A few days ago, I was out shopping with Honeybee. As I was looking for what I needed, an older woman came over and said to Honeybee "You are such a sweet and beautiful girl!" To which I replied " Honeybee, "You say "thank you" when someone says something nice to you - say thank you." Of course Honeybee chooses this moment to get shy. The woman looks at me and says: "Oh, don't force her to say thank you, you shouldn't push it." in a very reprimanding tone with a disapproving the look on her face. "No, Mummy, shouldn't force you to do anything, you little dear!" Now, I didn't think I was "forcing it". I certainly wasn't twisting her arm or being mean or even that strong about it. I was simply using it as a "teachable moment".
Perhaps it just comes from being a teacher, or maybe just because I was taught how to behave as a child and I expect that any child of mine will learn the same.The key word here being "LEARN". Children are not born with the knowledge that they should say "please" or "thank you", or that there are certain acceptable ways to behave in public. These are things they must learn .
Honeybee just turned two and lately has been demonstrating just how much she is listening and watching what is going on around her, but even before this we've been constantly reinforcing good behavior and good manners. Daddy J and I always (try to remember to) say please and thank you to each other to model the behavior we want Honeybee to learn. As the primary influence on our daughter we have to remember that if we want her to adopt a certain behavior we need to set that example ourselves.
So to the woman who scolded me in the store, please do not treat me like I am publicly beating my child when I am simply trying to make sure that when she is older she will behave better than you!
Photos courtesy of FreeRangeStock.com