We have a 21 month old who is quite polite. Some of her first words were please & thank you, we encourage her to share, we remove her from situations where she is getting grabby and rude...I sort of thought we were doing the right things.
However, the more time she spends with her cousins, the more I'm thinking that we are making it difficult for her to stick up for herself in life. Two of her cousins are quite "handsy". They are not big on sharing, and I get that, so we try and bring our own toys/books/etc to avoid conflict. All my LO wants to do is play with her cousins and have fun, but it's not easy for her to do that when she is constantly getting hit and screamed at and pushed and having toys (hers and her cousin's) torn out of her hands. When she does get a toy handed to her, or when she is allowed to play she is so polite and says thank you, like she is grateful for a bit of kindness.
I try to intervene only when there is a possibility that someone is going to be hurt. But, I feel terrible when I see her so sad. I wonder if I should be letting her get "handsy" in return, let her learn to stick up for herself. I worry I'm making her too soft.
Re: Sometimes I feel like I'm setting my child up for failure
In the meantime, I would work on teaching her to tell her cousins not to hit/shove/take toys (with her words preferably - no, please don't, etc depending on her verbal skills) and that if they continue to then find an adult for help - similar to what to teach later for bullies. It's really just building a base for the next few years and you'll be needed more than you're not, but hopefully it'll help in the long run.
We've been teaching her to say "No Thank You", or taking her toy and move away and that seems to be working alright, but this is a constant thing that we are having to deal with. I don't want to be the mean auntie, but I'm more and more turning into the evil one.
Thank you so much for your advice. I'm trying to find that delicate balance that makes her more assertive without being a bully.
I hope you can find that line and I think moving away is a great option for when they don't listen. Good luck!
This is horse shit and it's also your SIL being a lazy parent. Sorry but it is. It's very very damn hard to teach a kid to be a "good" kid, polite and nice to other kids and some parents just don't put in the hard work it takes.
I agree with what PP said above. YOU are doing the right thing but unfortunately your daughter is playing with other kids that aren't as nice as her. I wouldn't change a thing with your parenting though.
Is she in daycare or regularly exposed to other kids besides her cousins. If she's not, preschool should help her learn some of the social skills she needs to handle all sorts of situations.
I'm thinking of signing her up for an 8 week "Mother Goose" story time at the library to get her exposed to different kids and different situations. Tomorrow is the drop in for it, so I think we are going to stop by and see how she likes it.
Thanks for the advice. My hormones are going crazy being 26 weeks pregnant, so seeing her get picked on by her family members really hurt me more than I think it normally would.
I don't think you necessarily need to sign her up for any classes or push to get her exposed to other children because she IS still young. Perhaps you are overthinking this a tad and maybe you are just emotional so you are trying to solve this problem NOW. I hate to see my kids picked on but this is a problem for your SIL and her kids, not for you. Your daughter will learn life lessons as she grows so I don't think you need to stress this too much now.