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when to start with manners? - Page 3

post #41 of 317
Tinkerbelle, thanks!

Quote:
When it's time to wash hands, I say, "Let's wash our hands together." Not, "Go wash your hands please." I think its a world of difference in how the DC feels about themselves and their relationship with you.
And what if it's not something you're going to do together?

I'm thinking--I would probably say, "It's time to wash your hands," or "Let's go wash your hands."

Again, after a point I believe one is overthinking things and aspiring to an unrealistic standard of "noncoerciveness." Children do not know everything they need to know to be citizens of the world. It is part of my job as the parent to help them learn these things. I don't think that's disrespectful. I think it's actually respectful--not just of the child (who is probably going to run into some trouble later in life if never informed of basic social graces, such as saying "Thank you" for a gift they don't necessarily want) but of society as a whole.

How do you teach your child not to scream in a restaurant or spit on the sidewalk? Do you simply expect him or her to follow your example and not do those things because you don't? Or might you offer an explanation and reminder? How is that not "embarrassing" your child? How is this different?
post #42 of 317
Quote:
Originally Posted by aira
This is all about the meaning content of words, and communication in general. I'll give a scenario. You remind a young DS to say "Thank You" to Grandma for, let's say, a very itchy sweater that she knitted him. He's not feeling all that grateful for it - b/c it hurts and she wants him to wear it all day - but is told to express gratitude anyway. He learns that "Thank You" is essentially a meaningless phrase, and that when you and dad "model" it, you're really just saying meaningless words too. Either he will resent being made to express thoughts that are not his, or he'll just do it and his ability to actually foster feelings of gratitude will be hampered. Maybe both. The point is that language usage helps form our thinking patterns, and misused language clutters and harms our ability to think a certain way - like having actual gratitude.
Hmmm. Or maybe he'll learn that "Thank you" is something you say to someone when they've done something for you, whether you like it or not, because of the effect it has on the person being thanked. And maybe he'll learn that he has a positive effect on people's feelings, and that using good manners seems to improve the mood of the people that he interacts with, and that certain phrases and mannerisms seem to endear people to him, and that helps him navigate society with confidence and in turn boosts his self-esteem. If we want to overthink things...

I agree with Loraxc. My dd is a thinker, too. She wants to thank people, she might not remember. I am a subtle, intuitive person who is strongly bonded to my dd and can tell when she's embarassed. When I gently whisper to her to thank the person who just gave her a sucker, I'm not shaming her. I'm instructing her in the ways of the world. And I'm all for insincere thanks. I mean, I'm just not really that grateful to the person who rung up my groceries. But I'm still going to say thanks.
post #43 of 317
What you call overthinking, I call putting thoughtful, conscious intention into all my actions.

Potayto, Potahto I guess.

"Oh, you feel like screaming? Let's go do it outside so no one will mind." Or, "I'll take you outside to scream when we are done here. Let's wait until then to make noise."

"If you need to spit, I'll give you something to spit it into."

I don't call attention to their faults. Period.


Quote:
And I'm all for insincere thanks. I mean, I'm just not really that grateful to the person who rung up my groceries. But I'm still going to say thanks.
Well, I actually am grateful. Perhaps that's where we differ on this.
post #44 of 317
Quote:
"Oh, you feel like screaming? Let's go do it outside so no one will mind." Or, "I'll take you outside to scream when we are done here. Let's wait until then to make noise."

"If you need to spit, I'll give you something to spit it into."
Hmm-- you are still essentially controlling their actions and telling them what to do, are you not? I could see myself saying the second response (probably not the first) in the restaurant example, and probably the spitting one as well, by the way. I would probably explain why I was making these requests. ("This isn't a place for screaming. We stay quiet in restaurants so other people can enjoy their food." "People don't like to step in spit. That's why we don't spit on the floor.")

But in the broadest sense, I think these requests could be called coercive, unless you do not have any follow-through if your child does not do as you suggest. (I.e, child continues to spit, and you ignore this.) I still don't see why it is okay to gently guide children to behave in socially acceptable ways in some situations (being quiet in a restaurant) but not in others (saying thank you for an unliked gift).
post #45 of 317
Here is one for you to add in the mix - what if the gentle reminder is done in different language AND in casual tone, so nobody but DD and I understand? Would that still be embarrassing to her?
post #46 of 317
As most of the pp have said, children imitate what they see. We always say please, thank you excuse me etc and dd just naturally followed our lead.My mother often corrected grammer etc and i find myself doing the same. i have to try to watch that in public i don't wanrt to embarrass anyone!
post #47 of 317
Quote:
You remind a young DS to say "Thank You" to Grandma for, let's say, a very itchy sweater that she knitted him. He's not feeling all that grateful for it - b/c it hurts and she wants him to wear it all day - but is told to express gratitude anyway. He learns that "Thank You" is essentially a meaningless phrase, and that when you and dad "model" it, you're really just saying meaningless words too. Either he will resent being made to express thoughts that are not his, or he'll just do it and his ability to actually foster feelings of gratitude will be hampered. Maybe both. The point is that language usage helps form our thinking patterns, and misused language clutters and harms our ability to think a certain way - like having actual gratitude.
aira - i mostly agree with you on this. in this situation, i'd probably thank grandma myself and say to DS that it was very nice of her to take the time to knit something for him. i wouldn't expect or demand that he thank her. eventually, i hope that he will see that the "thank you" was more for her effort and less for the result. he's 2.5 so he's not gonna get that for a while. LOL but i agree, i don't want to teach him that "thank you" is meaningless.
post #48 of 317
Quote:
"Oh, you feel like screaming? Let's go do it outside so no one will mind." Or, "I'll take you outside to scream when we are done here. Let's wait until then to make noise."

"If you need to spit, I'll give you something to spit it into."

I don't call attention to their faults. Period.
Okay I agree with everyone here, even the people that have differing opinions all have something valuable to add to this discussion, and I am in agreement with most of it. It's thoughtful of a parent to not bring attention to a child's "faults" in public, but to be honest, I don't like the word fault and I wouldn't use it to describe natural toddler/child behaviour. Maybe I would call it instead "undesirable behaviour", and it should have attention called to it - in a constructive manner. Meaning, instead of encouraging a child to "spit later" or whatever, perhaps we could implore them to not do it at all, for reasons XYZ. If it is such an undesirable behaviour.

Modelling does work, better than anything I'm sure, and sometimes I have to remind myself of dd's age and the expectations I should or should not have of her. But as I have said in another "non-coercive" thread: sometimes people put so much stock in a particular belief system that when it doesn't truly apply to something, they have to invent new rules to allow that something to fit into the system.

When we don't put ourselves into a label (such as non-coerc), we give ourselves the freedom as parents to be creative but also to use tactics that work for us, whether they fit in a system or not. Just my opinion, as I said, I agree with most people here. But some things are just hard for me to put stock in.
post #49 of 317

Just my .02

I am speaking strictly from personal experience here.

My parents did not explicitly teach me manners and I never really picked up on a lot of stuff (not just manners, but social skills too)!

I do NOT think it is embarrassing to be reminded...if done discretely. I have instructed my boyfriend to remind me to say please, say thank you, chew with my mouth shut : , etc. if he is able to do so discretely. Obviously, I do not want him to announcing a faux pas (spelling?) loudly in a restaurant, for example. But discrete reminders, given in love, are very much appreciated and certainly much better than my mother's approach when I am home which is to nag me about my lack of manners.

I think that whether or not a reminder is embarrassing and demeaning to the child depends on the child, the situation, what the parent says, and how the parent says it. A parent needs to discern (which I imagine can be difficult) how their child is feeling about reminders. Alternatively, ask the child what they would like you to do. "DC do reminders help you learn manners or are you already working hard on being polite and resent being reminded?" Not really sure this would actually work, but just an idea.

Again, just my .02.
post #50 of 317
This is an interesting thread. I believe many here are enmeshed with the idea that their child either is unwilling or unable to use some *expected* level of manners by some arbitrary point in time. And thus feel a need to alter the course of that by prompting/reminding them to use manners. None-the-less, encouraging insincerity for the potential people pleasing benefit. :

However, how does one *know* they won't use manners consistently, if not perfectly through your sincere (or insincere) modelling alone, if provided "enough" time? Perhaps, they genuinely don't want to thank the person.

I certainly would consider it rude, condescending and embarrassing to have anyone prompt/remind me of manners, unless I solicited them to do so. Basically, the child's "choice" is to refuse or comply. "Reminding" certainly seems to be on the cusp of humiliation, if done with any other audience observing. Even "politely" reminded publicly. : It seems that the need to 'show that we are teaching manners' is the underlying need and this is basically a reflection of being 'embarrassed' by "our" child's lack of propriety. This is where the child's is being judged. Not by the audience, but by the parent. And I firmly believe this has much more potential for harming their dignity than any 'lack of manners' perceived by others, especially before age whatever~ 6, 12, 18?

I have no such expectations, deadlines, or enmeshed attribution (pride, nor embarrassment) to our son's choice to use, or not to use, manners "with propriety". His authentic behavior is separate from mine, irrelevant of how others choose to judge him or me. I model authentic gratitude and he does the same. Those who expect inauthentic gratitude are apt to be disappointed. ........By both of us.

I would only thank someone "for our son" if the convention was to do so and he was unaware of the practice. Since we consistently model thanking people for many things everyday in many interactions, I don't know how he couldn't be aware of the practice. Same with please and excuse me. I believe a child's genuine delight at receiving a gift is their own sincere way of communicating their delight at receiving the gift. It may be that they run off and play with it; jump up and down with glee; or exclaim 'oh, this is what I wanted!!'. Other times, they may also demonstrate their genuine disappointment with a gift and say nothing, decline the gift or push it away. I certainly wouldn't choose to manipulate our son's honesty in order to accomplish a goal of pleasing another. That seems to engender lying as a culturally (parentally) sanctioned tool of manipulating other's feelings for one's own benefits.

I would thank someone for their effort though, regardless of ds's response, assuming I did appreciate the effort. (I am thinking that I don't know if I would thank someone for buying ds a toy gun, perhaps.

I totally agree that the principles of honesty and dignity are as relevant as non-coercion regarding manners. In my opinion, coercing or promoting insincerity seems to be undignified, even (AND ESPECIALLY) for the "benefit" of societal propriety. For those things that actually impose on others (of which he is unaware), such as loud voices at the symphony, I provide observations of other people's reactions and provide information regarding conventions. I would even directly request that he moderate his voice, for my benefit of attending. Or I'd provide information about not wanting to step in spit on the sidewalk, or whatever. But there is no expectation (on my part) that our son comply. However, I would choose to leave a place if our son was unwilling or unable to moderate his disruption of others. And I'd facilitate him to meet his needs elsewhere. This hasn't required coercion though, nor humiliation; just advocation to meet both his needs and other's needs in a mutually agreeable manner.

I believe that modelling "works", if unjudged opportunities consistently exist. I believe coercion or prompting "works" too, but at what cost and for whose benefit?



Pat
post #51 of 317
Thank you Scubamama! That is exactly how I feel but was completely unable to make it sound right.
post #52 of 317
Nail on the head, scubamama...

Thank you for contributing that well-framed explanation.
post #53 of 317
Totally OT: Happy Day of Birthing Aira!

Pat
post #54 of 317
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom
First and foremost I think you model the behaviour you want and you start that about the time they can recognize you as "mom". That's what, about 30 seconds out of the womb? Seriously, I think that modeling is the most important thing you can do and you do that from the very beginning.

Beyond that, my nearly 3 YO is good about saying please and such. I don't think I consiously taught this much before about 2. Now I will wait quietly until she asks nicely rather than demanding something, but I don't nag. I quietly coach proper manners when we are visiting someone. And respect for all of God's creation (including people, yourself and your environment) is THE big value in our family and we talk about it constantly.

I suspect your SIL's children ignore her about things other than manners. Sounds like she has one of those parenting styles that I call "all flutter, no substance." At the point that a child of mine was so rude, I would be standing in front of them, turning off the TV and taking away the snacks and drinks until I got their attention. Then we would probably go home.

If you are effective at teaching respect for others, then manners are a snap.

I have always just tried to model..."Please do this, Thank you for doing that"

I always remind my son until the correct response or a respectable one is given.... I have always heard my son has the best manners (we only do family sharing ) so that makes for different dynamics.
to boot ,
my son is so rude with me ALWAYS ...i keep reminding about manners ... i suppose it is making somewhat of an impression. at this point hdoes mostly the opposite of what i say ...
post #55 of 317
Quote:
My parents did not explicitly teach me manners and I never really picked up on a lot of stuff (not just manners, but social skills too)!
ME TOO!!!

As I entered adulthood I used to find myself struggling with simple phrases such as Thank you (and even I love you, but that's OT). For instance, if someone would compliment me, I had trouble thanking them for the compliment. I would toss it off as in "Oh, I guess so..", etc. I believe this was because my family was *normal* with manners, but definitly wasn't big on emotions. I still struggle with this, but not so much now. I am very in touch with my emotions, but I don't share them easily. I bottle them up and it translates to my manners and how I greet strangers. It's frustrating but it's learned (or rather, not learned) behaviour from the behaviour my own parents modelled.
post #56 of 317
Quote:
It seems that the need to 'show that we are teaching manners' is the underlying need and this is basically a reflection of being 'embarrassed' by "our" child's lack of propriety. This is where the child's is being judged. Not by the audience, but by the parent.
I agree. I posted this in another thread before, but I see this all the time:

I was at the library and a grandmother had her not-even-two-year-old granddaughter with her. An older boy handed the little girl a puppet and the grandmother urged the little girl to say thank you a total of five times. I felt sick. I guess that's how it was done when she was raising kids (or rather - small adults), but I do believe that 2 is definitely young to be expecting manners, let alone empathy....
post #57 of 317
I think there is a real difference between reminding or correcting children in front of other people and talking about manners in a general way in private.

When I have lived in other countries with another language, I primarily learned how to do things by following what was modelled to me. But it was always helpful when someone took the time to explain "this is how we do things here." And I remember so often as a child being confused about what was going on or expected of me. Conversation and information ahead of time can ease that. I read posts from mamas here who do a lot of role playing in fun ways with their children to prepare them for different situations. I love that idea. It is a step beyond modeling but in no way means coercing behavior. You can still trust that they will put the ideas into action on their own timetable as appropriate for them and not try to force them to "be polite" in social situations.

Conversation may also help children understand why we use the social conventions that we do. For example, my gratitude is not based solely on my like/dislike of the gift. I have been truly grateful for some atrocious gifts because I appreciate the effort, thought and love that went into them. I don't expect a young child to make that distinction themselves, or a two-year-old to understand it even with explanation. I would be glad to offer thanks on their behalf. But I think that would be a valuable conversation topic with an older child.
post #58 of 317
Quote:
I think there is a real difference between reminding or correcting children in front of other people and talking about manners in a general way in private.

When I have lived in other countries with another language, I primarily learned how to do things by following what was modelled to me. But it was always helpful when someone took the time to explain "this is how we do things here." And I remember so often as a child being confused about what was going on or expected of me. Conversation and information ahead of time can ease that. I read posts from mamas here who do a lot of role playing in fun ways with their children to prepare them for different situations. I love that idea. It is a step beyond modeling but in no way means coercing behavior. You can still trust that they will put the ideas into action on their own timetable as appropriate for them and not try to force them to "be polite" in social situations.

Conversation may also help children understand why we use the social conventions that we do. For example, my gratitude is not based solely on my like/dislike of the gift. I have been truly grateful for some atrocious gifts because I appreciate the effort, thought and love that went into them. I don't expect a young child to make that distinction themselves, or a two-year-old to understand it even with explanation. I would be glad to offer thanks on their behalf. But I think that would be a valuable conversation topic with an older child.
to alamama

What an excellent comparison! I really like this! Sounds like a great idea to instruct your children without embarrassing them.

A note about manners for 2 year olds...they are 2!!!! According to Piaget, a cognitive psychologist, children at this age are in the preoperational stage of cognitive development. One of the defining features of this stage is egocentrism. For a while, children are simply not able to see things from the perspective of others. It is a cognitive thing. As much as empathy is a value in our culture, it is something you cannot develop until you are cognitively ready, KWIM?

Also, SunRayeMomi, I'm glad I'm not the only one learning manners and social interaciton as an adult!
post #59 of 317
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
This is an interesting thread. I believe many here are enmeshed with the idea that their child either is unwilling or unable to use some *expected* level of manners by some arbitrary point in time. And thus feel a need to alter the course of that by prompting/reminding them to use manners. None-the-less, encouraging insincerity for the potential people pleasing benefit. :

However, how does one *know* they won't use manners consistently, if not perfectly through your sincere (or insincere) modelling alone, if provided "enough" time? Perhaps, they genuinely don't want to thank the person.

I certainly would consider it rude, condescending and embarrassing to have anyone prompt/remind me of manners, unless I solicited them to do so. Basically, the child's "choice" is to refuse or comply. "Reminding" certainly seems to be on the cusp of humiliation, if done with any other audience observing. Even "politely" reminded publicly. : It seems that the need to 'show that we are teaching manners' is the underlying need and this is basically a reflection of being 'embarrassed' by "our" child's lack of propriety. This is where the child's is being judged. Not by the audience, but by the parent. And I firmly believe this has much more potential for harming their dignity than any 'lack of manners' perceived by others, especially before age whatever~ 6, 12, 18?

I have no such expectations, deadlines, or enmeshed attribution (pride, nor embarrassment) to our son's choice to use, or not to use, manners "with propriety". His authentic behavior is separate from mine, irrelevant of how others choose to judge him or me. I model authentic gratitude and he does the same. Those who expect inauthentic gratitude are apt to be disappointed. ........By both of us.

I would only thank someone "for our son" if the convention was to do so and he was unaware of the practice. Since we consistently model thanking people for many things everyday in many interactions, I don't know how he couldn't be aware of the practice. Same with please and excuse me. I believe a child's genuine delight at receiving a gift is their own sincere way of communicating their delight at receiving the gift. It may be that they run off and play with it; jump up and down with glee; or exclaim 'oh, this is what I wanted!!'. Other times, they may also demonstrate their genuine disappointment with a gift and say nothing, decline the gift or push it away. I certainly wouldn't choose to manipulate our son's honesty in order to accomplish a goal of pleasing another. That seems to engender lying as a culturally (parentally) sanctioned tool of manipulating other's feelings for one's own benefits.

I would thank someone for their effort though, regardless of ds's response, assuming I did appreciate the effort. (I am thinking that I don't know if I would thank someone for buying ds a toy gun, perhaps.

I totally agree that the principles of honesty and dignity are as relevant as non-coercion regarding manners. In my opinion, coercing or promoting insincerity seems to be undignified, even (AND ESPECIALLY) for the "benefit" of societal propriety. For those things that actually impose on others (of which he is unaware), such as loud voices at the symphony, I provide observations of other people's reactions and provide information regarding conventions. I would even directly request that he moderate his voice, for my benefit of attending. Or I'd provide information about not wanting to step in spit on the sidewalk, or whatever. But there is no expectation (on my part) that our son comply. However, I would choose to leave a place if our son was unwilling or unable to moderate his disruption of others. And I'd facilitate him to meet his needs elsewhere. This hasn't required coercion though, nor humiliation; just advocation to meet both his needs and other's needs in a mutually agreeable manner.

I believe that modelling "works", if unjudged opportunities consistently exist. I believe coercion or prompting "works" too, but at what cost and for whose benefit?



Pat

Now, to be fair, a very small child will not know to be polite, even if they do not like the gift. That is where teaching comes in. But, I do not think that saying thank you or acting appreciative for at least the EFFORT of the gift is wicked and evil lying. I mean, if your friend had a baby who was really ugly, would you say so? I am betting you would not. You might find a redeeming quality about the infant or say something that would not be construed as an insult.

I believe that part of raising our children to be decent human beings is to teach them that sometimes, they might receive a gift that they do not like or want. But, the giver went to the trouble to pick/make/obtain that gift for them, and that the child should express thanks regardless, and not express direct displeasure, because that might hurt the other person's feelings.

Although I may disagree with you on some things, I respect your opinion and feel that you raise some good points. I agree that constant nagging or threats, like, "HEY DS. Say thank you or else.", constantly, is definitely wrong, but I do not feel that a "Hey look DS, Aunt Suzy made this hat for you. How nice. Thank you Aunt Suzy." is a bad thing to jog the child's memory if in the excitement of the moment, they forget their manners.

The other day at the doctor's office, the lady asked if my 8 yr old could have a lollipop and I said yes. He took it and said thank you, with no prompting whatsoever. If he had forgotten, I would have said, "That was SO nice, ma'am, thank you." He would have been prompted without embarassment. Oh, and BTW, he thanked ME for letting him have it, when we got to the car, because we do not have candy as a matter of course. It is a treat.

Whether we like it or not, manners matter in our society. It takes no more time and effort to say "thanks", than to say, "Yuck. I don't like that." It takes just as much time to smile as it does to scowl about something we do not like, to spare someone's feelings.

My Grandma is 78 yrs old. She has given me things I do not like and cannot use. You know what I do? I thank her and then later on give the stuff to someone who can use it. I would die before hurting my Grandma's feelings.

My mother taught me that yes, my feelings are important, but other people's are too.

Again, I may not agree with you totally, but I respect what you said. I think you are a very informed Mama, and I enjoy your posts immensely.
post #60 of 317
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
Totally OT: Happy Day of Birthing Aira!
Why thank you for the kind wishes! It was a happy day indeed! (But today is the partying!! WooHoo!!)
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