Teaching Manners: Parents or Teachers

May 7th, 2010 by Kathy McManus

When it comes to teaching kids etiquette, who is responsible?

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

A classic Mary Poppins question was posed on a London blog: Who should be responsible for teaching children manners?

Writing on SchoolGate at the London Times, Sarah Ebner says that in recent years, teachers “seem to have been put in the position of surrogate parents and etiquette experts, with increasing pressure to teach what used to be taught at home.” Are schools and teachers now given “too many parental responsibilities?” she asked, turning for guidance to Gillian Low, head of Britain’s presumably prim and proper association of private girls schools.

“An education in courtesy must begin in the home if it is to have effect,” said Low, noting that by the time children arrive at school, “it is too late to start; indeed bad (and good) habits can already be entrenched.” Leave no doubt about it, Low concluded, “This education in good manners is, I believe, a duty of parenthood, to be reinforced by schools, not the other way around.”

Have too many parents relinquished responsibility to teach their children manners?