Mothering Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
<p>ds is 5. he hates drawing attention to himself. so, he hates saying sorry and thanks because it makes people acknowledge him. i try to make him say sorry if required but don't force it. but i would really like him to say thanks for people doing stuff for him or giving him something etc. he has no problems saying it to me, dh or his little brother but everyone outside of the fam is a big issue. we do model it and up until now i've been thanking people on his behalf. now, at 5.5 though, i feel like it is expected of him and he should comply. help me with thinking about consequences when he refuses in a potentially embarrassing (for me) situation. taking away privileges? playdate/fun outing cancellation? what?</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
649 Posts
<p>I'd say that if he likes to say it to you guys, then he's learning. And that's what you want, right? So when he feels he's able to, he will say it to others. As long as you let him know that "the nice/polite thing to do is say thank you to ___' then that is enough, I'd think. I'm sure he'd love to please you in that way, but probably is too shy or awkward-feeling about it. And the minute you catch him going outside his comfort zone and thanking someone outside the usual circle, by all means notice it and say something like "That was nice; now Mrs. Jones knows you appreciated the gift she got you." and give him a big smile that shows you're proud of him.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Taking away things like playdates seems awfully harsh and punitive, to me. It sounds like he's not trying to be a jerk about it, but that he's shy and struggling. My first reaction is that it would feel terribly invasive and stressful (if I were him) if you were to get all un-gracious about him not being gracious, if you catch the irony. Go gentle, but that doesn't mean you don't teach, model, and set expectations. He'll come around!  :)</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
<p>thanks, nelliekatz. instinctively, taking away things feels not quite right to me either but i'm worried that if i keep thanking people on his behalf he will continue to count on me for taking care of his manners, yk? also, while we're actually IN the situation he really comes across as ungrateful and just plain impolite. he's so uncomfortable/shy that he will go the totally opposite way and make a surly face that makes him look entitled. i've asked him to even just smile at someone if he's too shy to say thank you but he refuses. it's really embarrassing for me sometimes. idk if it's because he's a boy AND he's 5 but if i acknowledge his good manners on occasion he becomes grumpy and says things like, " but i don't WANT to be nice/someone to feel nice. i like being the bad guy!" sigh. i guess being punitive won't really help matters any if the "punishment" is unrelated to the offence anyway.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,246 Posts
I would avoid making it that big a deal. You make a huge power struggle over saying "thank you" and politeness will always be tainted by that power struggle. If you remind him and model him, he will pick it up and it won't have a negative association for him. Be gentle and patient, and keep thanking people for him. I would also not make a big deal about it in front of other people as that could, again (depending on his personality) make it a big power struggle issue for him and for some kids, anything that becomes a big issue is something where they have to dig their heels in. You could try talking about politeness at other times, finding some books at the library about politeness, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,544 Posts
<p>The natural consequence is that many people will think he is a little rude, though not necessarily.  Thank you is often seen as superfulous if other manners are in place, as it sounds they are with your guy.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>A logical consequence?  I can't really think of one because I do not think it is an issue of safety or behavior that is that big a deal.  If he was sticking his tongue out at people when they gave him stuff, I would probably stop taking him out, but just ommiting thank you?  Really not as big a deal as you think.  I barely even notice when kids say thank you and it's clear a parent is pushing them to, it hardly matters much.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I also never hear my son say Please or thank you in front of me when we are out but when I go away I HEAR from others that he is super polite and always minds his Ps and Qs.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>You know he has acquired the social skill, it is entirely up to him when to use it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,544 Posts
<p>I missed post no3.  I guess in that case I would talk to him about how people might be perceiving his facial gestures.  You might give him tips on how to handle being shy, like saying "I'm a little shy."  which almost always makes one feel better immediately or writing thank you notes instead.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
309 Posts
<p>I have severe Social Anxiety Disorder. I have for as long as I can remember. So naturally, when I was your son's age, I was painfully shy as well. I was the same way about saying "Thank you" and "Sorry." I vividly remember being pushed to say them, and being punished when I couldn't bring myself to do it. It was not helpful. It only increased my anxiety and made the situations worse than they had to be. I've always handled such situations better when I have a support person who is understanding of my hang up. I didn't have that when I was little, though, so I get to work through all of this as an adult. Being supportive of him when he needs you won't necessarily keep him reliant on you to handle manners for him. Be there for him and help him through this and he'll eventually work through it and handle things on his own. Adding anxiety to a situation that already makes him anxious is just going to turn it into a monster.</p>
<p> </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
<p>thanks for your thoughts, guys. i just need to not be stressed out about what others think and help my little guy work through this.</p>
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,445 Posts
<p>You might want to research "Selective Mutism" -- if I remember correctly it's considered to be a form of anxiety.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>One thing that helped our very slow-to-warm-up son was to give him a non-verbal way to respond. You might teach him the ASL signs for please and thank you as a non-verbal way.</p>
<p><a href="http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/p/please.htm" target="_blank">http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/p/please.htm</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/t/thankyou.htm" target="_blank">http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/t/thankyou.htm</a></p>
<p> </p>
<p>For our son, it also helped to explain to him what other people might be thinking. I remember telling him that his friends might think he didn't like them if he didn't greet them. The Halloween when he was 5 1/2, I was feeling like you were, that people were beginning to expect a verbal response. So, I explained to him that people might not give him candy if he didn't say 'trick-or-treat'. He thought for a moment and said "Did I say trick-or-treat last year?" "No, but you were younger and people expect more of an older child." I think it helped that year that his little sister was along for the first houses and was very willing to shout it out.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>It did get a lot better with age. He's 10 now and will respond appropriately in most situations. He's still Mr. Monosyllable, but he responds and is pleasant about it. It's all we can ask.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,308 Posts
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>wookie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1321734/natural-logical-consequence-of-not-saying-thank-you#post_16556254"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>idk if it's because he's a boy AND he's 5 but if i acknowledge his good manners on occasion he becomes grumpy and says things like, " but i don't WANT to be nice/someone to feel nice. i like being the bad guy!"</p>
</div>
</div>
<p><br>
Just to address this point - something you might want to try in future is to NOT acknowledge the good manners to his face in the moment, but rather make a point later to let him overhear you saying something about it to someone else (dh?).  I find my dd responds the same way if I point out to her something positive that she just did.  It's like then she's on the spot or something.  But if I casually mention it to dh in front of dd later that day I'll usually see her beaming with pride out of the corner of my eye.</p>
<p> </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
677 Posts
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><br>
Just to address this point - something you might want to try in future is to NOT acknowledge the good manners to his face in the moment, but rather make a point later to let him overhear you saying something about it to someone else (dh?).</div>
</div>
<p><span><img alt="yeahthat.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/yeahthat.gif"></span></p>
<p>:ITA   and I would be subtle when making the point later as well. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>fwiw ... my dd (8) still feels shy to say thank you most of the time, though she does it sometimes, and often doesn't even smile or answer a question such as "did you like it?"  or "did you have fun" even when she really did enjoy the gift / outing.  somehow she gets stuck and can't express herself in answer to such a question - i am not sure why.  I try to rephrase it saying, "was it a good idea for us to have gone to the river today, or should we have skipped it ?" and then she lights up and says, "it was a very very good idea" and that lets the people we went with know she enjoyed it, otherwise when they ask, "did you have fun" and she looks down without answering, I am afraid they will conclude that she did not.  </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,460 Posts
<div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/community/forum/thread/1321734/natural-logical-consequence-of-not-saying-thank-you#post_16556978" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>LynnS6</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1321734/natural-logical-consequence-of-not-saying-thank-you#post_16556978"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif"></a><br><br><p>You might want to research "Selective Mutism" -- if I remember correctly it's considered to be a form of anxiety.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>One thing that helped our very slow-to-warm-up son was to give him a non-verbal way to respond. You might teach him the ASL signs for please and thank you as a non-verbal way.</p>
<p><a href="http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/p/please.htm" target="_blank">http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/p/please.htm</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/t/thankyou.htm" target="_blank">http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/t/thankyou.htm</a></p>
</div>
</div>
<br>
I was going to say something along these lines as well. My DS has an easier time giving a high-five or hug or some other gesture (though sometimes he struggles even with that to some extent, but he's still young...) Honestly, I'm so excited if he actually talks to anyone outside the house, that I don't particularly care if he uses 'polite' words (though I do appreciate a polite tone at least!!) and most of our friends understand as well. I do think taking away playdates or something is extreme and that if he's using the words consistently at home that it will eventually be easier for him to use them out of the house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
<p>What about brainstorming with him ways that he can express gratitude that he's comfortable with?  Such as, "I know it makes you feel uncomfortable to say 'thank you' sometimes, but I'm afraid that people will think you don't like their gift, and that might make them sad.  Can you think of another way you can let them know that you like it?  Something that will feel comfortable to you?"  If he can't think of anything, you can offer some suggestions.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I avoid saying, "do x because it's polite."  "Polite" doesn't mean much to a little kid other than "a way I have to act because my parents say so."  I agree with the pp's suggestion of talking about how the other person might feel in response to their actions instead of saying "you have to do what's nice/polite."  That creates a concrete mental picture and I find it's much more effective.  My DS has autism, and I often find myself explaining other people's probable feelings and/or states of mind because it's hard for him to imagine that other people feel and think different things than he does, or that they can't read his mind.  I think this is often true of neurotypical 5-year-olds as well.</p>
<div id="user_myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;"> </div>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
<p>you all make great points. brainstorming with him is an awesome idea! it never struck me that he would need to be told what others may be feeling :duh. thanks ladies!</p>
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top