Ask the Countess

The Countess answers your questions about teaching children manners!

Mar 24, 2009

I am a college professor. I've worked hard to get my Ph.D. and I am constantly confronted by students in the classroom wanting to call me by my first name. How can I get students to address me with respect as Doctor rather than presuming to be my equal in the classroom? And how can I do this without being pretentious?

Thank you Doctor, people like you are my inspiration!
You are not being pretentious. This is who you are and the sooner you own that, so will they.
It's Doctor from now on!

When leaving the table for a moment, should you place the napkin beside your plate or put it on the seat?

Leave your napkin on your seat unfolded, this signals the waiter that you will be returning. Don't forget to excuse yourself if you're dining with others.

I have identical twin daughters that are 9 years old. When is the best time to start them on proper "everyday life" etiquette? And what should I start with?
Also, will your book cover anything dealing with young ladies?

How wonderful Katie! My brother has twin girls. The minute your children start to walk and talk, the magic words are 'please,' 'thank-you' and 'you're welcome.' Children learn by example and are like sponges. Sit down with them at the table and teach them table manners. Teach them to be respectful of you and others, which is what class is all about. I devote a chapter on children in the book and by popular request might start a book primarily for children.