Saying thank you

Andy_JapanDecember 28, 2001

I once read in some parenting book that you shouldn't thank your kids for doing what is reasonably expected. But that never sat well with me.

When my grade schoolers do things like clear the table or hand me the remote control or turn the sound down on the TV. I usually say thanks--just because it feels right.

Though my kids are still young, I am fairly satisifed with their response to little favors I do for them. They usually thank me, though sometimes they need to be reminded :)

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I say "thank you" all the time too & expect my DD to say it as well.

My DH laughed at me a while back when I threw the dog off the couch & said "thank you" to him!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 1:02AM
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You're doing the right thing. Even if good behaviour is "expected", your children also need to know good behaviour is "appreciated." Thanking them does that. We even got our kids into the habit of thanking the cook (me or hubby) for dinner! It's "expected" we will give them dinner, but we want the to "appreciate" the effort that went into it. It's paid off--nothing more pleasing for the host or hostess when we're invited out for our kids to rise from the table and say excuse me please, that was a very delicious dinner and I thank you very much. Niceties mean more than we think. That includes thanking kids for what they do for us. It may be expected behaviour, but that doesn't make it any less appreciated.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 1:52AM
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I have found that thanking my 2-1/2 yr old DS has resulted in him thanking me for things. Also he will tell me I'm wearing a "handsome outfit." (something I often say to him) I must say I don't see any downside to it!


    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 7:20AM
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Golly, I say thank you to my kids or husband or whomever hands me something or helps me out with a task when asked. And I expect them to thank me if I do the same for them. In my book, saying "thank you" when assisted IS expected behavior.

What pushes my buttons is ASKING children to do things rather than telling them - when appropriate. I have seen people ask children or use "please" too much, to do things when simply telling the child is much more appropriate and effective. "Would you like me to carry you in this store full of breakable items?" "Please stop throwing grapes on the floor."

    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 7:52AM
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this is how they get in the habit of saying "thank you". following the parents example is the easy way to do it.

I also had someone laugh at me for thanking the dog for getting down from the furniture. I also said "please, get down from the couch" I swear, I think she obeyed better when I was polite about it. LOL.

But, you don't ask a child IF they want to do something if it is something that you want done. You don't say "please" either. You just say "do it" then, thank them for doing it.

You want them to get in the habit of doing something they should when told to, not just because they happen to want to. "Please clean up your room" "please don't stay out too late" and other things like that, just don't work. You are giving them a choice on something that should not be an option.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 10:51AM
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Of course saying 'thank you' is appropriate. There are a lot of 'expert' books that offer a lot of truly nutty advice out there. As a teacher, I wish more parents felt the way you do--it's hard to teach manners to a child who comes from a home where they're not valued. You're doing a wonderful thing for your child by showing him respect and appreciation.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 10:59AM
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My 2 1/2 year old is the same as Trish's! We've just always said thank you and for close to a year now, Shane has, too! It was one of the first things he started to say. His grandparents get a real kick out of how he says and the littlest things he'll thank you for! We've never got after him and told him he had to say thank you and he mostly does it on his own. Sometimes he doesn't but it's just because he's in one of his moods.

I don't see anything wrong with using please and thank you around your kids. How else will they learn it?


    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 11:29AM
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I would never NOT say thank you just because they are my kids. It should be said to them more than anyone else...they learn by example. It is polite to say thank you.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 11:34AM
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If I expect my kids to respect me and say thank you when I do something for them, then I should say thank you when they do something for me.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 5:16PM
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It's good practice to model the kind of communicative behavior you want to see in your children. That includes pleases, thank yous, would yous, any kind of social 'nicety.' One thing is that social skills are important. A second thing is that even though social skills are 'optional' technically, doors open faster, and red tape disappears faster for people who are able to be polite (even, or especially when stressed or when it is clearly 'above and beyond'). It helps kids to develop these as habits.

There are usually nonverbal cues that parents give and children pick up on, so that althought what the parent may say is 'please stop... whatever' the child understands that that please is qualitatively different from the please asking for nicety. Confusion is more likely if the parent or the child has problems processing the nonverbal information from their environment and social interactions. It's good actively avoid this kind of confusion if there is the possibility that the child cannot process nonverbal cues. (They hear 'please' and respond as if being asked for a nicety because they don't detect the tense intonations, or hands on hips posture cues.)

it's just good to model the kinds of automatic behaviors that are desired for the children to model 'automatically'

    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 6:43PM
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There's a difference between saying "thank you" when your child takes his feet off the sofa when asked, and gushing "Oh my goodness, how incredibly wonderful of you to follow my directions about taking your feet off the sofa."

I'm actually in favor of often saying "please." I know my husband should hang up the towel, he forgets. Do I issue him an order "hang up the towel" or do I say "please remember to hang up the towel." Likewise, I say "please take your feet off the sofa. shoes make furniture dirty."

I agree that many of these things are not optional, but "please" sure makes the atmosphere nicer, and makes it easier for a rebelliously inclined kid to comply. And I think it's possible to be polite without in any way implying that there's a choice. (I'm sure there are plenty of parents who DO leave an implication that the kid has a choice, but I can say "please" and "thank you" without losing my authority)

Ditto "thank you." I thank people at work for simply doing their jobs. I thank my husband for doing things that are part of his routine. I thank my kids.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2001 at 11:00PM
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Just last night my nine-year-old said, "Thank you for apologizing." What happened was he was sitting next to me after his bath getting his PJs on. I scratched his tummy by mistake and said, sorry. He explained I hadn't really hurt him, but "Thank you for apologizing."

I must say this was no doubt a case of modelling. I often say thanks for apologizing if my kids say sorry but I wasn't hurt, or it wasn't damaged or whatever.

As for "please" I try to be polite by using "could you..." or "would you..." instead. As in "would you turn off the lights" or "could do that somewhere else."

I teach translation, and am always trying to get my students to understand that "please translate this" is still an imperative, and is therefore not fundamentally polite. While "would you (please optional) translate this?" is technically a question, a request, and therefore inherently more polite.

Many of you compare requests you make of your children with requests you make of your husbands. I do the same. Husabnds, children, everyone really, deserves appreciation.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2001 at 12:08AM
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I'd agree with not rewarding with favors or money things kids should do anyway. But please, thank you and I'm sorry are common courtesy, they should be said to everyone including our kids. How else will our kids learn to use those manners? They will do unto others as we do unto them.

So I say please and thank you to my kids for whatever I want them to, at least the first time I ask. LOL.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2001 at 9:57PM
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When I take my kids out to a movie or do something special for them and they actually say thank you...ON THEIR me, I say back to them..."thank you for saying thank you".

I want them to know that I appreciate their appreciation of me and the things I do for them. Its considerate. They love that I respect them enough to say that to them and they love seeing how much I enjoy their appreciation.

Does that make sence? LOL

    Bookmark   December 31, 2001 at 10:15PM
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Tallysue is absolutely right. You should definitely continue showing your kids appreciation for the things that they do without overdoing the praise. If children receive too much praise, they will become dependent on praise from others and it will diminish their own sense of personal accomplishment for their actions.
Keep doing what you're doing. There are too many people in this world who demand respect and reverence from children without giving them a smidgen in return. You showing appreciation for your children is a great way to ensure that they will show it for you.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 4:40PM
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Sometimes the only way I can get my 1.5 yr old to hand me something that she doesn't want to release is by saying please and thank you. If she has the cordless phone and she has hit the talk button and called China, I just put my hand out and say "thank you for bringing me the phone honey" and she gives it to me. If you don't say thank you, or try to pull it from her, she holds it tighter and screams until your ears hurt. So, in our house, my 3 yr old says thank you to everyone, including his baby sister, because he has learned the hard way that "thank you" is best way to respond. Less hard on the ears. It's odd how these children learn. They surprise me everyday. My son was having a tantrum the other day, and I told him that he was making me angry. I ignored him until he got over his tantrum. He came into the kitchen and said "Momma, I want to appologize, I don't like it when you are angry at me". I said,"go ahead". He said Sorry,and I gave him a big hug for being sensitive to my feelings. He said, "I senitive to you feelings", I laughed. He is so cute sometimes.
Anyway, I think that manners are a good thing to teach them at any age.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 3:41PM
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Jainie, it's moments like that "I sensitive to your feelings," that make all the tantrums and the whining and the sleepless nights seem unimportant!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2002 at 6:54PM
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