My dd, who is a lovely, bright almost-4 year old, will often times clam up totally in front of people she doesn't know very well when she should be being polite. I don't like it but I'm not convinced that it's something I need to worry too much about right now at this age, but what do you all think?
Example: when we go to the grocery store and the check-out person smiles at her and talks to her and gives her stickers. I tell her to say thank you and she shakes her head sullenly and refuses. Or when we pick her and her brother up from day care and she comes into the baby room where I'm nursing her brother and the women who work there all fawn over her and say hi and try to talk to her and she either says nothing or sometimes she even grunts grumpily at them. When I tell her to say "thank you" or to say hello back or whatever the situation requires, she will hiss at me, "Mommy, I'm SHY!" I try to tell her that's okay to be shy but that you still have to be polite. When it's a case of someone giving her something and her refusing to thank them, I don't let her have the thing.
Which brings me to the sort of second prong of this question: How would you deal with this if you did think it warranted addressing? I often find myself self-conscious of "punishing" her in front of other people, nor do I know exactly what sort of discipline or motivation would work in this situation, apart from the withholding of gifts that people try to give her when she doesn't say thank you. But what about her just refusing to say hi or answer peoples questions or whatever? What can/should I do in this instances?
Any advice or opinions would be much appreciated, TIA!