Good manners in children are a thing of the past, according to the nation's grandmothers.
The older generation say their grandchildren don't know how to behave at mealtimes, can't look an adult in the eye and have no idea how to write 'Thank You' letters for presents received – and it's their parents' fault.
The survey by the grandparents' support website, Grannynet, concluded: "Things aren't what they used to be."
Grannynet founder Verity Gill said: "This survey has revealed some interesting reactions. What we've found is that there has been a real shift in what polite manners mean to children in modern times today compared with what was expected of their mothers and grandmothers.
"Maybe a question of 'modern' polite nowadays not being the same as polite from 'the old days'."
Grannynet members were asked how good manners had changed since they were children, what they expected of their own children when they were growing up and how their grandchildren behave today.
Although the grannies were united in the belief that 'good manners cost nothing' they said that all the old little courtesies are gradually being erased.
Often grandchildren have to be prompted to say 'thank you' and some are not taught simple good manners by their parents, in the belief they should be 'free to express themselves'.
Manners at meal times revealed the greatest generational chasm. Ninety two per cent of grandparents and 87 per cent of their children sat down at the table with all the family to eat at least once a day – but only half of children do so today.
One grandmother said: "My grandchildren have bad table manners as they haven't been taught them by their parents."
Less than half of children have to ask to 'get down from the table' compared with 89 per cent of their grandparents and 80 percent of their parents.
Keeping your elbows off the table is almost totally redundant, with just 19 per cent of grandchildren still expected to stick to the old protocol.
Another traditional piece of etiquette has also vanished, the survey revealed: Thank You letters. Nowadays, only 35 per cent of children pen their gratitude for birthday and Christmas presents, compared with 86 per cent of their grandparents.
Other findings were:
• Only 37 per cent of children say 'excuse me' before interrupting someone speaking;
• Less than a fifth of kids stand up when their teacher walks into the classroom;
• Just 48 per cent of grandchildren make eye-to-eye contact when talking to an adult.
Some of the 'grandrespondents' said that the best way to teach a child good manners was by example and setting rules.
One grandmother said: "If there weren't rules there would be nothing for kids to break, no risks to take, no scars to show for mistakes. Rules let you fly."
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