My 2.5 year old daughter has recently been telling my DH to "go away" quite a lot. DH is a great father and has been parenting about 50/50 with me since DD was born (except for the nursing, of course). He is very involved, loving, and consistent with her. He is good about not taking it personally, but I know it hurts his feelings when she does it a lot.
She has also been saying this to other children who approach her in playgroups and other situations. I want to respect her feelings that she want her own space or for the person/child to leave her alone, and I am very happy she is using her words instead of hitting/pushing which she used to do a lot, but I realize I need to give her some other vocabulary to use since "go away" sounds so mean.
Anyone have some suggestions of how to deal with these times or other ways to teach her to act and words to say when she feels like her personal space is being invaded? I have had the thought that I need to teach her what to say when a child approached her that she doesn't know...like: "Hi. What's your name? I'm Thea." This might be part of the problem, just not knowing what to say to a new person...but as far as what to say to Daddy, I need more ideas...
Ideas we're working on:
"I want to be alone right now please."
"Please leave me alone."
"I need some alone time."
"Please let me play by myself."
He's needed a LOT of reminders and repetitions, but it's starting to stick. He's 4, though, so his ability to express himself verbally is maybe more sophisticated. I think that for a two year old, I would ask that "please" be included in the statement, and not make it more complicated than that. You know your child, though.
We say "I need some private time". And I mean we literally say that, we don't just expect DD to. We are a family of introverts over here so we all do need private time pretty regularly. DD also uses it when she wants one on one time with a particular person for example "I want some private time with Gramma," or whatever.
In general that's easier to hear than "Go away!". But, one thing I've realized is that no matter how polite DD is about it, people may still get their feelings hurt. I think at first I thought if DD just used polite or kind words to set her boundaries, everyone in the entire world would happily go along with it. UH...Wrong! For example, DD's cousin would like DD to need "private time" a little less!!!! Sometimes my sweet little niece gets her feelings hurt. I mean the bottom line is If one kid wants to play and the other doesn't, it's still going to be hard. That doesn't mean that DD shouldn't be as kind about it as she can be, just that being polite doesn't necessarily change the situation.
Thanks for these ideas, ladies!
DH and I have been brain storming and we have decided to use "Give me some space, please" when we or other children are too close and "Excuse me Daddy, I need alone time with Mommy." She is only 2.5, but has pretty sophisticated language skills, so I think she will be able to catch on. She already says "Excuse me Daddy, go to the kitchen," when she wants him to leave us (and when she isn't shouting "Go away!").
I think we also have to work on "May I have a turn" and "It is still my turn. You can have a turn in 2 minutes" regarding the sharing issue with other little kids.
At her age, it will take time, but I'd start telling her when she says it, "A nicer way to say that is 'space, please.'" or just "Say 'space, please.'" It has to be something just as easy as "go away" for it to work. If it's longer and the words are a lot harder (and sp isn't an easy sound so that might not actually be a good choice) you will have trouble changing this. As she gets older, you can replace it with more difficult phrases, but part of the problem at that age is not having a massive vocabulary to work with and the difficulty of some sounds to pronounce. Only part of it is learning social graces, but of course that's a part as well. But come up with something easy and nicer, and then remind her gently and nicely every single time. It will become an issue of consistency.
These are good ideas.
When your daughter tells other children to go away, is she doing something like climbing steps, ladder, or sliding? You can always tell the other child, you don't have to go, just wait and let her finish. If she is in an enclosed space, you can tell the other child, you can sit over here (opposite of your daughter.).