Chinese Etiquette Classes for Kids: Another “Tiger Mom” Technique or Just a Good Idea?

Chinese etiquette lessons: Another Tiger Mom Technique or a Good Idea?

OK, kids: open your books to the chapter on backtalk.

China is worried that its kids are behaving like brats. That’s why the government mandated that all schoolchildren undergo lessons in basic etiquette.

According to a recent AFP report, China’s schools are teaching primary school students about basic decorum, respecting elders and proper table manners. Middle-schoolers are learning how to hold polite conversations, how to be courteous to others, how to dress properly, and how to observe etiquette in telephone, email, text-messaging and other correspondence. High-schoolers are learning the basics of polite one-on-one conversation, adequate grooming and standing in orderly queues.

Wow in the midst of all the “Tiger Mom” controversy, is this a child-rearing technique coming out of China that the Western world can actually get behind?

I remember learning all of these things in school. And I’m guessing that most kids in most schools in America are being taught these very same basic etiquette lessons, though not in a formal, government-mandated curriculum. So, why are people still behaving like this?!

Interestingly enough, The AFP reports that China’s “civic improvement campaign,” which was initially launched in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games because China feared that its citizens would embarrass the city in the eyes of the world, hasn’t been a runaway success. According to the AFP, “[the embarrassing] behaviour remains common both in Beijing and elsewhere.”

Why are kids behaving badly? (And, for that matter, why are parents behaving badly?)  Maybe we could all use a manners refresher course.  Here’s Babble’s how-to guide for civilizing your toddlers, twins, and teens.

Photo: Creative Commons/Flickr; by Rex Pe

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