By Dr. Jodi Stoner and Lori Weiner
Authors of the book, Good Manners are Contagious: Real Solutions for Raising Responsible, Resilient and Respectful Children

First and foremost, parents must model the manners they want their children to have.  Rude parents will produce rude children!

1. Introduce and reinforce the meaning behind the “Magic Words” (please, thank you, etc.)  Guide children to master these words by using them often. When teaching “I’m sorry” – make certain children know it must be meaningful.

2. Cultivate the concept –  “Be kind to others”.  Name calling, bullying or treating others callously will not be tolerated.

3.  Reinforce respect – act respectfully towards your children, and demand respect from them.  Identify ways to help children feel good about themselves (earned self-respect)

4.   Foster and teach the value of values – honesty, tolerance, empathy, compassion, gratefulness, kindness – embrace them!

5.  Make mealtime manners a life skill that will continue to help children (and adults) feel confident in all future social/dining experiences.  These skills can make or break a business deal in the future.



6. Demonstrate and discuss the importance of making a difference in someone’s life everyday.  Encourage your child to be grateful for what he has – your home should always exemplify an “attitude of gratitude.”

7.  Prepare children for the art of social exchange – meeting and greeting, eye contact, body language, a firm handshake.  This is essential for making friends and keeping them, being part of a group and socialization.

8.  Outline rules for courteous behavior- be courteous on cell phones, computers and the Internet.

9. Advocate the importance of accepting responsibility and becoming personally accountable; this is an essential step towards independence. 

10.  Show respect for our planet – recycle, reuse grocery bags, turn lights off, don’t litter and conserve energy whenever possible.

About the authors:

Dr. Jodi Stoner holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is a licensed Mental Health Counselor. She has worked for over 30 years with families, individuals and couples in parenting, psychotherapy, and life transitions. Dr. Stoner is also an educational specialist with a Master’s Degree in Behavior Disorders and practiced in the Georgia and Florida Public School System for 15 years. Dr. Stoner has served as an expert witness in civil matters. She has been a guest speaker on topics such as relationship building, parenting skills and life skill enhancement.

Ms. Lori Weiner is a Career Coach with more than 25 years experience as a Career Services Director. She worked as a National Director of Career Services overseeing 27 schools nationwide. In that capacity for Computer Learning Centers, Inc., she wrote the “Career Services Training Manual” and other “best practice” documents.  She has also supervised training at various corporations in providing quality customer service. Weiner has been awarded numerous performance awards and, in 2003, was a speaker at the Florida Association of Post-Secondary Schools & Colleges Conference in Orlando, Florida.  She continues to mentor new graduates in career development.

Good Manners are Contagious is available on,, and retail book stores.

There’s nothing worse than a rude toddler. Here’s how to keep your tot’s manners in check!

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