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Ask the Countess: Etiquette At What Age?

The Countess answers your questions about teaching children manners!

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?

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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.

My husband and I just relocated and we plan to stay in this community long term. My question is, how do you become acquainted with new people and begin making "connections" in a new town, especially if you want to connect with people of a certain level of sophistication? I would just like to meet interesting people of the same or similar educational background as my husband and myself. How do you move up the social ladder in a brand new city?
Thanks so much,

Hi Diane,
I suppose you or your husband has a job, so invite co-workers or your husband's business associates that you like for drinks at your home. We live in such a world where people have gotten away from intimate gatherings, and a small party would be a good way to get to know them better. If you have children, invite mothers over for coffee or out for coffee (choose carefully). You could also get involved in the community and local events that interest you. I meet a lot of people through my charity work, as we share a common interest. Get out there and try something new. You can always go to the opera!


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