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Completely Gratuitous: The New Social Grace Standards

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Social ineptitude….one of my BIGGEST pet peeves, especially since to me it’s dishonouring, disrespectful and sets a bad example for our children.

Yet, all too often I come across people who say that they no longer send out birthday or holiday cards because they simply send and email or make a phone call, the latter, in my opinion, a much nicer and more personal gesture. So, I was not necessarily surprised to hear etiquette experts suggest that today’s adolescence and adults alike are shunning common courtesy and logic and defying the basic social graces and previously polite social graces that were considered a must.

Parents are receiving gifts for their children and failing to send out “traditional” thank you notes, calling, or better yet having their children call. What’s worse is that if you actually attend a party or affair the today’s child totally foregoes tradition and instead of thanking everyone individually with a kiss, simply stands at the head of the table or room, after rummaging through gratuitous gift after gratuitous gift and universally thanks the entire crowd. And, if a call is made, rarely is it made on time, but rather a few days or weeks later, usually, these days, by the parent, speaking on behalf of the child or family in general.

And, while initially this may seem to most like children behaving badly, etiquette aficionados suggest it’s actually a demonstration of parents behaving badly….the same parents who are quick to send out a party invite but fall short of the follow through.

According to experts, children should enter their tweens and teens well-versed and well-prepped to take on their social responsibility with little or no coaxing or reminding. In fact, they should be able to reply and follow up on peer invites all by themselves (okay, maybe with a little help from mom and dad) by the age of 10 or 11. In fact, go as far as to suggest that if children haven’t been properly socialized by this significant age, they probably never will.


Long Island Development Articles > Completely Gratuitous: The New Social Grace Standards

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