Modeling Manners, Not Pushing Them

Jesse McCarthy |

Many of us have a tendency to try to push manners onto children: “Tell her sorry now.” “Give your friend a hug.” “Say thank you to that man.”
But children don’t need directives to do good, they need modeling of what “the right thing to do” actually looks like in practice.
If, in our own lives as adults, we say sorry when we’re wrong, hug friends when they’re hurting, give thanks to those who deserve it, then we’ll find that children mirror our caring and thoughtful behavior.
As Dr. Maria Montessori once said:

The essential thing is that [the child] should know how to perform these actions of courtesy when his little heart prompts him to do so.
— Maria Montessori, 'Her Life and Work'

The best way to instill genuine goodness is to be a shining example of it ourselves — an authentic individual whom a child can look up to and eventually emulate in his or her own unique and loving way.


If you’re looking for further insight about Montessori approaches at home and in the classroom, check out the Montessori Education Podcast.

If you’re a parent or teacher seeking 1-on-1 aid, whether for general guidance with your child or to find solutions to a pressing problem, visit FastTrack.