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.