child to say “please and thank you” and “treating adults with respect” is not enough. If parents continue to teach their children to merely say the words but not mean what they say, society will begin to fall apart. In order for children to learn, they must experience good behavior for themselves. If they continue to repeat words with little understanding, they will continue to become unsociable.

Similarly, during my childhood, I remember a cousin talking back to my grandparents. His parents never took the time to tell him right from wrong at an early age; he did not realize that talking back to elders is disrespectful. Now that he is an adult, it is difficult to undo habits learned from childhood. It is essential to understand that parents’ inactions are the most severe obstacle that harms children and society as a whole.

Children’s unethical decisions are another key point that demonstrates parents’ negative influence on their children’s behavior. In her work, Nhu claims that “lose their resonance and impact.” I strongly agree with this statement. Throughout elementary school, I would often hear children scream curse words to each other. I clearly remember the words “f**k” and s**t” being constantly yelled across the room by my classmates. I began to realize that these words are very inappropriate and unnecessary. If only the parents of my classmates had told them about the dangers of these words then they would have been rectified at an early age. In the same way, the TODAY Show’s article “What happened to please and thank you?” discusses the lack of respect in society. In the article, Maureen O. from Cincinnati, Ohio illustrates the idea that “civility is gone.” The TODAY show further argues that civility is diminishing because of social media and television. As a whole, these sources of information became detrimental to society. This starts to become a problem because children learn inappropriate behavior from television and social media. In response, parents have done nothing about it, leaving children with bad manners. Parents need to take the time to screen what their children watch and see. They need to carefully decide whether or not the content and subject matter is appropriate for their child. Parents today participate in an excessive amount of social media. Children watch and mimic what their parents do. With this in mind, parents contribute to society falling apart because they show children how to behave in an unsuitable manner.

Most important, because of their parents, children have become rude and impolite. T. T.

Nhu in her article explains that civility is the “cornerstone of all good relations. According to “Got obnoxious offspring? It could be your fault!” by the TODAY show, they explain that children should be influenced by their friends in order to have good manners. Although this may seem like a great idea, it is in fact incorrect. Their children might be influenced by friends who are teaching them the wrong things. This is a bad excuse for parents to not take responsibility for educating their children about proper behavior. Likewise, the article goes on to say that “we get relationship-lazy, and it’s an insidious process.” Due to the fact that parents are unable to teach their children moral behavior, civilization will begin to crumble.

What is the true meaning of “good manners”? Good manners is not something that you are born with. Teaching children good manners is like teaching a baby how to walk. Acquiring good manners is a gradual, step-by-step process. It takes time for a child to develop these skills. In order to learn how to walk, a baby needs a parent to guide them to the right path. Once they learn the basics, it opens a door for them to recognize and learn good manners and proper behavior on their own. If parents begin to make a conscious effort to teach future generations proper etiquette and right conduct, there would be fewer instances of children having bad manners. As a result, society will begin to learn how to work together in order to create a more peaceful world. Parents and their inability to help are harming their children. Because of their parents, children are unsociable, make wrong decisions, and become disrespectful towards others. Ultimately, it is certainly up to parents to impart what will really make their children successful in life, one baby step at a time.


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