Hi there. I've read various posts in different places about people not wanting to teach their children manners, along the lines of not wanting to force them to do something, but rather to have them take the initiative themselves. (For example, why force a child to say "I'm sorry" if they don't really mean it). I'm not sure if this is exactly the gist of it - please feel free to elaborate if you want!
Anyway, I do think that manners are important, at least in saying "please" and "thank you" and it's never really been that much of an issue. But I'm not sure how to address something with my ODD, who is 3 (almost 4). Whenever we are out and about, people always smile at her, say hello, complement her on something she's wearing, etc... Now, I would never force her to hug someone, or have a whole conversation, etc., but I do think it's appropriate for her to respond with a "hello" or a smile or a "thank you." Especially because it's often elderly people who are talking to her, and you get the sense that they don't have much interaction and they truly delight in seeing a child. I've tried to talk to her about it, and say that if she's with me, it's okay to say hello back, or to respond by saying "I don't feel like talking right now" if that's the case. Often, she frowns at people or says "NO!" and runs away. This isn't an occasional occurrence, it happens all the time. She's a fairly shy kid, and I think this is her defense mechanism. Usually I just smile apologetically at people. I mean, she is 3. But still....does anyone else have a kid like that? What strategies do you use? Anyone else have insights or advice on how to handle this situation?