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We have a 4 yo in the house (bf's daughter - lives with us 1/2 time). There is a lot of "I want this, I want that" going on. And even some actual ordering around from the child ("Put my markers away"). Often, not getting what she wants results in tears/tantrums. Most of the time, it is a simple request that can be fulfilled, like milk or getting down a toy. Even so, I am of the mind that she should ask nicely, not order/demand. I refuse to do it unless she does. Bf makes her ask nicely about half the time.<br><br>
At the end of the day, she's not my child and I have no say in how he wants to raise her, but the issue is going to come up again in a few years with our children. Am I expecting too much from a four yo, especially one believed by her parents to be so advanced over other 4 yos that they are having her tested to enter kindergarten early?
 

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my almost 2 year old uses "please" and "thank you" about 3/4 of the time unprompted and "sorry" about 1/2 the time. We modeled the behaviors and occasionaly asked her to use them, even before she could speak and was only signing. I don't think you are expecting to much from her at all. She might not remember to use them 100% of the time but in my opinion she should be using them. The 4 boys I watch for daycare (3,5,6,7) don't use them quite as often as dd but they are learning thats how to get things they want.
 

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When you model polite speech, children pick up naturally. However, 4 is a notoriously difficult age when kids get more independent and assertive. My sweet "please and thank you" 2 yo became very demanding at age 4.<br><br>
It is pointless, IMO, to get into power struggles by making a child say please (ie withholding their request until phrased politely). That generally makes the child angry (she already knows she is subject to the whims of those who are bigger - no need to rub her nose in it). It just increases resentment at that point.<br><br>
I would do two things in your situation. First, I would set up what I could to enable the child to get what she wants by herself (ie filling up a small pitcher of milk and putting it down low in the fridge, or pre pouring cups of milk and putting them in the same place). But I wouldn't make her do it herself if she didn't want to, just set things up so it's an option. Second, I would say "I prefer to be asked in a gentler tone of voice" AS I am getting up to help.<br><br>
If the child is cranky, which usually means underrested or hungry, I would let everything slide until she is feeling better. It is hard to act well when you don't feel well.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>4evermom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7269765"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It is pointless, IMO, to get into power struggles by making a child say please (ie withholding their request until phrased politely). That generally makes the child angry (she already knows she is subject to the whims of those who are bigger - no need to rub her nose in it). It just increases resentment at that point.</div>
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I agree.<br><br>
My 4 year old DD often asks for things politely and says "thank you" very nicely and sincerely. But she often demands things, too. I don't worry about it much. Now that she's getting older, I am more likely to point out that I prefer to hear friendly-sounding requests. But I've also been noticing how often I tell her what to do, and realizing how my example may be influencing her. I don't order her around like a drill sergeant, but I do say a lot of things like, "Put on your coat now," or "Go put some toothpaste on your toothbrush," without saying please or making it sound like she has a choice.<br><br>
I think the best way to teach my DD how to be polite is to be polite myself. Refusing to do what she wants unless she asks nicely is not polite. Having a rule that I can give her orders but she can't give them to me is not polite. Giving her what she wants even when she forgets her manners (or hasn't learned yet exactly how adults would phrase a similar request) is polite.
 

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I do encourage my ds (3) to say please and thankyou, etc., and if he shouts or asks in a particularly obnoxious way, I may ask him to try again. However, I don't expect him to remember all the time at home, and I definitely don't push him if he's angry or upset with me.<br><br>
I DO ask him to be polite to people outside our immediate family, though, and then if he's shouting or being rude I usually take him aside for a quiet talk and remind him that so-and-so invited us over and it's polite to do/say X, etc.<br><br>
ETA I often respond to "I want this" requests by saying (not in an abrupt way at all) "Oh, okay, what do you need to do about that?" - i.e. treating it as a statement rather than a request and then ds either needs to ask me for what he wants or ask for help getting it himself or just go and get it.
 

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Once they're old enough to sign or speak I expect basic manners.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sunnysideup</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7270155"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">When it comes to learning manners I would focus on guiding, teaching and modeling rather than expecting.</div>
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I agree and that's what we do. My son it 5 1/2 and we still get the occasional bossy demand from him, hell I occasionally bossily demand things from DH <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> but what has worked the best for us being the example. Since he could use a fork we have practiced table manners. Since he could order in a restaurant, ask for things in a stores we have practiced saying please, saying thank you to service workers. We uses please and thank you w/ each other and our son. The key is for it be natural part of conversation. If you force them to say please, thank you, I am sorry, etc the focus becomes negative and then you end up w/ a power struggle.
 

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I modeled good manners to my son from day one....waaaay before he could speak. Once he started talking, he would say please and thank you. He's almost 4, and I have to gently remind him sometimes that we don't make demands, we ask politely.<br>
Perhaps she hasn't been taught proper manners. Model the behavior you want her to display for a while. If there is no change, then talk to her about it. When she makes a demand, let her know that you prefer to be asked politely, the way you have modeled. Discuss what please and thank you mean, and whay manners are important. Talk about this with your bf too.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>4evermom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7269765"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">When you model polite speech, children pick up naturally. However, 4 is a notoriously difficult age when kids get more independent and assertive. My sweet "please and thank you" 2 yo became very demanding at age 4.</div>
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Mine too. Both my kids said "please", "thank you", "I'm sorry" etc at 2. Now that one is 5, he is very demanding and often forgets to use these words. He also has an attitude of entitlement that has nothing to do with modeling or parenting; it's part of the age.
 

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You said that at the end of the day, the child is not yours and you have no say in how she is raised. That may be true, but you have a say in how you will be treated, by ANYONE in your home. When my DS friends are at our house to play, I gently remind them of the rules/expectations of our house. They do not gain anything by demanding to be served, and when I need something done I ask nicely in return.<br><br>
IMO, children at age four are old enough to understand that different locations require different behavior. So what is okay at her mom's house may not work at your house. It will of course take some time for her to learn these things if she is not used to it right now. Be patient and consistent and you will be fine. Good luck!
 

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My four year old has gotten very bossy and rude recently. When he comes in and demands something, I either say, "I would be happy to help you if you asked me politely" or I just look at him curiously for a moment until he rephrases on his own. Most of the time he does. Sometimes he decides it's not worth the effort and walks away. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I figure, if what he wants is not important enough to him to ask politely, there's no point to just giving it to him and allowing him to think that rude demands are the way to get what you want.<br><br>
Namaste!
 

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I pretty much require good manners. I'm a nanny. Since I spend my entire day with three- and four-year-olds, I just can't allow myself to be talked to badly all day. Yeah, it's teaching them how to get along more easily in the world too, but mostly it's all about me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
Since I've been modeling and encouraging good manners for over three years now, I no longer tolerate bad manners. If one of them says, "Gimme a chocolate milk," he can die of thirst before he gets it from me. That, or remember how to ask nicely.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>4evermom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7269765"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">When you model polite speech, children pick up naturally.</div>
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You know, I too thought that if I modeled please and thank you, my children would just do it automatically. And then we had our son. He simply refuses to use the words, and it's not like we've made a huge battle about it. We've modeled polite requests and thank you since his birth. He simply would not use the words.<br><br>
We did begin to insist that he ask politely (it didn't have to contain please and thank you, but it did have to be a normal tone of voice and phrased as a question) when he was about 4. So, "Get me some water." was responded to with "hmm.. that sounds very rude. When people are rude to me, I don't like to help." We talked a lot abouot polite voices and rude voices and how being rude makes me cranky. Mostly now (he's 5 1/2) he'll ask with "can I have some water?" (please and thank you are still absent).<br><br>
Meanwhile, our 2 1/2 year old sounds like she's been to charm school. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> "Thank you for turning on the TV, momma." When we play she'll often come up with phrases such as "very pleased to meet you." She HAS picked it up naturally. I can only hope that our son will get there eventually.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>frenchie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7270554"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I modeled good manners to my son from day one....waaaay before he could speak. Once he started talking, he would say please and thank you. He's almost 4, and I have to gently remind him sometimes that we don't make demands, we ask politely.</div>
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Us, too. DH & I have always spoken to DS (3y9m) the way we expect him to speak to others. Of course, we all forget to be polite sometimes -- and DS is very good at reminding his Daddy & I to "ask nicely" when we're remiss -- but we try very hard to be respectful to everyone we meet at all times. This includes most importantly the conversations between DH & I, but also extends to the way we treat servers at restaurants, the checker at the market, a lousy driver in traffic . . . children see/hear -- and copy/repeat -- everything, even when we think they're not paying attention.
 

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I second the idea of making things accessible. My 4yo will often forget to ask nicely, but I have no problem with responding to "I want milk" with "well, go ahead and get some". We put the milk on the bottom shelf, cereal in smaller dispensers, and his cups, plates, and bowls down low.<br><br>
Also, when he's feeling crabby & can't remember please, I insist on thank you with an added "you rock, mama".
 

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Refusing to respond to demands or pretending to not hear them (as some folks do) just places the issue into the arena of a power struggle. We work on modeling and then I do remind my older son how to phrase his need into a polite question. I often do this <i>while</i> I am helping him with whatever he is asking for and he is responsive and will turn it into his own question. Reminding him to phrase as a question and then waiting for him to say it before helping him turns it into a pressure filled situation and is more likely to provoke a conflict. I always thought I could "force" manners and "good behavior" on children before I had any of my own. I thought of it more like dog training than child raising. Now that I have a sometimes delightful/sometimes horrid 3 year old it has all become a bit more complicated and a lot of the time its more important to see the big picture and let some things slide. Just keep modeling and providing a polite example to follow.
 

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My dd is four and she asks for things nicely most of the time but sometimes she forgets. Usually if I say, "Is there a nicer way you could ask me?" she tries again. I don't insist that she always say please, a respectful tone of voice is all I really require. I have been working on using a respectful tone of voice when I ask her to do things too.
 
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