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#61 of 126 Old 12-21-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dynamicdoula View Post
My experience (11yo, 7yo and 15mo) is that saying, "Please pick up your toys," does not come across as an option but a respectful request. Consequently my kids all return that same language.
same here.
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#62 of 126 Old 12-21-2008, 02:01 PM
 
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It's the question words that make it an option versus a request. "Will you" or "Would you" or "Can you" all lead to a question, whether or not there's a please at the end. And a question has an answer which could be yes or could be no. It's not the "please" that makes it optional imo but whether or not it's phrased as a question.

For example, growing up my dad would often say "Betsy, how would you like to unload the dishwasher?" I would often say, "no." Then he would say, "Well, do it anyway!" And in psychology and counseling (my degree) we're taught not to say "Can you do x?" or "Could you do x?" because you're not asking if they are physically able to do a task (yes, I am able to unload the dishwasher but I'm not going to).

To me, a request that's phrased as a question (will you do x) is much more passive and disrespectful to a child or any other person than adding a please to a legitimate request because you're asking a question that only has one right answer.

It's very interesting following this thread! So many different experiences and interpretations.

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#63 of 126 Old 12-21-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by octobermom View Post
First off know this is jsut an area that is a huge sore spot for me personally its not a reflection on how I view every other persons ways of handling it.. but to me I would likely say please bring home a gallon of milk because well it would be a simple request, I have my own car and access to food money we also havea groccery store literly across the street from us, so if DH came home with out it I might be disapointed but not upset. Same with my DD we use please VERY often. Please pass the potatos, please take these upstairs please turn the TV down ect because they are requests if she refuses (which honestly is rare) I find a diffrent way. WHat I don't say please with are times where there is no other "acceptable" choice.

Deanna
you could just as easily walk across the street and get the milk yourself so asking dh to please pick up a gallon of milk is a nicer way of asking him to do you the favor of running the errand. i would say please too in this instance.

this is where i see the difference in saying please or not. if it is a personal request then i will definitely say please. please turn down the tv is for my benefit because i don't like how loud it is...please pass the potatoes so that i may enjoy a taste of them... please is appropriate in my mind for these situations.

if it's 'a someone needs to do it for the good of the team/situation/safety reason/common sense' then i wouldn't say please.

i would never ever ever say to someone "please dont let your dog poop on my lawn". sounds fake sweet to me. it'd be more like "i'd appreciate it if you would curb your dog" or "hey! dude! don't let your dog crap on my lawn!"

i just don't see how it's polite or necessary to say please in a situation like that.
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#64 of 126 Old 12-21-2008, 04:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I agree that the word "please" literally is a request - it comes from "if it is your pleasure" or "if it pleases you", which means if it isn't your pleasure, or doesn't please you, then you don't have to do it. But it has at least somewhat morphed over time simply into a polite word to add to sound nicer.
I agree, and I'm comfortable with that because what we consider "commands" or "no-choice instructions" really are requests. The sternest come here now is still a request; it means the same as "would you come here" and "come here if you decide to do it" because no change in language or affect can levitate a person, even a small one, across the room. That's why in languages like Spanish they use the subjunctive tense instead of the indicative one. (Granted that's sort of over-analytical but this is as good a thread for that as any.)

Requests/orders/verbalization all by themselves are always optional, and really we patronize kids by pretending they don't know that, IMO.

I agree much of this is personal preference. For me, I'm a stickler for accuracy in language, which is why this:

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Originally Posted by stickywicket67 View Post
but say i want dh to pick his wet towel up off the floor- i could say "would you hang up the wet towel" which sounds just direct and factual to me. or i could say "please hang up the wet towel" which sounds huffy and condescending and whiny to me.

to me please makes it a personal request rather than a reminder that wet towels won't dry if they're heaped in a pile on the floor...
I don't use "would you pick that up" to be a reminder that wet towels won't dry; I'd rather say "wet towels won't dry if they're heaped in a pile on the floor." Or if the person is old enough to know that: "your towel's on the floor." If he knew both, like a husband, he's pretty much already made his choice on the matter and I'd either do it myself or say any number of things depending on my mood potentially including 'please', but it wouldn't really indicate whether there was room to negotiate on the towel.

That's the same reason I'd say "we need to clean up this juice before the rug gets stained." If I need to indicate that something has to be done no matter what, I'd rather just say so. That's just my speech pattern, I guess.
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#65 of 126 Old 12-21-2008, 04:32 PM
 
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I can see that please might be omitted when you are barking an order, like "Get your car off my bicycle!" but I cannot see that it is ever inappropriate or 'too sweet," just as it is never wrong to say thank you, even when you receive a gift you do not want or like.
Maybe it is a cultural/regional difference. I live near the Canada/U.S. border. We sometimes get American tourists here, who will tell other drivers to "get out of the way" or call out to someone on the street, "Hey! What time is it?" The people around him just cringe. He thinks he is simply being friendly and straightforward, while Canadians feel he is being rude. Please and thank you might be used differently in different areas. Could that be it?
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#66 of 126 Old 12-21-2008, 10:14 PM
 
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Maybe it is a cultural/regional difference. I live near the Canada/U.S. border. We sometimes get American tourists here, who will tell other drivers to "get out of the way" or call out to someone on the street, "Hey! What time is it?" The people around him just cringe. He thinks he is simply being friendly and straightforward, while Canadians feel he is being rude. Please and thank you might be used differently in different areas. Could that be it?

Interesting.

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#67 of 126 Old 12-21-2008, 10:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BaBaBa View Post

When I want DD to do something I very plainly tell her to do it. For example, 'Pick up your toys'. I don't use please in this circumstance because I don't want to confuse her into thinking she has an option.

....

Thoughts?

Turn that back around to how you would like to be treated. If your DD asks you for a drink of water, you don't really have an option as far as getting it for her. But how would you like to be asked?

"Get me water." or "Please get me water."

I know I hit a point where I got really tired of being ordered around by my tiny tyrant, and now I will only do things when I'm asked nicely. And in return, I ask her to do things in a polite way.

I don't think adding one familiar word to a request is confusing, even when they are tiny.
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#68 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 04:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by madskye View Post
Turn that back around to how you would like to be treated. If your DD asks you for a drink of water, you don't really have an option as far as getting it for her. But how would you like to be asked?

"Get me water." or "Please get me water."

I know I hit a point where I got really tired of being ordered around by my tiny tyrant, and now I will only do things when I'm asked nicely. And in return, I ask her to do things in a polite way.

I don't think adding one familiar word to a request is confusing, even when they are tiny.
Yes I would have the choice.. Of course I would get her the water but yes thats a request and will be taught as such and I'd give the same courtousy back. My non pleases are where there is no requests and no acceptable alternitive. We are going to cross honey the street hold my hand.. VS we are going to cross the street hold my hand please. The second sounds nice and if I hear another parent say it I don't think anything horrid but for me and my famly please means " If it is pleasing to you". In such a case I don't say please. I still don't bark orders but I don't say please. Honestly the GET ME part would bug me much more than weather or not a please was tagged on the end. (assuming ther vocabulary was advanced enough). Get me a drink or get me a drink please would be gently corrected to May I have a drink or could you give me a drink or may I please have a drink or could you give me a drink please...

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#69 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 04:59 AM
 
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I always use please. If it's an option I'd just word it as such for example, "would you like to...?". I wouldn't read into it too much if I were you. Just use your manners the same way you would like your child to learn them. Besides, it's not the way you ask but whether or not you follow through with what you want them to do.
I treat kids the same way I treat everyone else. I would never command an adult to "pick up your toys" so I would never command a child to either... Not that an adult would leave their toys lying around. Um, oops, you know what I mean
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#70 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 09:18 AM
 
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I have to say even though I fall into the please camp, this thread has been really illuminating for me. Thanks!

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#71 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Turn that back around to how you would like to be treated. If your DD asks you for a drink of water, you don't really have an option as far as getting it for her. But how would you like to be asked?

"Get me water." or "Please get me water."

I know I hit a point where I got really tired of being ordered around by my tiny tyrant, and now I will only do things when I'm asked nicely. And in return, I ask her to do things in a polite way.

I don't think adding one familiar word to a request is confusing, even when they are tiny.
I would use 'please' when asking for a glass of water. It's not expected of her to bring me water any time I'm thirsty. It's a courtesy.

I hope I didn't imply that I never use 'please'. I just want to use it appropriately.

I don't say 'please, flush the toilet' because the expectation is that she will flush the toilet. I don't expect others to use 'please' with me to make me perform my responsibilities.

and
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#72 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 05:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BaBaBa View Post
I would use 'please' when asking for a glass of water. It's not expected of her to bring me water any time I'm thirsty. It's a courtesy.

I hope I didn't imply that I never use 'please'. I just want to use it appropriately.

I don't say 'please, flush the toilet' because the expectation is that she will flush the toilet. I don't expect others to use 'please' with me to make me perform my responsibilities.
totally!

there's a bit about this topic in "How to Talk so Kids will Listen...
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#73 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 05:07 PM
 
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I'm still just not getting how it could be inappropriate to use a common courtesy word like please. But I don't think it's something I want to understand either.
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#74 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 05:27 PM
 
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We say "please" and "thank you" to each other and to our children for anything that is asking something of another human being. In reality, everything is a request, because no one ever really controls another human being, not even the little ones. It's worked well for us so far, my kids are very polite and considerate to us and to each other. And while being confused about when they have to listen and when they don't is a non-issue in our home, they are, in general, quite cooperative as well.

I model what I want - and even though as the mama I "have to" wipe their bottoms, it's still awfully nice to hear please and thank you for it.

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#75 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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Please and thank you are grease for a functioning society. Even if it is a non-negotiable demand, we simply do not speak to each other like it is. It isn't friendly. I expect a thank you when I hand my 2yo her sandwich at lunch, even though it is my duty to feed her. My 13 yo hears "please empty the dishwasher" even though it is not optional. It is simply polite and I expect my children to be polite back.

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#76 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 06:16 PM
 
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I don't say please don't go into the street (and yes shes old eough to follow those dirrections) or please don't bit your cousin dear that hurts. ect I will also at times combine a please with a more "dirrect" set of insructions. Like honey I need you to have these clothes picked up before bed time please do it after dinner okay. The please is a request and for me implies the suggestion of after dinner the non negoiable is it wl be done before bed if I have to stop come and help her it will be done.

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I'm still just not getting how it could be inappropriate to use a common courtesy word like please. But I don't think it's something I want to understand either.
I don't think any of us who don't use please ALL the time are suggesting never or even rarely using polite words there are MANY polite ways of asking with out please. I'm sorry its hard to understand but for me and my DH adding please simpily mean if you would like and not everything is meant to be a choice. For me its frustrating to hear please when the intention is that there is no choice.. (and yes I get that in reality we always have the choice). Its NOT courtious to do this in my mind. SO I don't with my child. Manners and politness are still used tough.

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#77 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 06:22 PM
 
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My 13 yo hears "please empty the dishwasher" even though it is not optional.
Its may also be how our brain process things. I grew up hearing such things and it frustrated me to no end, I always thought (in silence and NEVER dared say it outloud) off geez thats sooo much for the please cause yea we all know I really have a choice. I felt a TON more respect if I heard. Its your turn to empty the dishwasher make sure its done thanks. Being ripped and told come here NOW and do this! was of course also rude but adding please in my mind never made it "polite" unless the choice was truly there. I tend to (As do dd and dh) think more literly though.

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#78 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm still just not getting how it could be inappropriate to use a common courtesy word like please. But I don't think it's something I want to understand either.
I think because if it's used in every single circumstance where someone is asked or required to perform a task (or stop performing one) it loses it's significance as a courtesy word.

For example, if DD hits me I choose to say 'stop hitting me' instead of 'please stop hitting me'. Her action does not require a courteous request.

and
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#79 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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We try to use "please" in almost all situations except ones where, as the PP said, a courteous request is not warranted -- such as when DS is hitting or hurting or destroying things.

He definitely does NOT process "please" as granting him an option -- witness the following conversation:

DS: DH, peez stan' up.
DH: Not right now, sweetherat.
DS: Dh, peez stan' up.
DH: Not right now, sweetheart.
DS: DH! I say peez! Stan! up! right! NOW!
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#80 of 126 Old 12-22-2008, 07:08 PM
 
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I find the please points very interesting. All I know is my DH does not use it and I just think he sounds so rude and unfriendly, it irks me. DS just stares at him, so both ways are failing in this house.
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#81 of 126 Old 12-23-2008, 01:07 AM
 
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I'm still just not getting how it could be inappropriate to use a common courtesy word like please. But I don't think it's something I want to understand either.
:

But I also think it may be a regional difference. I know that it's pretty standard around here, and I also know that people comment when moving to the area now NICE everyone is...

-Angela
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#82 of 126 Old 12-23-2008, 02:33 AM
 
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:

But I also think it may be a regional difference. I know that it's pretty standard around here, and I also know that people comment when moving to the area now NICE everyone is...

-Angela
I was born and raised in Texas I'm 100% for common courousity please thankyou may I ect are an everyday part of life there just not ALL used with every request. Its just as odd to some of us why someone would use certain words all the time when to us they sound totally outta place as it likely does for you to not hear them.

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#83 of 126 Old 12-23-2008, 02:45 AM
 
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Very interesting thread. Please is a courtesy word and I'd certainly use it with children when directing them to do something. I don't think it implies there this is an option in the request, command, direction, etc.


please   [pleez] Show IPA Pronunciation
adverb, verb, pleased, pleas⋅ing.
–adverb
1.(used as a polite addition to requests, commands, etc.) if you would be so obliging; kindly: Please come here. Will you please turn the radio off?
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#84 of 126 Old 12-23-2008, 03:36 AM
 
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I was born and raised in Texas I'm 100% for common courousity please thankyou may I ect are an everyday part of life there just not ALL used with every request. Its just as odd to some of us why someone would use certain words all the time when to us they sound totally outta place as it likely does for you to not hear them.

Deanna
Totally out of curiosity... are you from down around the Houston area? Because Dallas and the rest of the state don't seem to get the same "friendly" label IME as the Houston area...

-Angela
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#85 of 126 Old 12-23-2008, 03:46 AM
 
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I don't like forcing kids to use the word please. I feel as though we're using our power over them to make them beg from us. However, I often say please when asking them to help me clean up their toys or other messes in the house. They cooperate with me more when I use the word please. My 2 year old has mastered using the word 'please' which makes my mom so proud of her. (my parents made us say please and thank you to the point the words felt empty and meaningless). I've learned not to make anyone use those words unless they are sincere because we all prefer sincerity, I think. I don't always say please, but I tend to use it when I sense my daughters resisting my requests for help. If they still don't want to help, I just do it myself. I may be frustrated, but I don't want to 'make' a 2 and 3 year old do my bidding.

Commenting on the post someone made about picking up the milk: If it were me, I'd respond more willingly if the person asked me, would you mind picking up milk? If they said please, I'd automatically feel resistant. If they just said pick up some milk, I'd say pick up the milk yourself!

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#86 of 126 Old 12-23-2008, 05:51 AM
 
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Totally out of curiosity... are you from down around the Houston area? Because Dallas and the rest of the state don't seem to get the same "friendly" label IME as the Houston area...

-Angela
No I grew up in the Fort Worth area and also lived a number of years in West Texas. I still know exactly what your refering to though and I still stand by what I say. Its got nothing to do with being or not being friendly.
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#87 of 126 Old 12-23-2008, 08:35 AM
 
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I see "please" as a polite additive to a direction (or command, if you prefer). It is not an invitation to argue, and it doesn't turn a direction into a question. I don't see "please help me clean up your toys" as different from "help me clean up your toys" except that one is polite and one is not. Neither one is a request, and I'd expect the same response to either. "Please" is very important to me, so I model it at every opportunity. My kids are big on "please" as well as "thank you" and understand that people are much more cheerful about doing what you want them to do when you extend some common courtesy. Courtesy goes both ways, I think.
I completely agree with you.

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#88 of 126 Old 12-23-2008, 09:48 AM
 
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I'm with you, OP. I don't use "please" or "okay?" when I ask my kids to do something, because that implies that there's another option. I save them for when there's a choice involved.

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#89 of 126 Old 12-23-2008, 12:24 PM
 
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I am from the south and I use "please" or "would you mind" all the time.

If I am feeling like something is urgent I will state the reason but I almost never give statements that sound like an order, unless the situation is out of control or dangerous.

I usually just state facts or phrase it in terms of what I need, or in terms of what the situation involves that justifies what I am asking.

So examples would be:

"Dh, you left the wet towel on the floor"

but not

"Dh, hang up your towel"

and not even

"Dh please hang up your towel"

I trust that he knows what to do with a towel, he just forgot.

I would say:

"Ds there will be company later and the living room is very messy. I will be cleaning the kitchen and need help in the living room".

but not

"Ds clean the living room"

and not even

"Ds please clean the living room" **unless** we already had an understanding that he would do it, he forgot, and time is of the essence.

I would say

"Ds would you please give me some water, I am too tired to get up".

but not

"Ds give me some water"

and probably not even

"Ds please give me some water", because I would almost always add the reason why I wanted him to get it for me, unless it was obvious. When I had a miscarriage dh and ds ran to get things for me all week long. Of course I wasn't adding "Please get me water--I had a miscarriage". It was just understood during that time why I was asking. Or say I am baking, and am up to my elbows in dough--I may ask for something without stating 'because I am busy baking'--it is obvious!

Whenever possible I always put a request in context, and I always give a reason, and I have found this little extra effort means there is less argument or disagreement, rather than more. I think it eliminates the potential for power struggles, because if we do disagree, it is over the specifics of the situation, not over 'obedience' or 'who's the boss'. That is beside the point. If I make a request it is because the situation warrants it, not because I am the boss.

And again, fwiw, I have never felt that ds 'went after' my legitimacy to speak with authority about what a situation requires--because the focus is on the situation, and not my God-given right to be the boss, and there is very little power struggle surrounding requests as a result.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Since I want Lina to eventually say "please pass the peas, Grandma" not "you may pass me the peas now, Grandma" I guess I'll be sticking with using "please" when I tell her to do things.

"you may..." seems a bit presumptuous to me. Like "the queen granted her maid permission to brush her hair. 'Sylvia, We are ready for Our tea, you may bring in the tray.'"
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