Unlock the key to creating a cultivated life for your child with this precise parenting guide. You will learn how to raise an engaging, accomplished, and sophisticated child, one who gets noticed for all the right reasons. From fine dining, travel, and art appreciation to navigating social media with integrity - Beyond Good Manners: How to Raise a Sophisticated Child will show you how to take your child to the next level. Whether your child is five or 15, this is the one book you will reference time and again for advice and techniques that are relevant, practical, and insightful.
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4.5 stars I am always curious about self-help books, especially in terms of parenting. This book takes a little different approach into helping kids evolve into model citizens and not become d-bags (well, hopefully). Though, I still do not have the easiest time listening to a self-help book versus reading one. It helps to see lists and such. Because of this, I took a lot of notes while listening to book and will include them in this review.
I like how there are many considerations taken into account for this book (like what a parent is, and discussing genders). This book can easily apply to adults as well as children. It seems that one good rule-of-thumb for every section of this book is to just lead by example.
One thing that is not really addressed is what to do when the behavior is going in a complete opposite direction of good manners. Though, I know that this is not the purpose of this book and would likely require a different psychological approach.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.
Suggestions for the author: I think it might be helpful if the author had a blog or something that listed some “tips of the day” that come from the book related to having more sophisticated children. There are so many good one-liners that I feel would help a lot of people.
Audiobook narrator Madonna Lucey rating: 4 stars The narrator did just fine for a non-fiction book. It’s hard for me to judge when there isn’t any opportunity to deliver dialogue, etc.
I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
I wrote down some notes for each chapter. I put them in a spoiler block (only works on Goodreads) so that they won’t take up too much room. I feel that I understand each chapter better when I take notes this way. This is a little long but, that’s my problem, not yours!
1. Manners have been important since ancient cultures were around. It’s good to introduce kids to etiquette.
2. It’s always important to introduce kids to other people so that they won’t be hesitant of this. Have them shake hands and look adults in the eye. Having them help greet people at parties helps. Greet in a certain order – male then female, older to younger. Be sure to thank afterwards.
3. Common courtesy goes a long way (please, thank you, excuse me, may I, will you, etc.). Be sure to apologize, not to be sorry; they can convey different meanings. Don’t finish sentences of others and be sure to actively listen to what others say.
4. Table manners (or dining etiquette) are pretty similar to other manners and etiquette. Basically, be on your best behavior while eating. If something needs to leave your mouth, make sure it comes out the way it came in (whether on a fork, spoon, or your hands). It is ok to stick around and have nice conversation with other people at the table.
5. I like the idea of getting a kid a stationary set in order for them to write good thank you notes. I agree that receiving hand written letters is a fun thing and more meaningful.
6. Let kids pick out what they want to wear then explain why this works or doesn’t work. Living near a big city is a good chance to go to a fashion show and/or check out different types of fashion. Give older kids a clothing allowance. Explain to kids about wearing ‘nice’ things. Make up is meant to enhance your looks, not change. Lead by example. Having appropriate clothes for each occasion is important. Kids shouldn’t wear diamond jewelry until older than 18.
7. Cultivate your kid’s palate. Expose them to all sorts of foods, especially ‘more sophisticated’ foods. Introduce new foods early and often. But, still let them have an opinion and eat what they will eat. Let kids help cook, they might like the food more. Mimic restaurants (lighting, music, etc.). Have a kid plan a picnic themselves. Go to cultural things like farmers’ markets and other cultural events.
8. Acknowledge success, be involved, be prepared, etc. Incorporate academic stuff here and there (using big words, asking thought provoking questions, showing practical examples, etc.).
9. Share art and cultural things with kids. Lead by example: share with them what you like and go from there. Accept the arts and music your kids are into and show how they relate to what you were into (the parent). Take kids to art exhibits and other cultural things. Expose them to literary classics.
10. Have the kid seriously take part in the planning of a party or event that you are managing. They can see what it takes to put something like this together. Especially, have the kid plan their own party from making unique invitations, to creatively delivering the food, etc.
11. Eating healthy is very important. Go over food labels with kids and explain why things are healthy. Exercise does so much more than ‘run off energy’. It helps develop and mold all sorts of the kid’s life. Competitive sports look great on college applications. Help bolster your child’s mental health by being supportive. This chapter has many great ideas on how to increase wellness in kids.
12. Use common sense when letting kids use the internet and social media. Have them build a website/blog for their family to get familiar with what is out there. For social media, never have the kid post anything that they would not say in front of the parent. Think before posting. Cyber bullying is something we all should look out for and be aware of.
13. Employ active listening when in the midst of a conflict. Calm down before jumping to actions/conclusions. Not all problems are solved overnight. Patience is extremely important. Treat kids with respect at all times. Give the kids the space they need. Hopefully, later, the kid will learn positive lessons from you and use these in their lives. The kids need to know to deal with the conflict and not just avoid it. Ask the kid what they think the proper solution is (let them take the lead). A little humor goes a long way and give the “once in a blue moon freebie” as well.
14. Travelling to different places really helps kids to see the world in a different way. This doesn’t have to be international (especially when it cannot be afforded), but the further away the better, it seems. Have the kid write a travel journal/blog/photolog, etc. to keep record of the places. Do some research beforehand to learn about the places. Don’t waste time on meaningless tourist stops. Even local state capitols and areas have historical museums and other such things that can really add value.
15. Be respectful of the surrounding community and all public places. Don’t climb on everything/run around/act like wild animals, etc. Respect people of all backgrounds. When the kid asks why is that person different, respond with I don’t know, and try to change the conversation (eventually explain that everyone is different – value the diversity). Take part in various cultural celebrations. Let the kids know who the mayor and other political leaders are. Having a kid volunteer in different events can show that we are not superior to others.