My friends tell my kids they're rude. How to deal. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure if this belongs in the GD forum, but since I don't think it's a disciplinary issue for my child I'm posting it here. Moderators, move it if you need to.

There have been several situations in which people have told my child they were being 'rude.' These are childless people, who have no reason to know what's typical behavior for an age, nor how to talk with kids. Here are some examples:

My 18 month old interrupted a conversation. I say, 'One minute, honey. Wait one minute.' Other person says, as if to back me up, 'Yes, interrupting is rude.' I could cope with this with a five year old, but 18 months, seriously?

Another example is when my three year old was talking to someone and standing very close. The other person told her she was being rude for standing so close. I told DD that people tend to like space around them and DD stepped back immediately.

There are a few chronic offenders in my life that do this often. I really don't like my kids being told they're being rude when their intention is so benign, or at all really. I'm not into labeling kids or their intentions for them. I know this is happening because these people have no experience with kids, but I feel like I should stick up for my kids better than I do. I wouldn't tolerate one of my kids calling someone else rude, or any other name, yet in the moment I cannot think of a way to defend them from the same.

Anyone have a handy phrase along the lines of, 'Don't want to make the moment too uncomfortable, but please don't tell my kid s/he's rude. It's insulting and I don't want him/her to imitate you with someone else. Thanks.'

And in case you're wondering bigger issues do get a swift response from me, albeit in a GD way. My friends aren't having to put up with repetitive disruptive behavior from my kids.

Mom to DD 8 and DS 6.
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#2 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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This is a good question and I'd like to hear suggestions! This only happened to me once. My dd and I were at the self-checkout lane at the grocery store, and she had offered to start packaging the food into bags, but I'm picky about what goes with what so I told her not to worry, I'd do it, and then she and I chatted. So this man walks by and scolds her for being rude because she should be bagging the groceries! I was shocked and just said "she's fine" because that's all that came out of my mouth, though the tone I used probably spoke more than the words. Anyway, I'd love to hear some better ideas! My dd was really really saddened by this when it happened.
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#3 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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I try to use these times as a teaching situation (for everyone if possible) so with the 18month old...

Pal: yes interrupting is rude
Me (to child, smiling and pleased): It sure can be! It's so hard to be polite when you don't know the rules yet isn't it? - you're doing great learning this when you're such a little baby! Most kids are MUCH bigger before they get the hang of it!

or the 3yo
Pal: don't stand so close! It's rude!
Me (to child): people like space around them honey - it's called "personal space" (as she steps back) Great! That's right (then to friend) doesn't she learn fast!? (so enthusiastically they are forced to agree) Then back to DD) If you ever want more personal space you say politely "step back please, you're a little close" (therefore modelling for BOTH of them how one POLITELY deals with this).

Rather than telling people not to be rude, i say something like "i find if i use a friendlier tone she learns better -it's so scary having a grown up correct you harshly when you're 1/3/whatever." Only on two occasions, once when DD1 was told to "shut up" and once when she was called an "idiot" did i immediately and loudly say "No. Do not speak to her like that." and on both occasions the adult in question immediately apologised.

I get that these people don't have kids, but your kids will not only have to deal with others with kids in their lives, so in the long run i would try to educate everyone rather than model correcting adults to your kids.
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#4 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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mamazee in the situation with the random stranger i would have said in my very forceful voice "she is doing EXACTLY as i have asked her to do thank you." and given him my "don't mess with the cub" look.

I do think being able to deal with other people being rude graciously is a useful life skill.
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#5 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
This is a good question and I'd like to hear suggestions! This only happened to me once. My dd and I were at the self-checkout lane at the grocery store, and she had offered to start packaging the food into bags, but I'm picky about what goes with what so I told her not to worry, I'd do it, and then she and I chatted. So this man walks by and scolds her for being rude because she should be bagging the groceries! I was shocked and just said "she's fine" because that's all that came out of my mouth, though the tone I used probably spoke more than the words. Anyway, I'd love to hear some better ideas! My dd was really really saddened by this when it happened.
Wow, I'd have been really upset if a complete stranger did this. I think you responded really well.

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in the long run i would try to educate everyone rather than model correcting adults to your kids.
Good point. That's been my hesitation about saying anything, I don't want to model correcting other people's behavior at all. But your suggestions are great, hopefully I'll remember them next time something like this happens.

Mom to DD 8 and DS 6.
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#6 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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I think perhaps the people are just being more direct than you are used to. Interrupting is rude. It is not accusation that your dd lacks manners. She is simply explaining why one should not interrupt. Because it is rude. (although I think this is over the head of an 18 month old.) I did not see in either example anyone berating or demeaning your child. They were simply giving them a reason why one should not interrupt or invade personal space. because those things are considered rude.

In mamazee's example though....What an odd exchange. I would have simply reinforced to my child that she was fine and then tell her I was sorry that man spoke to her so rudely. It was none of his business what we were doing or why.

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#7 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 09:42 PM
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I've pointed out that according to Emily Post, correcting someone else's manners is one of the rudest things one can do. Good manner and politeness are all about making people feel comfortable, and telling someone else that he is being rude doesn't accomplish this.

That's what I would say on a good day, anyway... on a bad day I would say something... less polite. Grrr.
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#8 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 09:58 PM
 
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I would just like to point out that saying "interrupting is rude" is entirely different than calling the child rude. "Interrupting is rude" is calling the ACTION rude, not the child...and in another 18 months or 2 years or so, it's likely exactly what you will be saying to your child.
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#9 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 09:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
I try to use these times as a teaching situation (for everyone if possible) so with the 18month old...

Pal: yes interrupting is rude
Me (to child, smiling and pleased): It sure can be! It's so hard to be polite when you don't know the rules yet isn't it? - you're doing great learning this when you're such a little baby! Most kids are MUCH bigger before they get the hang of it!

or the 3yo
Pal: don't stand so close! It's rude!
Me (to child): people like space around them honey - it's called "personal space" (as she steps back) Great! That's right (then to friend) doesn't she learn fast!? (so enthusiastically they are forced to agree) Then back to DD) If you ever want more personal space you say politely "step back please, you're a little close" (therefore modelling for BOTH of them how one POLITELY deals with this).

Rather than telling people not to be rude, i say something like "i find if i use a friendlier tone she learns better -it's so scary having a grown up correct you harshly when you're 1/3/whatever." Only on two occasions, once when DD1 was told to "shut up" and once when she was called an "idiot" did i immediately and loudly say "No. Do not speak to her like that." and on both occasions the adult in question immediately apologised.

I get that these people don't have kids, but your kids will not only have to deal with others with kids in their lives, so in the long run i would try to educate everyone rather than model correcting adults to your kids.
Yes, yes, yes.

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I think perhaps the people are just being more direct than you are used to. Interrupting is rude. It is not accusation that your dd lacks manners. She is simply explaining why one should not interrupt. Because it is rude. (although I think this is over the head of an 18 month old.) I did not see in either example anyone berating or demeaning your child. They were simply giving them a reason why one should not interrupt or invade personal space. because those things are considered rude..
And this, too. I actually use the word rude with my kids, from the get go (I'd say by 18 months I was using them) - but not in an accusatory, snotty way, just a factual way to describe to them how their actions are perceived by others - it's not loaded with any shame, it is informative, and is followed by an alternative thing they can do instead. I use all sorts of "big" words with them about behaviors so that they learn the words and are able to learn alternates. WOrds like rude, impatient, impolite....and the positive ones like kind, patient, polite, thoughtful.

If, however, it was someone else telling my kid they were rude with a tone of voice laden with attitude, it would be the adult's tone I had the problem with moreso than the words themselves.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#10 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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This is a great post, my question in trying to navigate these situations is where is the line between correcting other adults and sticking up for my child?

As a child I felt that no one stuck up for me when my gpa was cruel to me and it is something I still remember. I am very sensitive to this and never want my children to have to go through what I went through.

I find that strangers are amazingly rude and intrusive sometimes and it really irks me. I try to nicely say something like, "I can handle this, thanks".

So, where is the line? I don't want to be rude when addressing rude behavior, especially bc I realize that most people are acting out of cluelessness instead of meanness.

(Don't mean to hijack, sorry!)

Wife to dh, Mommy to ds1 12/2002, ds2 9/2005, and ds3 9/2008.
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#11 of 51 Old 09-06-2010, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post
I would just like to point out that saying "interrupting is rude" is entirely different than calling the child rude. "Interrupting is rude" is calling the ACTION rude, not the child...and in another 18 months or 2 years or so, it's likely exactly what you will be saying to your child.
It may be a stylistic difference, but I find it more helpful with my children to point out how their actions affect other people than to ascribe a motivation to them. It's just what works with me and my kids so I don't think I'll be telling them they're behavior is rude any time soon. I may very likely tell them that behavior x causes pain, damages the furniture, or hurts peoples feelings, but because I'm not in their heads I try to avoid ascribing motivation. And it doesn't really matter; for example, they need to learn not to interrupt, whether they've interrupted through rudeness, thoughtlessness, or impulsiveness.

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If, however, it was someone else telling my kid they were rude with a tone of voice laden with attitude, it would be the adult's tone I had the problem with moreso than the words themselves.
Well, the tone is kinda there. , and they're not people who have much of a relationship with my kids. They have one with me, but not the kids. That's a big part of the issue for me. If they knew my kids better they'd have a better idea of how to negotiate their own needs with them without getting upset about the poor social skills of babies and toddlers.

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Originally Posted by tanyam926 View Post
This is a great post, my question in trying to navigate these situations is where is the line between correcting other adults and sticking up for my child?

As a child I felt that no one stuck up for me when my gpa was cruel to me and it is something I still remember. I am very sensitive to this and never want my children to have to go through what I went through.

I find that strangers are amazingly rude and intrusive sometimes and it really irks me. I try to nicely say something like, "I can handle this, thanks".

So, where is the line? I don't want to be rude when addressing rude behavior, especially bc I realize that most people are acting out of cluelessness instead of meanness.

(Don't mean to hijack, sorry!)
No worries about hijacking! I think you asked the question better than I did, especially the bolded part. Thanks!

Mom to DD 8 and DS 6.
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#12 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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I don't know if this would work exactly, maybe you could reply, with a smile and a chuckle, "Don't be silly! DC isn't being rude, he's being a toddler!" Just to plant the seed that your child should maybe not be held to the same standards as an adult.

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#13 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 04:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
I try to use these times as a teaching situation (for everyone if possible) so with the 18month old...

Pal: yes interrupting is rude
Me (to child, smiling and pleased): It sure can be! It's so hard to be polite when you don't know the rules yet isn't it? - you're doing great learning this when you're such a little baby! Most kids are MUCH bigger before they get the hang of it!

or the 3yo
Pal: don't stand so close! It's rude!
Me (to child): people like space around them honey - it's called "personal space" (as she steps back) Great! That's right (then to friend) doesn't she learn fast!? (so enthusiastically they are forced to agree) Then back to DD) If you ever want more personal space you say politely "step back please, you're a little close" (therefore modelling for BOTH of them how one POLITELY deals with this).

Rather than telling people not to be rude, i say something like "i find if i use a friendlier tone she learns better -it's so scary having a grown up correct you harshly when you're 1/3/whatever." Only on two occasions, once when DD1 was told to "shut up" and once when she was called an "idiot" did i immediately and loudly say "No. Do not speak to her like that." and on both occasions the adult in question immediately apologised.

I get that these people don't have kids, but your kids will not only have to deal with others with kids in their lives, so in the long run i would try to educate everyone rather than model correcting adults to your kids.
love this post. great advice and, although I'm not the OP, I'm going to try and incorporate some of the suggestions into situations I come across.

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I've pointed out that according to Emily Post, correcting someone else's manners is one of the rudest things one can do. Good manner and politeness are all about making people feel comfortable, and telling someone else that he is being rude doesn't accomplish this.
I was going to post this very thing! Miss Manners says the same thing.

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I don't know if this would work exactly, maybe you could reply, with a smile and a chuckle, "Don't be silly! DC isn't being rude, he's being a toddler!" Just to plant the seed that your child should maybe not be held to the same standards as an adult.
Also a nice response.
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#14 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 10:47 AM
 
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I don't see anything wrong with what your kids said. Both actions are rude, and I fully believe an 18MO can learn that. I would have (and probably did) said, "interrupting while others are talking is impolite. You have to wait your turn." By 18MO, my kids got that, even if they didn't always follow through. As for the personal space, well, your friend has the right to tell your dd how she feels about her own space. Just because she didn't choose the exact words you did doesn't mean she's mean or that it's only because she's childless.


My nephew used to hang from our arms all the time while we were sitting down. It really bothered me, and BIL & SIL always said, "you don't have kids..." You know what? I have kids, and I still don't let people grab my arm and hang. Plus I still have to tell my 10YO nephew that he needs to respect others' desires not to be touched or pulled on all the time.

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#15 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 02:00 PM
 
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When we come down to it, though.... interrupting IS rude. There really isn't anything wrong with saying it. So is violating personal space. And I don't know that it's wrong - or rude - of the person who feels violated to say so.
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I think it really is a matter of presentation. You can say just about anything to someone tactfully and not offend them.....but often people don't use tact with kids because they don't think they "deserve" it or something. Tone of voice is SO important and probably the isue at hand here, more than the word "rude".

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#17 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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My 8-year-old didn't understand the concept of interrupting when she was 18 months, and my 19-month-old does not at all understand that either. She's a walking baby. I don't think it's reasonable to expect an 18-month-old to understand that, and I don't think it's reasonable to then put a label like "rude" on him/her or even his/her babyish behavior.
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#18 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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I don't think they are expecting an 18 month old to understand it yet. But learning comes with repetition. The more my kids here "Don't interrupt, honey. Interrupting is impolite/rude" the sooner they will associate interrupting with their actions and rudeness with non desirable behavior. I think it is all part of learning and I do not get offended when people interact with my child in ways that teach her social mores and cultural values. Its part of being part of the larger community around you. So long as it is done in a loving or neutral manner i do not mind (and actually value) other people correcting my child. Even if it is not something i value they need to learn that other people do.

Learning to function in your society and culture is part of growing up. If we don't start teaching them as infants then when? Are we not holding them back by refusing to teach them to interact in socially acceptable ways? if we do not teach them to be a part of the social group?

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#19 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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I think you're never too young to start learning manners - even at 18 months children can be told that an action is rude. The way it is taught is another thing all together.

If these people are "Friends", then they must be close enough to you to think that they are in the circle of people who are considered the "village" that will raise your child. If that is not the case, I think it's your prerogative to tell them to not correct your child. Otherwise, I don't see anything wrong with what they did. They said what needed to be said, perhaps not very gingerly, but still...
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#20 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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I think the way to start teaching a toddler not to interrupt is to say, "Just a minute honey, Mommy is talking to grandma. I'll talk to you when I'm done talking to grandma." But "interruption" and "rude" are not concepts an 18-month-old is going to get. When they can understand those concepts, it makes sense to frame it in that way, but it doesn't make sense to call the very normal behavior of an 18-month-old "rude" when it's just babyish behavior. Is it rude when a 3-month-old cries when someone is talking? No, it's just a baby. And when a toddler is thrashing around, the toddler isn't bullying, and in the same way when a toddler babbles when someone else is talking, it isn't "rude."
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#21 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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Diff'rent strokes. But saying a behavior is "rude" is not akin to hurling obscenities at a child. I don't see how "interrupting while others are talking is impolite. You have to wait your turn." is significantly different that "please don't interrupt - it's rude". Except that the former takes a lot longer to say and the kid has likely tuned out by the time you get to the end.
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#22 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Very interesting responses! I suppose this thread could also be titled 'other people disciplining my children in a style I'm not comfortable with.'

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I've pointed out that according to Emily Post, correcting someone else's manners is one of the rudest things one can do. Good manner and politeness are all about making people feel comfortable, and telling someone else that he is being rude doesn't accomplish this.
Yes, I'd ever tell an adult what they did was rude, I'd find some other way to express my need and wishes. "I'm talking, I will speak with you when I am done," said with a tone appropriate to the situation is much more effective to me than telling an adult they're actions are rude. Same for kids.

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I think you're never too young to start learning manners - even at 18 months children can be told that an action is rude. The way it is taught is another thing all together.

If these people are "Friends", then they must be close enough to you to think that they are in the circle of people who are considered the "village" that will raise your child. If that is not the case, I think it's your prerogative to tell them to not correct your child. Otherwise, I don't see anything wrong with what they did. They said what needed to be said, perhaps not very gingerly, but still...
Oh, I totally agree. Manners are important and teaching them all lies in the 'how.' From the moment my kids start interrupting I have them wait. A few seconds for a baby, longer for a toddler; my 3.5 year old must wait until the conversation is done before I'll turn to her (except in emergencies or extremely long conversations of course). But "I'm talking, I don't like being interrupted. Please wait until I am done.'' is miles different to me than 'you're being rude.' Maybe that's me; I'll need to think more why these are so very different for me. I guess I'm trying to teach manners not just directly but by exemplification. Telling someone they're being rude, especially someone else's child, just feels really harsh to me. I don't want to say it, I don't want to hear it. I think I mentioned in a PP that this isn't a 'hey, please be aware that interrupting is rude,' type of a remark, but a sharp reprimand.

The personal space issue is so very culturally bound. We have lots of friends and family from different cultures and all have different personal space requirements. In the example, my DD was standing as close to my friend as my Dad's side of the family would stand to her. Yes, I think she's entirely capable of learning that different people like different levels of closeness, but at three she needs more direct education about this. To label her behavior as rude without first saying, 'I'd like a little more space', or even shifting position to give oneself more space, is neither effective or respectful. Will she now think of her family and friends who stand close as rude? Will she start telling them that? Big can of worms here. Or, to look at it another way, big teachable moment!

And I totally agree, I need to talk to these people about this, I'm just struggling with the words. I've been talking more about my discipline style around them so they get a sense of what my kids are used to. Maybe it will take eventually.

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#23 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Diff'rent strokes. But saying a behavior is "rude" is not akin to hurling obscenities at a child.
Nope, definitely not. It would be a much easier dilemma to solve if it were about hurling obscenities!

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#24 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 04:17 PM
 
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I don't know if this would work exactly, maybe you could reply, with a smile and a chuckle, "Don't be silly! DC isn't being rude, he's being a toddler!" Just to plant the seed that your child should maybe not be held to the same standards as an adult.
Why is it silly to not want to be interrupted or to have your personal space invaded? I think if your goal is to have your children respected and treated with dignity, you shouldn't belittle adult feelings either.

Granted, I hate that phrase "Don't be silly", though. I've never seen it used in a way that wasn't a blowoff.
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#25 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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I actually try to hold even babies to the same standards as adults, but without the associated expectation. Like i do think everyone should be reminded of good manners when it becomes necessary, i will even (for DD1's sake) say to DD2 (who is 3 months old!) "oh honey, please don't yell when DD is telling me her story" (as i lift her to nurse for a bit). My mum once told me to treat a new baby like a foreign adult - be VERY respectful, they are real, thinking, feeling people, be VERY patient, they are in a totally alien culture and are yet to learn the language, the norms and the niceties, be VERY helpful, they are relying on you to help them navigate the world they find themself in.

So i think it's ok to ask an 18month old baby to behave in a more well-mannered way, i just think it's unfair and unkind to display the irritation one might have towards an adult being so rude to a little child.
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#26 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 04:34 PM
 
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yeah, saying "interrupting is rude" is more blunt than "it's not polite to interrupt" or "we wait until people are talking," but they all address the same behavior and do not label the person/child being spoken to.

i was raised in a culture where it is acceptable and expected to "parent" other people's children. thankfully, my closest mom friends know this about me and also do the same. i have no problem asking my friend's 19-month old daughter (and did many times this morning) to use gentle hands and that it makes other people sad when we are rough with them. and when my 20-month old daughter steps out of line, i appreciate my friend calling out my daughter. i'm all about the "takes a village" model.

hoping for a !
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#27 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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i tend to just ignore it because it usually comes from two of my three siblings. the two without kids

mama to one '07 and one '09
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#28 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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I agree with the people who say that there's nothing wrong with telling a child that certain behaviors are rude.

But if it really bothers you, I'd just say "thanks, I got it. She's so young, she gets confused when she gets a bunch of directions from different people all at once."

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#29 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
Why is it silly to not want to be interrupted or to have your personal space invaded? I think if your goal is to have your children respected and treated with dignity, you shouldn't belittle adult feelings either.

Granted, I hate that phrase "Don't be silly", though. I've never seen it used in a way that wasn't a blowoff.
I think you may have missed the part where I had already dealt with the interruption. It's not silly to not want to be interrupted. My issue is that I've been respectful to the adult by having the 18-month old wait, but I don't believe I'm being respectful to the child by having them be reprimanded simply because they don't yet know social expectations. As I said before, it's not a simple teaching of 'interrupting is rude', but a putting down type of tone. It's hard to explain, but I do have friends who have a more educational approach with my children, and it doesn't bother me a bit. What I'm talking about here is different. And generally it is done after I've already done something, as a sort of back up after the situation has been resolved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
I actually try to hold even babies to the same standards as adults, but without the associated expectation. Like i do think everyone should be reminded of good manners when it becomes necessary, i will even (for DD1's sake) say to DD2 (who is 3 months old!) "oh honey, please don't yell when DD is telling me her story" (as i lift her to nurse for a bit). My mum once told me to treat a new baby like a foreign adult - be VERY respectful, they are real, thinking, feeling people, be VERY patient, they are in a totally alien culture and are yet to learn the language, the norms and the niceties, be VERY helpful, they are relying on you to help them navigate the world they find themself in.

So i think it's ok to ask an 18month old baby to behave in a more well-mannered way, i just think it's unfair and unkind to display the irritation one might have towards an adult being so rude to a little child.
I LOVE what your mother said about how to treat. Beautiful. She must be a very wise woman.


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Originally Posted by lach View Post
I agree with the people who say that there's nothing wrong with telling a child that certain behaviors are rude.

But if it really bothers you, I'd just say "thanks, I got it. She's so young, she gets confused when she gets a bunch of directions from different people all at once."
I like this response. Very respectful all around.

Mom to DD 8 and DS 6.
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#30 of 51 Old 09-07-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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When someone speaks to my child in a way I feel is not appropriate or helpful, I make a big over-the-top deal of "translating" for my child what they are saying into a way of saying it that is much more positive. ie, "he would like for you to please wait until he is finished talking, then it is your turn to talk, so everyone gets their turn. Thanks !" Then I smile sweetly at the adult. If the adult finds this rude, oh well. My kid. I'll translate poorly worded things for them if I want to.

Regarding the guy at the grocery store, I wouldn't hesitate to correct him on the spot. IMO that's not rude; it's verbally defending your kid against completely unsolicited, unwarranted, rude, critical interference from an uninvolved stranger who should have minded his own beeswax. "No, she's doing just fine. I like to bag them myself."
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and 3 , in our happy secular
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