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Darryl's teens and manners - 5 Apr


Darryl Gardiner's teens and manners

Q. A lot of people say manners have slipped with this generation. Is this true?

A. Recently while buying a coffee the Barista said I should speak on manners. When I asked him to explain this he said that a lot of his customers were rude&didn't say thanks, spoke abruptly and did not treat them with respect. This was mainly adults&so I think when it comes to manners it is important not to pick on teens.

Q. So what's the point of teens having manners?

A. Its an issue of respect. I have been in public places where people have been swearing loudly, crudely and where families and children are present. The issue is not so much that they were talking to each other like this but they were not aware that it was not good for others in the area. Manners these days are not so much about observing a set of socially prescribed behaviours in all situations but about being aware of how our actions can affect others around us. It's about respect for others and being aware that others are around.

Q. A generation ago manners included everything from how you held your knife and fork, how you dressed, when you spoke and didn't speak etc. What are they today?

A. This is a huge question and we are now in a society that has thrown off a lot of the behaviours that you described because they were actually offensive. For example it was rude for women to speak in some situations, children were seen and not heard, Maori and other ethnic groups had to assimilate into the dominant Pakeha culture etc. All these are wrong and have gone, or should have which is good. The alternative however is not 'no manners' but 'appropriate manners'. We need to let our teens know that they show respect by being aware of their actions and how they can affect others&.such as swearing in places where children are present. It's by having a tolerance for different cultures and accepting the unique place of tangata whenua. The key is they are based on values and are seen in the parents.

Q. So what is the role of parents in this area?

A. Simply to model respect for others. Don't talk in front of others inappropriately, don't bad mouth other cultures and religions, show you are aware of others. Here are some practical tips

Make sure you show and teach the value of acknowledgement. This is saying thanks, acknowledging the baristas when they give you your coffee, the pump attendant at the gas station etc.
Make sure you show and teach the value of inclusion. This is by not making inappropriate comments when a different ethnic group etc is seen and talking positively about them. If possible by making contact with different groups and people.
Make sure you show and teach the value of awareness. This is showing you are aware of others around. You show and teach this by talking appropriately to the situation. It includes when playing on the beach or in a park doing so in away that does not assume you have the whole area!


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