I have this ongoing battle with family, friends, well meaning yet otherwise dimly witted people when it comes to how to talk to my DS when we first say hello and then when it's time to say good-bye. Every gathering starts with first nagging my DS to 'say hello' to everyone. My DH and I are sometimes sucked into these naggings:
"Aren't you going to say hello to ___" and this is repeated by mostly everyone who is standing in a circle around my DS until he's turned bashful and then resentful. Who would want to say hello after being harassed??? He starts rolling his eyes and then everyone views him as nasty... DS just turned 4. He's not a circus animal...
fast forward to when it's time for someone to leave or for us to leave..."Aren't you going to say good-bye to Aunt so-n-so" and people who say this crap stand about 10 feet away from my DC until HE comes up to THEM to say good-bye/hello. Now I understand that as a toddler he ran up to people and gave the best hugs and maybe that is what they are after...but after being put on the spot so much, I can see WHY he doesn't want to jump through hoops...and then DH, who feels obligated sometimes to agree with the dimly witted, will pipe in also and start shaming DS.
I feel like I am always going to his rescue and trying to GD everyone else by making it a game and say things like, "let's go over there and say good-bye to Gpa together" and then he walks with me, smiles from me and me getting down to his level work magically...but that is not the point or the problem here...
I know how to GD my son. and he is fantastic...it's the adults who insist on badgering him into a foul mood just to get the kick of having him run up to them and give him his signature hug. I have tried turning the tables on some of them, asking them, "Don't you want to say good-bye to my son? We're leaving ;(" with a bit of added shame, just the way they would to him. And they stop for a bit, look at me like I'm being silly and then continue to bagger him.
so far, I've let them do it, not knowing what else to do. I've even chimed in, but I stop quick, it feels so wrong. I've let DS walk away and not say hello/good-bye because he's so bent by the time I'm there to rescue him it won't be a GOOD anything...but ultimately I need help in how to handle the situation. Holidays are coming up and this is the worst part of it.
I know that children follow by example and that the ADULTS should start saying the good-byes and find the kids to say good-bye to...NOT the other way around. My DS is not an adult. He's only 4! But he, for some reason, is expected to act the way THEY should be acting. I need a way to get this across. I have started saying to the adults, "just go over to him and say good-bye and hug and kiss him" and my DS loves that. Why do they NEED him to act like a circus animal? I just don't get it, it makes me sad, mad, and I'm just going nuts over this! I need the nagging to STOP!!!! :
I just say hello, good-bye, thank you, your welcome and whatnot in my most spritely voice and talk for my child in those circumstances.
My shy 3 year old appreciates it. My outgoing 7 year old never needed it, but did need me to get people to back off about her appearance starting around 3.
People really do get over themselves if you just make happy eye contact and smile while doing it. I think they are often well-intentioned, but don't realize how overstimulating they are being.
I agree- sort of saying it for them or with them in a pleasant/spritely () way- "Let's say 'Bye Grandma!'" and go together, modeling a "nice good-bye" with smiles and a quick conversation you can include the child in ("DS really liked the chicken you made for dinner, didn't you DS?"). Make it a game- how many people can we say "Hi" to first? What about practising hellos and good-byes?
Hellos and good-byes are really an art of good manners, but more than that they are about recognition. It is not always easy for older adults on the perifery of the childs life to easily connect at a visit or gathering- especially ones that have a harder time relating or have forgotten what life is like at that age. Hellos and good-byes are at least a second when they may feel that the child sees them and cares about their presence.
A kid that can master the hello and good-bye will have family fans for life . My cousin was always spectacular at this and to this day (he's now 23) all the relatives smile when he comes by. And all he really ever said to them was hello, goodbye, a few smiles and politeness... but he made everyone feel recognised and respected. dang you AJ!
Also, maybe if you kind of go around and say goodbyes to people before you "officially" announce that you are leaving (telling the person/people who seem to announce it to others and create the gathering), maybe you can just throw out the waved "goodbye!" from the door once coats are on as it would be a second goodbye. Hellos are tougher . . .
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