This Sunday’s Snippet is from the book Beyond Good Manners: How to Raise a Sophisticated Child by Tara Turner
About the Author
Tara Woods Turner is an etiquette consultant, author and content contributor. She lives in New York City and has been featured in radio, podcast and national blog interviews. She believes strong societies are built upon strong families. She also spends way too much time analyzing James Taylor lyrics.
Snippet, “Beyond Good Manners: How to Raise a Sophisticated Child”
Let’s imagine you’re dressing for a dinner party and your child insists on wearing a glittery, sparkling ballet tutu instead of the $80 shantung capri pants you bought for her. What should you do? Let her wear the tutu. Crushing her sense of whimsy will do nothing to cultivate a sense of style for your child. It is not necessarily a battle of wills. She is simply trying to tell you something about herself. Listen carefully and then take the lead.
Compliment her ownership of her appearance and use it as an opportunity to open the conversation about choices. Explain to her that she can wear the sparkly tutu but she should understand that it is not the most appropriate thing in her closet to consider. Tell her that in this is an occasion there is room for negotiation, but also that this will not always be the case. Then unveil some awesome ideas to add to the fun.
You can show her how to further explore the topic of ballet and ballet costumes. She can read age-appropriate books on ballet and describe her favorite parts to you; watch documentaries on or video clips about actual child ballerinas; recreate a scene from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake with her dolls or arts and crafts supplies. Introduce her to basic French ballet terms such as pas de deux or pliè and see if she can reproduce the first five positions. Kick off your shoes and do it with her! In future she will don her tutu with pride because she not only earned it but because her appreciation is now informed.
More importantly, you have quieted her frustration – not her voice – and created a platform for growth and development. With time she will find more constructive, cooperative ways to display her individuality and creativity because you wisely chose to not make her behavior the basis for your response.
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