Everyday Etiquette: Compliments for Kids
by Diane Gottsman Offering someone a genuine compliment can be both a reward and a validation. It is a very nice way to make someone feel special. Many of us, however, are not sure what to say or how to act when we receive a compliment.

Parents can help their children learn the important skill of giving and graciously receiving compliments.

When someone offers you a compliment, such as "You look pretty in that dress," the appropriate response would be: "Thank you," as you smile and show appreciation by your facial features.

An inappropriate response would be: "This old thing! I hate it but I couldn't find anything else to wear." Or: "It's not mine. I borrowed it from my neighbor."

Not accepting a compliment shows disrespect to the person who complimented you. Just as bad as not graciously accepting a compliment by saying "Thank you" is accepting a compliment by saying "I know."

For example: "John, you played a great game Saturday night."

"I know."

This response is the same as clapping for yourself or drinking a toast to yourself when someone is honoring you for an achievement. Always smile and respond with a genuine "Thank you."

One last note: Be selective when passing out compliments. Make sure that they are sincere, not patronizing. If you give someone a compliment and then proceed to give the next 10 people you meet the same compliment, it lacks sincerity. Remember that a compliment should not be used as a space filler when there is nothing else to talk about.

Diane Gottsman is a nationally recognized etiquette and protocol expert who leads age-appropriate etiquette programs for children as well as adults striving to fine-tune their skills. She has a masterís degree in sociology/education. For more information, check out

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