Growing up in the 50's and 60's

To be polite and have good manners was a must

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Children's manners and etiquette in the 1950's

The behaviour of your Children was a symbol of the Parents 'status'

Many people, especially those under the age of around 45 will often hear 'us oldens' say "If I'd have spoken to my parents like that, I'd have got a clip round the ear". If you gave a child a clip round the ear nowadays, they'd probably sue you and put you up in front of the European Equal Rights Committee or something similar!

But in most cases it's true what we say, you would never answer back, you would do as you were told because that's how it worked. Possibly part of the reason was that for the last 100 years, the vast majority of us were children of those who fought in the Services during the two Wars and this brought about a discipline. There again, discipline goes back centuries before that even.

It is best write how things were back in the 1950's by just giving examples and the 'rules' which existed, most of which are long forgotten I'm afraid.

1. When any adult, excepting your Parents, entered the Room, you would stand up. If you didn't you'd get ticked off for sure.

2. You would always vacate a Bus or Train seat for a Woman or someone in senior years. You would also offer them your place in a Queue when alighting a Bus

3. You would never leave the Table without seeking permission first. In fact, you would usually not even bother asking, in the 50's most would eat as a family and leave the Table together.

4. "Please" and "Thank you" were compulsory and unlike nowadays, if you didn't say it, it wasn't a case of the Adult saying what an impolite young child you were after you'd left, they would tell you face to face.

5. At School, every Teacher was referred to as 'Sir' or 'Madam' and upon entry into the Classroom, everyone would stand and unanimously say "Good morning Sir"

6. If you wore a Hat, you would never wear it indoors, Home or Shop. You would take it off if you met or you were talking to a Lady.

7. "I want" were two 'no no' words, it was always "I would like" or "may I have" (followed by the mandatory Please and Thank you of course.

8. You would always open a door for someone, a woman or adult and allow them entry or exit before you.

9. 'Speak when you're spoken to', another expression us oldens often say. You would not normally make the first comment other than to ask how a person was, you would sit politely when you had Guests ans wait for the question - and that was usually based around your Schooling!

10. Going back to Buses and Trains and even walking down the Street, if you saw a Lady struggling with her Shopping, you would offer to help, even if that meant going out of your way to take them to he home.

I'm sure there are many more you'd be able to find, but ten is a round number.

Much of the above would remain for some years to follow, but the main change in 'youth' came about in the mid 1960's. Sure there was the James Dean 'rebel without a cause' attitude and the 'Teddy Boys' later to become 'Rockers' and nowadays known as 'Bikers', although I must add it's hard to find a modern day Biker without manners.

Manners and etiquette was just a part of the 1950's lifestyle, it was more disciplined, you wouldn't see so much rubbish in the Street, you would find it hard to find untidy front gardens, people wanted to show others that they had things sorted, they were leading a decent life, did the right thing and the Children's manners were one way of showing this.


I can remember this photo being taken (Can't remember what I did yesterday though!)

No TV, no Games Consoles. If you were lucky, you may get a book to read


Growing up in
50s and 60s
The 1960s

50's & 60's In the Blog

1960's Year by Year

You were expected to applaud your Father off the field, even if he did play rubbish!