Google+ Authentic Parenting: What Do We Say?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Do We Say?

In order to “teach” children politeness, many parents result to prompting their children. Some go even further, by instating punitive measures when the prompt isn’t followed through.
This approach to politeness is understandable, because it is how many of us have been brought up and because we have been led to believe that no child can grow up to be polite if we don’t force politeness onto him.

This is a disbelief.

Children are naturally good natured and kind to their environment and they easily pick up on social structures and conventions, if they are modeled to them.

I ask myself: how can we intend children to learn anything when we tell them “What do we say?”. Surely, the child must think that if you need to ask him what we should say in such a situation, there is little need to say it, since it can be so easily forgotten.

Your child will learn oodles more from a kind ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ that comes from the heart, than he will from a coerced word out of his mouth.

If at every occasion, you prompt your child to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, he will never feel the need to thank or pleased when asking or receiving. You will notice that when you stop prompting, out of the blue you will have a polite child, who does say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, but this time out of the bottom of his heart. And there’s not much cuter than this.

And don’t worry too much about the rare occasion where your child does not say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ or ‘hello’. His lack in doing so will be forgiven according to his age, and you can make it up by giving courtesy to the one these courtesies were intended.


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7 comments:

  1. This is a difficult one. I tend to agree with you, and i would never force my child into saying please or thank you, or goodbye/hello, etc, or punish him if he doesn't say it. But, I do encourage him to be polite and don't see the harm in that as long as good behaviour is modelled too, like you said. Lol, the other day, my oldest son (not quite 3) politely reminded his daddy to say thank you to me when i served up dinner :P

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  2. I always find it laughable when I watch a parent reprimand his/her child for snatching a toy from another child by doing the same thing. I completely agree that modeling is the best way to teach politeness and respect. http://aucoeur.wordpress.com

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  3. I have said please and thank you to my boys since they were infants. They are all 3 fairly good at doing this on their own with very little prompting from me. I have had strangers compliment me on their politeness. I have had youth leaders say my 12 year old is one of the only ones that says thank you. So I agree, at least in my family modeling has worked very well!

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  4. I completely agree. My daughter is now not even 2,5 and she says thank you most of the time. She also says excuse me. Very proud mama

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  5. I must say I am shocked to see amazon links still on your page...

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  6. I'm okay with prompting my kids to say please and thank you in a good-natured way. My 16-month-old gets so excited when we smile at him and say "Can you say 'please?'" and he goes "peezzzze" with the biggest grin on his face. Same for my 3-year-old--when he remembers to say it himself he is thrilled because we are, and when he doesn't remember and is prompted, we're still thrilled because we respect each other enough that we can remind each other. We have taught him to say "no thank you" if he doesn't want something rather than to yell "NO!" and he does that without any prompting. And I'm fine with him reminding us, or his very presence keeping us in check with our manners.

    Generally speaking you're right-modeling effective and appropriate behavior goes a lot further than prompting it.

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  7. Tisha,

    www.laurenwayne.com/2010/11/amazon-boycotting-and-blaming.html

    pretty much what I think about it too

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