Mothering Forum banner

please and thank-you

441 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  girlndocs
Ok I need some advice before I lose my cool with a family member. My dd is almost 14 months. On Sunday, my stepmother (who is a rigid, selfish and overbearing person to begin with but that's another story) was at my house for a casual pizza supper with some other family members as well. She sees my dd every two or three weeks roughly, and does not have a lot of interaction with her (by my design). So dd sees her as a familiar face, but is doesn't get excited and all smiles when she comes over.

So at this recent visit my stepmother was sitting by dd who wanted the hood of her plastic car opened to see inside the compartment and stepmother is saying so LOUDLY and CONDESCENDINGLY "Please please - can you say PLEEEEEEEASE PLEEEEEEEEASE?"

I took care of the toy myself and I said to her that dd was not ready for the concept of manners. She says oh you're wrong, if you can teach her to sign you can teach her please and thank you. She was right I guess, so I said yes I can teach her that cause and effect but she could not understand the concept of manners at this age.

That was all beside the point because I really wanted to say to this woman "it is not your place to teach my daughter to say please and thank you!! Back off you ill-intentioned ##$%#$! etc. etc. etc."

So what do you think? Am I off base? Can I tell stepmother to play with dd if so desired but back of the please and thank you?

I'm not sure if I am making clear how over the line her tone and manner was. She really offends me. But I am certain that I have no objectivity after many years of a strained relationship wtih this woman who has done so many hurtful things to me. I want to be sure she has no real influence on dd as it can only be damaging. (this woman sees her own grandchildren once or twice a year for exactly this reason) But we have a family vacation coming up this summer and I am going to lay the groudrules before we go.

Thanks for your help!!!

See less See more
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
She is definitly being rude, I wouldn't say "out of line" because it's not like she is trying to spank your kid or something. But she definitly shouldn't be doing it and she should respect your boundries and how you choose to raise your child.

My DS is 18 months and he says thank you sometimes only because when he hands me a toy or brings me a 'snack' I say thank you, so he copies me. I have friends at play group who force their children to say please and thank you, the parents tell me not to give the child the toy/snack until they say it. So out of respect for them I smile nicely and wait for the word as the parent is encouraging them. I then tell them your welcome, and make sure to give them a big warm smile.

I don't agree with what the parents are doing, but I choose to respect their decisions. Your stepmom needs to learn how to as well.
See less See more
I don't think I would have had a problem with your stepmom if she had simply said, "Can you say, please?" in a nice tone, waiting a couple of seconds to see if she would say it, said, "ok I'll open that for you" and then opened the hood. I don't think there's anything wrong with offering an example that way to say please and thank you. I think kids learn through repition and there's nothing wrong with starting early.

What bothers me is the insistance on it and the tone of voice you described. I don't see how that sets a good example for good manners. Especially if I think of my own dd who would just get increasingly more upset that I wasn't doing what she wanted me to b/c I was trying to make her understand I wanted her to say "please" first. She would be shrieking and pissed off at your stepmom by the time you opened the hood for her. I don't see how that would be a good teaching opportunity.
See less See more
ITAith lisalou. We do encourage DD (16 months) to say please and thank you, but we do it very nicely, and we don't deny her things if she doesn't say them, for sure. She is getting very good with "please" but not "thank you" just yet. No biggie. It's a modeling thing.
Ya know, I would tell your stepmother that teaching good manners is more than just teaching kids to say please and thank you. That the way she was talking to your dc was rude and inappropriate.

Other than that, I would just make sure she (stepmom) hears you modeling pleases and thank yous. But at this age, I wouldn't demand a response. That's not the way kids learn, and I personally believe that if they're exposed to it enough, they'll do it on their own. If she sees you're making a gentle effort, maybe she'll pick it up.

We have the same issue with my MIL, so I know how you feel! Kind of hard to get her to be polite and use good manners if I'm angry at her and snapping, :S
Ok. So it ~is~ up to me. Lisalou is right if it was done nicely and in passing just to put the idea out to dd it would not bother me. But she was pretty authoritarian about it, and I guess that is what I really object to.

Her manner was disciplinarian. We're new to toddler-hood - but I dont' think I want others, even family members, disciplining dd. If they are following my lead then that should be ok, but I believe for them acting independently and arbitrarily, then that is wrong.

Do you have grandparents disciplining your little ones?

I had somewhat the opposite situation. My MIL did not consider it her place to say *anything*. Which then boiled down to one night (DS was about 18 mo) where DS was tired and hitting at her (they were sitting together in the backseat of the car). She refused to tell him that she didn't like to be hit, etc, and insisted that it was our job to do that. But come on! If someone was hitting me, no matter who, I'd say "NO", wouldn't you?

If she'd hit him back or something like that, it'd be a different story. I'd so be laying into her for inappropriate behavior with DS. But she did absolutely nothing and instead, complained that her feelings were hurt (both by DS and by us for not stepping in, while driving, and sitting in the front).

We've since laid down the ground rules that if DS does something to your body that you do not like, it's important for him to hear "no, I don't like that/being hit/kicked/whatever". And likewise, if he's doing other inappropriate behavior (like drawing on the walls), it's appropriate to stop him.

All in all, grandparents are a difficult lot.
See less See more
We started modeling please and thank you when DS was 18 mos old, and he started copying what we were saying pretty quickly. It was just a modeling thing and I don't think he understood the concept. Now, however, he is 23 months old and knows the correct usage of please and thank you and uses them correctly.
I would have been annoyed if someone had been that condescending with my 14 mo. that age they can barely say "bye bye" sheesh...
take care
Miss Manners, herself, says that it is inexcusible for etiquette to be used as a way to belittle or embarass another person -- and this includes children.

There was a thread about this a while ago. A clerk in a store wouldn't give the OP's shy toddler a balloon unless he said "please"
: The most illuminating metaphor was made by someone on that thread: How would it feel to have newly arrived in a strange country with strange customs and a language you spoke slightly but were not fluent in yet? And to ask for something, in public, in a way that you knew might lack some polish, but was perfectly intelligible and respectful? And to have someone refuse to help you because you had gotten some honorific phrase or turn of syntax wrong? How do you think you would learn best the customs and language of that country -- by having friendly understanding people model them for you or by being lectured in front of others on what you should say?

That metaphor seriously changed how passionately I feel about teaching small children "manners". I love it.
See less See more
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.