For Parents With Teens: A Guide for Headphone Etiquette

Teenage life revolves around headphones and earbuds these days. Every time you turn around, it seems that your child has speakers attached to his ears. While it is important for kids to explore the arts and develop creativity, it is essential that they stay engaged with society. Here, then, are a few ways to gauge your teen’s use of headphones and earbuds.


When use is appropriate

1.     Headphones are certainly appropriate to use in places where you do not want to disturb someone else. If your teen is with you at the doctor’s office, that’s a time where you certainly want to let them use headphones.

2.     Traveling is also a good time to pop in earbuds. This includes trains, planes and automobiles.


When use is not appropriate

1.     During face-to-face conversations. It is always polite to give the person in front of you undivided attention. In terms of headphones and earbuds, this means removing both speakers from your ears. Also, advise your teen to use good eye contact in these instances.

2.     Never use headphones and earbuds at the table regardless of whether the meal is breakfast, lunch or dinner.


It is important to...

Set guidelines so that your child knows that there are times when they are not allowed to use headphones or earbuds at all. An example would be at grandma’s house when everyone is in the living room. It is in these instances that your child should engage in the conversation at hand.

Parents should not allow their children to find an escape from social gatherings through headphones and earbuds. It is rude for a person to be completely disconnected from their surroundings. Teens, therefore, need to be visible and active contributors to discussions during family events.


Keep them engaged by...

Drawing them into the conversation on a consistent basis. This will allow them to get used to engaging with adults. Too often, we as parents take our children’s “escape” from society through headphones as an opportunity to break away from rearing. We should, however, make sure that they are developing communication skills by constantly involving them in the conversation at hand.  

Manners at Family Mealtime

It is important for us, as parents, to teach our children right now how to use proper decorum by reverencing times of prayer and expression during family dinner time. Here are a few ways that you can help your kids succeed.


Start now

I advise parents to start with proper mannerisms at the table now. The best way to navigate the table setting is to practice, practice, practice. So right now, have your child help with setting the table. This will help them identify what their own place setting looks like.


Rehearse mannerisms several times before the big day

Practice their actual table manners. It is not a good time to train your child when guests are coming over or the family is going out for dinner. So spend these next few days at home sitting down at the table and eating dinner together. Take a look and download the table guide to help your child learn the essentials of place setting here!


Ban technology

Make table time from here on out a technology-free zone. Sometimes we want to use our phones or tablets to entertain children but in reality such activities are retarding their social skills. It’s important for our children to learn how to eat and converse along with adults at the table. We should not be allowing our kids to “checkout” of the conversation and dinner that’s at hand while they focus on their electronic devices. We want to instead draw them into what is taking place.


Have a signal that says, “You’re out of line”

The best way a parent can correct a certain sort of behavior without drawing too much attention to the mistake itself is to right now think of some sort of signal that you can use to let your child know that they’re out of line. Some of us, growing up, remember getting “the look” that would cause us to sit up straight. In the same manner, create some sort of signal (i.e., touching the side of your nose, touching your chin, tapping the table) to let them know that they need to settle down.


Avoid embarrassment at all cost

If you do have to come out and correct the mistake, it’s important to not chastise your child in front of other people because you certainly don’t want to embarrass them. If you can’t seem to get their attention, and maybe their behavior is just a little too far out of check, then excuse yourself and the child from the table without making a big fuss about it. Have a little talk with them and come back to the table when the issue is resolved. Don’t chastise in front of others because sometimes bad behavior coupled with embarrassment just equals more bad behavior from the child.