This isn’t one of the big debates in childrearing, but I’ve seen a couple opinions on this issue: saying please to your children. Not like “Please pass the potatoes,” but more like “Put your toys away, please.”
Some people opine that saying please implies that you’re merely requesting, not insisting. 2ly (and please read that as “two-ly” ), it undermines your authority as a parent. Lastly,
it annoys them it puts you into poor bargaining position if they refuse.
Other people say that it’s important to teach our children to say please by example. Other people in the pro-please camp say that by saying please the first time, it makes you sound less like a petulant dictator. Finally, it makes you look (and feel) like you have the moral high ground if a child refuses, since you “asked nicely,” and they were the unreasonable ones when the didn’t comply.
Personally, I do ask Hayden to do things the first and maybe the second time. If he doesn’t go along after that, though, it ain’t pretty.
What do you think—do you say “please”?
We’ve been working for months on getting Hayden to say “please” and “thank you.” (“Please” was just a sign until a couple weeks ago, when he started saying “p’eece”!) He’s picked up the words and signs pretty well, but almost always has to be prompted to say “Please”—and by ‘prompted,’ I don’t mean asking “What do you say?” I mean telling him, “Say please.”
The few times he does spontaneously use please have usually been when I’ve said no to something he wants (or he thinks I’m saying no). Then it seems like he thinks “please” (which is done in perfect desperation) is a guarantee that he’ll get what he wants.
“Thank you” has (thankfully) met a bit more success. He’s come to understand that when someone gives him something, he should say “thank you” (or, for him “dootoo”). He also likes to thank me when he gives me something, but I’ll take it.
This morning, however, I discovered that he has one courtesy that I don’t remember teaching him. I may have told him this once or twice, but from what I recall, this is something he must have learned from example:
I sneezed. He said “b’eh doo.” For those of you not fluent in pretoddler (or Hayden), that’s “Bless you.” And this wasn’t just once; it was at least three times today.
I certainly feel blessed!