Originally Posted by greenmagick
I try not to ever force please or sorry. I think those words end up meaning nothing and become just habit...I dont want that.
Once they are older I do require them to ask nicely (as long as they can handle it...not in the middle of a meltdown)...i will prompt for please sometimes but they dont have to say it to have their request filled. I guess I just hate the whole idea of "magic word"...say please and get what you want. So often then please is still said in a demanding or whining tone...
I thought I would be the only oddball here so I was glad to see this comment and I agree 100%
I absolutely hate please, most of the time.. At one point a year or so ago, I couldn't figure out why in the world my husband was trying to teach our toddler still learning how to talk to say "please" - except he likely grew up in a household where this was important. I did not (thank goodness). We didn't use "please" that I can recall and it was never an issue in my life.
Did you ever hear the phrase "Actions speak louder than words?" I believe it and think a persons actions are far more important than the words that come out of their mouths. (I'm referencing real life face to face encounters here, because online a persons words are more important because its the ONLY thing there is!)
Now if a child is asking for milk by throwing things at you, then that's a different story and I can understand wanting to try and teach him a better way to ask for something.... but to withhold milk and turn it into a power struggle because he hasn't said the magical word is just MEAN in my opinion. In this instance, I feel you were far ruder than he, and it was you who lacked the manners in this circumstance. You had placed such a great emphasis on words that they were above actions. His actions were telling you he was hungry- this was better than words in my opinion, he communicated his needs very well... did you listen? Instead you tried to get him to meet YOUR need to hear "please" while at the same time he fussed and tried to get you to meet HIS need for "milk." So you both tried at the same time to get your needs met, and in the end, nobody got theirs met (he never said please and you never gave him milk) - Actually this is incorrect, only one was a true NEED, and one was merely a WANT. The need should always trump the want. Since food is a human requirement for life, his request was the real NEED while your request was just a want.
Both words and actions can affect how someone feels, and ultimately, that is what is important. So if you are making someone feel bad (whether by words or actions) then something needs to change.
Some people can lack manners while using please and thank you at all the appropriate times and others can have manners without ever using these words. I've known both kinds of people in my life, and I far prefer the one who NEVER uses so called good mannered "words" but would give you the shirt off his back in a heartbeat, to the one who uses please and thank you one minute and belittles you the next (or even in the same sentence!)
With some people, please and thank you are overrated and overused. The more they are used, the less meaningful they become. Its nice to hear them once in a while, but I don't want to hear them 10 times a day.
Back to the episode where my husband began to teach our son "please" (he was probably same age as yours Im guessing) - he had apparently done this in the few hours he watched him while I was busy elsewhere. Later my husband wasnt even in the room, and my baby was asking for mama's milk "pleeeee" - I felt like my heart was ripped out. I quickly told him he did NOT have to say please for mama's milk. TO me, it sounds like begging. I was insulted! I am going to meet my sons need for nursing WITHOUT having to hear "magical" words! It bothered me terribly but I never made it into a big issue, just told him a few times over the next few days he didn't need to say please to ask for mama's milk, and during the times he was showing me his new signs and words (it didnt bother me nearly as much with other foods or things as it did for nursing) I smiled big and gave him what he wanted (just as I would have done otherwise) and after using it a zillion times for a few weeks, the novelty wore off and he stopped using it at every opportunity.
Originally Posted by MrsBone
So, I guess I let it go too long and now, he knows what it means, and knows how to sign it and say it but refuses. I don't think I've ever heard him say it when I ask. How do I deal with this? he says lots of other words, but throws a hissy fit when I tell him to say please for something. Today, he wanted to nurse, but would just fuss, so I wouldn't nurse him until he said please, or signed it. I finally just said to him if he would sign "milk" please then he could nurse. He went all day just distracting himself and didn't get to nurse and then at bed time, I just didn't give him the opportunity to fuss about it and took him in his room and nursed him to sleep. He passed out because he missed his nap earlier. Am I going about this wrong? Should I keep on him about saying please? I don't want him to think that if he fusses he'll get his way. I always thought he was too young to understand, but then realized that he did understand, and just didn't want to say it. Thanks in advance!
No. Its not like this at all. What you want him to think, is that YOU will always be there for him, fussy or not. We're human. We get fussy sometimes. Its ok to be sad, hungry, angry, scared, etc. We still deserve to have our needs met. You don't want him to feel that you are only going to be there for him and meet his needs if he is only acting "happy" (or using manners or certain words) do you? Is this what real love is?
What you want to do is to love him (and meet his needs, because loving someone also entails meeting their needs) unconditionally.
On a positive note, I'm so glad to hear that at the end of the day, good sense returned and you allowed him to nurse before he even had a chance to fuss. Thank goodness your mother instinct took over and prevented your brain from overanalyzing the use of words too much
He was hungry and he needed to eat. Let him be a baby. Someday when he grows older and he learns how much using "please" means to you, then he will want to use it often on his own just to make you happy, because he loves you, and you will not need to actually "teach" it or force it out of him.
I would also suggest that a good time for learning new things is not when a child is hungry but after a full belly (or while eating). This seemed to be a good time to teach ours new things and I would imagine one would be much more receptive at that time. (I sure would anyway)
Originally Posted by MrsBone
Well it seems like you all agree. I just figured since he can now say many words when I ask him to..like learning new word, I'll tell him to say "example" and he'll say it, so I figured asking him to say please wasn't a huge stretch. I just don't want it to get to the point where he doesn't ever say please as he gets older and feels like he can just whine to get what he wants. You don't think it will be too late to teach him that as he gets older? I'm all about gentle discipline and I don't want to be a tyrant, but I want to do the right thing. He's my first, so I'm not sure where to be a stickler and where to let things go. Ya know?
I'm not sure why he has learned that he has to whine to get what he wants. You might want to address this issue first. If this has become a habit for whatever reason, I think its ok to help teach a constant whiner how to ask for the same thing a better way.... but you can do so entirely without ever using "please" - just by changing the tone of your voice, even with using the very same words.
"I want milk" can be said many different ways for example. Emulate the way you'd like it said after he says it, but I'd stop there with the teaching and fulfill the request (don't turn it into a power struggle and make him repeat after you for example) .. he'll probably get the hang of it after hearing it said correctly a few times.
And a child can still be a whiner, even while using "please!" All they have to do is add please to the sentence and say it the very same way. So clearly, what you are wanting has nothing to do with using "please" but you have a whiner on your hands and you want them to stop whining and start asking differently. Is this right?
If so, I'd leave "please" out of the equation and concentrate on letting him hear the way you'd like it said, just by changing the manner of the voice.