Pre-School and Daycare

Bad manners

Our four-year-old has been exhibiting poor manners lately. He has been reluctant to say thank you when people give him things. Plus, we had company a couple of times this weekend, and both times he refused to say "goodbye" or "thank you for coming" when they left. I think for the most part he is just pushing boundaries and establishing his independence, but my husband and I have agreed that we need to do something about this. It's terribly rude, especially when we have guests in our home. We've tried explaining to him why saying thank you is important and why it is important to make our guests feel welcome and appreciated, but that has not seemed to help. Any suggestions?

Re: Bad manners

  • I disagree with Fredalina in that I definitely notice when kids don't use manners and I find it very off putting.

    I lead by example. I probably over do it with pleases and thank toys, but I've been that way my whole life. Manners are my hill.

  • I think the parent thank you is the model.  You both are saying the same thing, I think!
    I have to say one of mine never spoke out loud in public until just before he turned 4.  And I always felt embarrassed when people would coo at him or point out who was on his shirt, or whatever.  I can't count the times I've felt completely judged by this "rudeness" although my girls will accept and return a compliment and smile sweetly when strangers coo over them.  They never miss a thank you or please.  I am big on manners and in our home they are non-negotiable.  Even DS has always practiced good manners at home. 

    OP- if he is pushing boundaries, celebrate- he's developing appropriately!  I would ignore and like Fred said, fill in for him.  I bet if  he's in preschool he lives up to the expectations there. Or maybe rather than challenging, he is going through a phase of shyness around others.  I would persevere at home- expect the words and politeness in the home- wait for the please to respond, push the "excuse me" and ignore interrupting, etc., and trust your work in private will soon enough carry over.   

    I agree a rude kid is a turn off, but having had a "rude" kid who was actually language delayed and had anxiety in public, I tend to be a little more forgiving.  And seeing a parent patiently model the thank you and not feed into the behavior is as positive as a squeaky thank you, even if not as cute.

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  • Thanks for the suggestions. I will try not to urge him to say thank you and just say it myself. It would be hard not even to acknowledge the fact that he didn't say anything. I wouldn't want to give guests the impression that I don't expect my son to speak. It is a good point about school. I believe he behaves well there, so it must be something about how I am reacting that is causing this. I will try a different approach.
  • I see nothing wrong with an expectant look, asking, or even telling him to say thank you.  But then graciously looking at the giver with a "I'm sure you've been through this" look and say, like pp said, enthusiastically, "thank you for the ___!"

    I think the insistence, or apology, or reaction to his "rudeness" (or whatever it is) is where he is empowered and rewarded for not responding. 

    My kids definitely push boundaries with me they don't at school and annoying as it is, at least they are taking our family values with them away from the nest!

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