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The Polite Times 
 A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.
 Vol IV, No 09
October 2005 

In This Issue

1. The Rudeness Pandemic

2. Parents Get PoliteChild Placed in Schools

3. Westfield Mall "Works Wonders!"

4.Parent Tip of the Month: Handling Interruptions

5. Want to Become a PoliteChild Licensee?

6. PoliteChild in the News

7. What Can We Do For You?

President’s Corner – The Rudeness Pandemic

Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:

Rudeness and incivility is on the rise. Or, perhaps you hadn’t noticed?

Just this past month, a new Associated Press poll showed that nearly 70 percent of folks questioned poll said people are ruder than they were 20 or 30 years ago. The trend is noticed in large and small places alike, although more urban people report bad manners, 74 percent, than do people in rural areas, 67 percent.

This isn’t news…the trend has been identified and remains consistent for years. And, that’s not good.

What’s worse is this statistic that arose from the poll: 93 percent of the participants in this poll faulted parents for failing to teach their children well. Too bad the poll didn’t say how many of those respondents were actually parents themselves!

The statistic may be numerically correct, it isn’t very helpful. We can place “blame” all we want, but that does nothing to solve the problem. The truth is, there are hundreds of reasons why rudeness is on the increase and manners are on the decline.

Yes, it’s true that teaching good social skills in the home is not always a given. But, it’s difficult to do this when the family may be fractured, or both parents are overworked, or perhaps it’s a simple as this: parents weren’t taught themselves what’s proper or correct behavior. Also, with so many different “experts” offering advice on the “right” way to parent, perhaps we’ve gotten confused and overwhelmed by all the coaching. What’s the point of trying if we’re constantly bombarded with the message that whatever we’re doing, we’re not doing it right and it’s not making a difference?

While the poll was certainly informational, I don’t think it helps anyone. Once again, we focus on the negative – what’s broken. It’s hard to keep from getting discouraged when you hear all the stories about rude and insensitive behavior?

What about the flipside? Is it getting any better? I think it is. If I look at only the growth of our own business, I see that manners and social skills is becoming a more important factor in many people’s lives. The number of school clients, for example, we are seeing has increased dramatically in the past 4 years. And, more and more, these schools are bringing us in as core curriculum, not as electives or extra-curriculars. And, it’s making a difference.

Can you imagine managing 43 kindergartners in a classroom and seeing positive learning outcomes? It’s happening in one PoliteChild school that found itself way overcrowded at the beginning of the school year. The principal’s comment, “PoliteChild saved us!” All in all, in spite of the extra students (from 700 to 830!), discipline problems have gone down school-wide. That leaves more productive time for teaching and learning.

Other schools are contacting us looking for alternatives to their traditional disciplinary programs. They want “prevention” not just “intervention.”

It’s not just about stopping bad behavior now. The emphasis is on developing and promoting good behavior!

I’d say that’s a positive message and a step in the right direction. As Mikala Topey, a 5th grader in a local Indio, CA remarked, speaking about The PoliteChild program at her school, “This won’t necessarily help the world to be perfect, but it’s just one step closer.”

Maybe the next time the Associated Press conducts a poll, they’ll come up with a better outcome that will encourage the efforts of everyone who is striving to equip our kids with the most important key to success – good social skills.

As always, we welcome any and all comments. Please feel free to email me at corinneg@politechild.com. Until next month, stay safe, and stay kind.

Corinne Gregory, President & Founder


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  Parents Get PoliteChild Placed in Schools

 

There isn’t a day that goes by when we are asked by a parent, “How can I get PoliteChild in my child ’s school?”

The answer is simple: go talk to the school!

Now, we’re not trying to pass the buck; we’re more than able and happy to call on the school and make contact with the principal. But, with schools being torn from one side to another with budget concerns, academic achievement, retaining or recruiting qualified staff…well, usually a call from us gets relegated to the “to do” list somewhere just above buying new book covers.

That’s not to say the principals don’t think social skills and character education isn’t important, but the reality is that priorities (especially financial!) are frequently set based on parent demand. If the parents make enough noise – at the school or district level – then the issue gets attention.

The principals and staff may want the program; they see the benefits, they are excited about the results, and they look forward to being part of the positive culture change in the school. But, it usually comes down to the all-mighty dollar. And, dollars don’t get pried out of their buckets and reassigned unless a strong force is applied.

And, parents are the strongest force a school or district will ever see. Strong than legislation (in truth, parents are usually the force behind legislative change, too!), stronger than district agendas, stronger than internal politics.

We parents will need to be the force behind the change and reform in our educational system. If you believe PoliteChild is good for your school, then by all means ASK! But, remember to do so with courtesy!

For more information on how you can approach your school, or how you can enroll, contact us at info@politechild.com.

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 Westfield Mall “Works Wonders!”

 

Have you been looking for a great way to help and also enjoy a festive family event? Well, here’s a great way to do both and get your holiday shopping off with bang! Join EspeciallyPolite, Inc. at this year’s “Westfield Works Wonders” 2005 at Westfield Palm Desert. Other Westfield locations in San Diego County are also honoring these tickets including North County, Plaza Bonita, Parkway Plaza, and Plaza Camino Real!

If you’ve never been before, “Westfield Works Wonders” is a spectacular night of benefit shopping designed to raise funds for hundreds of local non-profit organizations, while offering shoppers discounts, entertainment, food and more. On November 13, 2005, from 6 to 9 p.m., "Westfield Works Wonders" will launch the holiday season while offering local non-profits the chance to raise thousands of dollars for their organization.

On this special Sunday evening, participating Westfield’s will open their doors after regular mall hours to thousands of shoppers looking to give back to the community and have a great time as well. Shoppers will enjoy exclusive discounts and special merchant offers, free gift wrapping, food sampling, great prizes and other gifts.

Over the years, "Westfield Works Wonders" has helped local non-profits raise over ten million dollars used for supplies, equipment, special events, development and support programs and more.

EspeciallyPolite, Inc is selling tickets for the event for only $10 each. Thanks to Westfield and their support for this event, we are able to raise money through ticket sales. Plus, based on the number of tickets sold we can earn special bonus awards. Funds we raise from this event will go towards supporting our special needs curriculum for autistic and Aspberger ’s kids!

Please call Program Director, Mary Barnes (760-327-8132) or send email to info@politechild.com to purchase your tickets in support of EspeciallyPolite, Inc., and to learn more about this event.


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 Parent Tip of the Month: Handling Interruptions

 

If you’ve ever started a conversation – on the phone, in person, even started a task that required your undivided attention, -- no doubt this has happened to you. We call it “interruption magnet.” You know what we mean: no sooner do you start this conversation or phone call when you are instantly interrupted. Never mind that they didn’t need you the whole previous part of the day. Now they do.

How do you handle pesky interruptions?

First, be sure that you have actually set the right expectations with your child about interruptions. Do they know that when you are on the phone or speaking with someone else (even another child!) that they are only to interrupt if there is a true emergency? Have you defined for them what an emergency would be – “are you on fire, bleeding, is the toilet overflowing?” – so that they understand that their idea of an “emergency” isn’t quite the same as adults’ definition.

Next, explain to them that if their need doesn’t fit into the emergency category, they need to wait quietly and patiently until you have a break. If you want to make sure that they know you have acknowledged their presence, you might give them the “one minute” hand signal – index finger held up in the “one” position. Often children keep interrupting and pestering you because they aren’t sure you know they are there and need you. This way they have visible acknowledgement from you that they have been noticed, and they’re more likely to be patient for you.

Finally, teach them that if they believe the matter is urgent, they should always start with “Excuse me…” and then wait to be acknowledged by you. If you need to break away from your conversation or task, you can ask them if it’s urgent or if it can wait. When you ask them if they can wait, you would ideally give them an idea of how long the wait would be: “Can you wait one minute until Mommy finishes this email message?” or “I understand you need me right away – let me just say goodbye and end my phone call.”

This has the effect of giving the child a concrete expectation of how long they have to wait, and they know that you understand and appreciate their perceived timeframe or degree of urgency.

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do but ignore a persistent interrupter. If you’ve done all the steps above and your child still interrupts you, you have to just block out the interruption. You don’t want to get mad or – even worse – give in to the interruption. Getting mad only provides negative reinforcement for the behavior, which can have the opposite effect of what you want: you could be unwittingly reinforcing that undesirable behavior simply because you’ve given it any attention at all.

After your call or conversation is over, it’s then time to respond to your child. But, use this opportunity to explain why you ignored him/her at the time of the interruption. That’s the teaching opportunity, and you can also use positive reinforcement via granting privileges as a method to support the desired behavior. So, for example, for each time your child doesn’t interrupt you during subsequent calls, they can get a “sticker” or a point or some “credit” that can be of value or exchanged for value later. Five points, for example, and they have earned a trip to the ice cream store or the mall. Ten points gets them a special book or a dinner out at a favorite place, etc. It’s positive reinforcement that raises awareness and helps modify the behavior.


Was this Parent Tip valuable? If so, we’d love to hear about it – or let us know what else you’d like to hear about, and we may feature it in an upcoming issue of The PoliteTimes.

Also, check back-issues of The PoliteTimes for more parenting tips and suggestions!

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 Want to become a PoliteChild Licensee?

 

The market for child-etiquette, manners and social skills education is nothing short of red-hot, and growing every month according to articles in USA Today and more. Are you ready to get involved in helping develop good social skills in our young people and participate in changing the world?


PoliteChild is seeing an increasing demand in all parts across the country – and even internationally. We can’t possibly grow fast enough to serve every section and segment of our society, so we’re looking for the right people to help take our methods and materials into their local communities.

We’re especially interested in finding providers the following areas:

     • San Francisco Bay Area
     • Western Canada
     • Greater Los Angeles, CA and Orange County
     • New York, both in-city and statewide
     • Greater Portland, OR
     • Arizona
     • Northeast US
     • Mid-Atlantic
     • Texas

Join the growing number of PoliteChild affiliates who are taking our proven courses to change the faces of their communities! If you’re interested in joining us or know of someone who is contact us at info@politechild.com or by phone at 866.485.4089. We’ll provide you with information about opportunities, benefits, return on investment, and everything you need to know to make an informed decision about whether being a PoliteChild affiliate is the right business for you!

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  PoliteChild in the News

 

Here’s where you can find The PoliteChild this month…

PoliteChild interviewed for inclusion in a Pennsylvania-based parenting magazine on the importance of teaching our children gratitude – Just in time for the holidays!

PoliteChild has also been interviewed for another article to appear in San Diego Family Magazine. This one, too, talks about gratitude whether parents are doing their kids a favor by succumbing to their every whim and wish!

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 What Can We Do For You?

 

The PoliteTimes is continually adding more readers and gaining a broader audience, but we’re continually striving to offer you the right information, news and tips for our newsletters that are interesting and relevant.

Do you have something you’d like to see us cover or have a question you’d like us to answer (privately or through our newsletter)? If so, contact us at info@politechild.com or by phone at 866.485.4089!

We appreciate all those folks who have already written us to give us feedback. We do read each and every one of your letters and take your input seriously! If you don’t get a response from us in 48 hours, please email us again. We’re finding that SPAM filters seem to be overly efficient in blocking out correspondence sometimes, even the correspondence that ’s wanted and welcome!

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