I’ve always said that civilizing students is part of my job.
While discussing how to improve classroom relationships, one of the girls said she didn’t feel the need to be friendly to girls she didn’t like. “That would be like faking nice,” was her argument. I explained that the world revolved around people “faking nice” to each other. In the adult world, “faking nice” is another term for courtesy, tact, and manners.
For instance, when a senior citizen meanders down the supermarket aisle ahead of me, I wait for an opportunity to smile and go around. It wouldn’t do either of us any good if I yelled at her to move faster. And when someone greets me with a cheery “Good morning!” before 10 a.m., I refrain from biting his head off and instead reply with a terse “Morning.”
Learning to be genuine without hurting others’ feelings is an important social skill, despite what teens may see on reality TV. But “faking nice” doesn’t come naturally; parents have to teach – and model – appropriate social behavior. It’s helpful to point out to your teen when you’ve said something contrary to what you were thinking, and then have a discussion about why tactful responses are kinder than hurtful ones.
(By the way, if you run into those judges from American Idol, please tell them I’d like to talk to them. Thanks!)