MicroBlog Monday: Manners

I truly, truly believe that children should not be forced or reminded to say hello, thank you, sorry, and goodbye. It is learned over time through modeling by the adults and older children around them. This is at odds with how many adults think manners need to be drilled into children by toddlerhood. They think it is rude to not say hello and goodbye to people (be it strangers or family and close friends) and don’t want to be considered a bad parent for not forcing these behaviors.

The thing is, these are behaviors, learned behaviors, and we want them to have it be second nature to say thank you to the waitress or apologize when they accidentally bump someone as an adult. That takes time and intrinsic motivation to develop, not repetitive shaming before they even understand the importance of these customs in our society.

I try to invite Wallace to greet people or hug a friend or someone close to us, but I never force the matter. I asked him once, privately, if he wanted to say thank you to Gramma for the presents, which he chose to do and gave her a hug too. I don’t like people calling him shy when he doesn’t feel like talking to new people. It is totally normal and calling him shy feels shaming.

He started saying thank you all on his own shorty after learning to say bye. He now says “thanks much!” everytime I do something for him. He just learned no thank you by hearing Grandpa say it. Now he is playing around with it and retelling the story of when I offered Grandpa scrambled eggs and he said “no thank you.” I’m hoping the trend continues!


The best thank you for a gift is his honest enjoyment of it!

Here is Janet Lansbury’s view on this, which I read after writing my post.

About JennP

Single mom by choice, lesbian, natural living, parenting, car free, Chicago.Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment!
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26 Responses to MicroBlog Monday: Manners

  1. That’s an awesome ride-on!!!
    I am the same way with Carter. I think it’s hard for Daniela and with her family because its customary when you get there you go around to every family member and hug and kiss them. This is uncomfortable for me and I refuse to force Carter to do it. She understands but it’s still her gut to tell him to. He is naturally appreciative and affectionate which is lovely. We do talk about things like if someone is sad it is nice to offer them a hug (and asking consent).

  2. kayrosey says:

    I push the hellos and goodbyes. It isn’t a shaming or forced thing, I usually model it pretty exaggeratedly like a cartoon character and Ali will follow suit, but I do make her do it. I think it’s an important social grace. I don’t encourage hugs or forced sorries though. I actually actively discourage the huggy kissy thing with Ali and all the kids I babysit, they have to ask permission to touch each other.

  3. A way of explaining it just came to me. Say we had a foreign exchange student from a very different culture. We wouldn’t expect them to know our little customs and to fully participate. We would explain them, show them, and invite them to try it. We wouldn’t want them to feel uncomfortable by the customs or ashamed they didn’t already know them. We wouldn’t want them to participate just because we said to but because they genuinely wanted to.

  4. Mel says:

    It’s an interesting take. I don’t know if it has to be taken to the level of shaming, but I certainly benefit from gentle reminders, so I give them as well. I think it’s one way that kids gauge how important the behaviour is — is it something that is meaningful, that matters to people, or is it something that they can choose to do or not do?

  5. We don’t know how it feels to be in their place though. I could use other words to describe it and they would probably fit too. I always felt so awkward and guilty and like I was letting people down when I was feeling too uncomfortable to talk to strangers. Being reminded, prodded, or called out on it made me feel even worse. I didn’t get into that part of it because I was already getting pretty lengthy with my post! I try to invite Wallace to interact with people but never push him too. I might say “oh look, it’s Gramma! Hi, Gramma!” And then say to him “do you want to say hi to Gramma?” I was forced to order my food at restaurants and it terrified me. I realized later it was part of my anxiety and I had to work throufh a lot of it as an adult. I really like a piece that Janet’s husband wrote about being a labeled a shy kid and how it has affected him.

  6. ruthmeaney says:

    I feel the same. I give my two year old the option by asking “do you want to say hi?” Or “grandma is going home. Do you want to give her a cuddle?” She chooses when she is comfortable to do these things and quite often will do them spontaneously when she feels like it. She is such a genuinely loving little person and shows her love in different ways.

  7. Glad someone else is teaching their child it is their own body/comfort and they have a choice! I have a post in my head on why I am raising my son to respect other people’s bodies (not only do I want him to be able to stop someone from abusing him, but it is my job as the parent of a boy to raise him to not abuse others).

  8. ruthmeaney says:

    that’s a great post idea. coping with nursing aversion was a good intro to that for my daughter, with her dealing with me setting boundaries around my body and what was okay. and now that i’m heavily pregnant there’s a whole new bunch of things for her to be aware of. looking forward to the post.

  9. I need to do more research for it and especially in how I want to emphasize nonviolent communication. I feel an obligation to work to stop rape culture and I think it starts with teaching our children their bodies are theirs by never forcing hugs/kisses/etc.

  10. Are you still nursing her? I started a facebook group for extended breastfeeding.

  11. ruthmeaney says:

    that’s a great cause to work towards.

  12. ruthmeaney says:

    we just weaned 3 weeks ago which was wonderful timing as I have been hospitalised with bleeding. thankfully weaning was slow and gentle and felt right. no tears!

  13. Glad it went easy for you guys! Hopefully the medical issue is over now.

  14. ruthmeaney says:

    Will be over once bub is born! Have placenta previa and have had 3 bleeds in 3 weeks. Woo.

  15. Ooh not cool! When is your edd? I know my mom had been told my placenta was low and covering but it did move in time for me to be born at home (12 days past edd).

  16. ruthmeaney says:

    I’m 33 weeks, due 7th august. Placenta just over the cervix still. Hardly moved in 14 weeks !!

  17. Gah! Well, you don’t have much longer. Have you scheduled a c section or waiting for your body and baby to kick in and be ready?

  18. ruthmeaney says:

    Placenta too low to birth so will be a c section. Likely between 37-39 weeks.

  19. I’m a big fan of letting labor start before the c section unless there are other complications. There are so many things abort the birth process that we don’t understand yet! I have a friend who had scheduled a c section for her third child and went into the hospital in labor before that date. They told her she had to go home and wait because her c section wasn’t scheduled for then. Durrr! She had to go back again to convince them that no really, this was labor.

  20. ruthmeaney says:

    The risk with placenta previa is massive bleeding which becomes much more likely as the cervix softens. I would love love love to birth again but want what if safest for me and bub.

  21. Ah see I knew that it was a risk for bleeding to push the baby out but wasn’t aware of that it is also as the cervix softens. Would you do cervical checks at 37 weeks and decide when might be optimal? My cervix was stubborn and stayed pretty inactive until 41 weeks.

  22. ruthmeaney says:

    It’s more to do with placenta position. If it’s within 2cm of cervix you can’t birth. The softer your cervix is when you have c section the more bleeding you have which can put you and bub at risk. It’s such a fine balance.

  23. It really is! You want to give baby as much time as possible while keeping you both healthy and safe. I think it is even harder when there are maybes and percent chances, etc, of a possible complication.

  24. ruthmeaney says:

    Absolutely. Fingers crossed.

  25. I like this idea. I’m afraid I would be shamed to oblivion by my family lol I don’t however, force Sweet Pea to give hugs to anyone she doesn’t want to. That’s a safety thing. I want her to feel safe saying no about who can and can’t touch her. I was forced to give people hugs, and it didn’t end well for me.

    Maybe for the thank you thing, I’ll just ask her if she wants to say “thank you”. If she does, great. If not, well, then I’ll say it lol

  26. She can learn thank you by hearing you say it. It is harder with gifts to remember but I always say thank you for him too.

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