• Manners are always welcome, but some are outdated
• Good manners are about making people feel comfortable, and some old-fashioned ones no longer do that
• Teaching your child to be thoughtful about how they interact with other people will always be valuable
The idea of skipping over to a new friend’s house with a ribbon in your hair and dropping off a fancy calling card is, today, almost laughable.
But not too long ago, that was standard social protocol. And parents would be ashamed if their children did anything else.
Business Insider asked two etiquette experts — Barbara Pachter, author of “The Communication Clinic,” and Daniel Post Senning, the author of “Manners in a Digital World” and the great-great-grandson of Emily Post — to tell us about some manners that kids don’t need to learn anymore.
Read on for those manners — and what you should be teaching your kids instead so they grow up to be polite and respectful adults.
Here's a tricky area that Pachter pointed out.
For example, maybe at home, Dad does carry the grocery bags for Mum. That doesn't mean that at work or school, your son should insist on carrying a woman's bags -- she might consider it insulting or awkward.
Instead: Pachter's general rule that she recommends teaching kids is 'help anybody who needs help' -- regardless of gender.
Both Pachter and Senning said this is tricky territory, too. Only a few decades ago, you'd always have your kids call your friends Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Today, some of your friends might prefer it that way, while others might prefer Bob and Deb.
'It gets a little confusing,' Pachter said.
Instead: If your kid isn't sure how they should address another adult, Pachter's advice for them is to err on the side of formality. 'You can always be a little more formal and work your way down,' she said, 'but it's a lot harder to work your way back up.'
The etiquette territory 'that changes the most quickly tends to be the manners around communication,' Senning said.
For example, if you take a look at a 1920s edition of an etiquette handbook, there could be a whole section devoted to exchanging calling cards.
These days, Senning said, calling cards are largely obsolete -- and many parents are instead concerned with how their kids are interacting with other kids on social media.
Instead: As Ana Homayoun, author of the forthcoming 'Social Media Wellness: Helping Teens and Tweens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World,' told The Washington Post, parents should help kids understand why they're posting or sending something on social media, so that they can make more informed choices.
Time was, you'd use this term when you didn't know the name of the letter recipient.
But 'in today's world,' Pachter said, 'that can get you in trouble.' If your kid is applying for an internship, for example, make sure they use a 'non-gender-specific, non-sexist term' such as 'Dear Hiring Manager.'
Instead: Business Insider previously spoke with Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume, on this topic, and she recommended searching on LinkedIn to find the name of the company recruiter or hiring manager who originally posted the job.
Simply writing 'Dear Sir' or 'Dear Madam' makes you look like you haven't done your homework.
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