Should Children Be Forced to Write Thank-You Notes?

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Should Children Be Forced to Write Thank-You Notes?
Wed, 01-23-2013 - 10:09am

Are good manners going the way of the Dodo bird? While most of us were raised to write thank-you notes promptly, it seems some of us haven’t passed that bit of etiquette onto our kids. 

Philip Galanes, New York Times columnist and author of the book, “Social Q’s: How to Survive the Quirks, Quandaries and Quagmires of Today,” discussed the disappearing thank-you card and other etiquette dilemmas facing parents on TODAY.

Galanes recounted the story of a grandmother of nine who wrote to him that she has never received a thank-you card for any of the birthday and Christmas presents she has given her grandchildren over the years. She was annoyed, but unsure how to demand a bit of gratitude – a predicament that offended Matt Lauer, father of three. “I think it’s unacceptable that they don’t write any thank you notes,” Matt said.

Should children be forced to write thank-you notes?-

Where do you stand on the issue? Should children be told to write thank-you notes each time they receive a gift?

 photo snowsiggy.png

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001

Each situation is different to me too, When my kids get/got gifts for Christmas or/and their birthdays I looked at that as an opportunity for them to pick up the phone and thank the family member themselves (we live away), and 9 times out of 10 they did! Most of my side isn't linked up to facebook and other social media and I'm grateful that still forces traditional/old fashioned thank yous and greetings in general! Inlaws otoh are all over fb, Even MIL has resorted to just fb tags to wish my kids a happy birthday, I've started to return that courtesy - Instead of buying her a birthday card I just send her a happy birthday over there now too, Why waste $2.99 on the cost of a card, Lol! 




iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2004
My son's grandmother has none of those. No e-mail, text, or FB. I had my son write thank-you notes to his elders while growing up. It's not silly or outdated.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002

While I have no children myself, I am aunt to 11 nieces and nephews.  My BIL and SIL's kids always send hand made thank you cards whenever we send them birthday or holiday gifts.  I get a call from two of my nieces when we send them gifts, and the others we have no idea if they've received their gifts or not (we learned NOT to send checks because they would be lost).  To me, it's not about forcing the children to write thank you letters, but an opportunity to reach out to relatives they don't see too often but who still think about them and remember their birthdays or holidays.  My sister and SIL always tell me how excited their kids are when they receive my gifts, it would be nice for their kids to acknowledge their excitement as well (and I have email and Facebooks accounts, so I don't expect snail mailed thank yous).  One last comment, I *always* send a follow up thank you note to those who interview me, it's a way to stand out and keep the interview fresh in mind.  :)

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-30-2010
Absolutely! When my daughter was small, she was not permitted to use the gift until she wrote the note. Saying thank you is one very important step to being grateful which is a life long skill that will serve the child well.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-16-2004

Not all people have  FB and emails, I am one of those who doesnt have FB, this means  I get alot of silence  after parties and also misses some but I  have good reason not  to have FB.   Most of my friend still belive in the written word and thank you notes are to me important  or for a personal call, not a txt, will do.

People have become so rude these days and forgetting that using thier own voice or handwriting is important.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-24-2013
Are you tired of going office daily? Earn 50$ per hour working from home with Google! I've made $64,000 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. Im using an online business opportunity I heard about and I've made such great money. It's really user friendly and I'm just so happy that I found out about it. Here is what I do, (Click on ‘Home’ for details)
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008

Agree with Misstrygg.  Besides, when everyone is using FB or emial or being so casual, a handwritten note stands out.  I can say the habit of writing thank you notes has helped me in my professional life and I am forever grateful my parents "made" me do it when I was a kid.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Sat, 02-02-2013 - 12:02am

Yes...most children don't have the social skills to understand they should write them on their own.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2002

Children or adult ~ it's torture to write Thank You notes.  But it must be done.  For instance, my little ones have gone to several birthday parties these last few weekends ~ I'm glad they get Thank You notes and make a mental note of those who don't, simply thinking - what ungrateful parents!  I spend time buying and (sadly) wrapping presents for their pals, the least their parents can do is acknowledge that.  Same with our relatives ~ my children should respond with TY notes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003

I am in agreement. A formal occasion one should write a thank you note.

Other then that, it depends on the age. My children always wrote them out or made a thank you card after their birthday parties or any event given for them. When they were very young, it was fun and good practice. A they grew, at some point, they would complain, but I felt it was important for them to acknowledge and thank people for the gifts given. I mean, by the time they graduate high school, it might seem foreign to them to write a note if they never had to write one before. In this way, by the time they graduated, it was second nature.