Bringing up girls - assertiveness, forthright opinions vs manners and "niceness"

(26 Posts)
Portofino Wed 09-Jan-13 21:12:27

I have one dd. She is nearly 9. DH and I have always spoken to her in a grown up way. We always make a point of answering questions as truthfully as possible whilst being age appropriate. We are quite hot on manners - please, thank you etc, if she has a playdate, putting the guest first, and if invited to someone elses, doing as she is told, eating what she is given etc. She is doing well at school, and is generally a joy. This all sounds a bit twee I know - she is 8 and we are not uber helicopter parents or anything.

But - she has opinions, and will voice them. She can put together a mean argument and will use it to her best advantage. She will try very hard to manipulate a situation to suit her. She is shockingly good at this. She is very assertive and confident. I love this - I was not as a child and want to ensure that she has a healthy sense of self esteem.

Over Xmas though my sister referred to her as an ill mannered, spoilt brat. (In front of her - which caused all sorts of ructions which I will no go into here)

This was based on dd saying she didn't really like the veg that came with Xmas dinner - when she was asked. And also that the Xmas stocking had a game in the year before, not just chocolate - again when asked. Basically dsis wanted a compliment and did not get one.....

Now I want to be hot on manners. I do not want dd to be perceived as rude, or well BE rude. But on the other hand, I do not want her to a nice submissive being. I want her to be assertive, and opinionated and not afraid to fight her own corner. I have tried to bring her up to be truthful and honest, and that lying is really bad, as it takes away trust.

I have no bloody clue how to get the balance though. Dd should have replied differently to dsis, but that would have involved lying - as far as she is concerned - and I think she is still to young too get the nuances of it all. My dsis's 3 boys were shockingly rude (imho) the whole time we were there. But that seems to be "acceptable" for boys - whilst dd was expected to be all sweetness and light....

HoleyGhost Fri 11-Jan-13 19:38:22

Your sister was rude to ask and nasty to strop at a child's response.

Your dd was put in an awkward position. Diplomacy with a rude, nasty adult is too much to expect.

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