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AIBU for wishing my children were a bit more grateful or showed that they appreciate me?

(56 Posts)
PTFsWife Fri 22-Nov-13 19:43:03

Two boys - aged 8 and 10. They say thank you when expected e.g. thank you for my dinner, please may I leave the table. But more often than not they need to be reminded. E.g. we go out for a fab day that I have organised for them with loads of fun had by all, and they don't say a word. I then say: Did you boys have a nice time? (hoping that they might say: Yes, thank you for taking us) But I tend to get a shrug and a grunt. If I ask 'Have you got anything to say?' I get a mumbled 'Thank you'.

But it's not really the thank you's. It is a general feeling that I am 100% taken for granted. A friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook recently of a note she had found in a note pad written by her young son that said: I LOVE MUMMY!!!!!!

I can't imagine my children ever doing that. Nor have they ever done anything like that. Not even writing a thoughtful card on my birthday. If they wrote anything, it would be: To mummy, Love xx - minimum effort or thought.

AIBU unreasonable for expecting any gratitude or at least a sense that my children see me as more than just the person who feeds and washes up after them? I know children can be ungrateful little beasts, but it saddens me that my children seem so unable to show me that they love me (even though I am pretty sure they do).

Incidentally, I tell them I love them, cover them in kisses and cuddles, spend hours playing games with them, have good conversations with them etc. And if they do ever do anything thoughtful, I thank them and show my gratitude. So it's not like I'm not demonstrating how to show love and appreciation.

Any suggestions on either how to cope with these sad feelings or how to get them to express their love/gratitude a little more.

beatricequimby Fri 22-Nov-13 20:52:47

OP I think you are getting a bit of a hard time here and I think you have got a point. If you take them on a special day out then they should say thank you spontaneously.

I have talked to my dc (similar ages) about this. I had noticed that when their friends come to play or go to a party there a couple that will smile at me at the end and say thanks beatrice I had a great time. Others mutter thanks when told to by their parents, grab the party bag and run. I really appreciate the ones that say thank you in a genuine, meaningful way. When I talked to my dcs about it I was pretty specific eg if you say thank you that was a nice dinner, or thanks I really enjoyed the swimming people will appreciate it.

My dcs now do this. I don't think before they weren't grateful for nice things people did for them. But I think I did have to talk it through with them for them to really get it.

PTFsWife Fri 22-Nov-13 21:00:35

Beatrice - I have had similar conversations with my boys. For example when they walk to school, some parent and even their friends will say: 'Hi PTF's Child' loudly with a smile on their face while looking in their eyes. My children will look at their feet and mumble hello, if they say anything. They NEVER do the same kind of cheery hello. And I always do when I pass people - even people I don't know I say a smiley hello. So it's not like they don't see it. And I don't think they are shy children either.

And same for thank yous. I've had to tell them time and again that if they go stay at someone's house they need to say thank you. And not just thank you mumbled staring at your feet, but a heartfelt ' Thank you for having me. I had a lovely time' .... or similar. It just seems to go in one ear and out the other. I think they are very slowly getting better - but they don't seem to naturally have it in them to do it and it is like training little monkeys! Monkeys might learn faster....

beatricequimby Fri 22-Nov-13 21:21:29

I have had to be quite firm about some mannersy stuff. DC will say they forgot to do whatever it was and I have ended up saying you don't forgot things that are important to you, you don't forget when its your day to get the Beano for example. So if you regularly forget to do what's polite then its because you don't think its important and that's not on.

Parliamo Fri 22-Nov-13 21:30:04

You sound maybe a little bit resentful, and a few other posters have already asked similar things that crossed my mind about whether you and your partner model the behaviour you would like, whether you are happy more generally. I think from your responses it sounds like you are all doing your best, and you should be just reminding yourself that they are just children - they are not finished yet, and one day it will come, even if it is not always expressed in a manner you would wish it.

Slightly away from the main point, I also wonder whether you are seeking too much validation from your family, even with your nn you are defining yourself in terms of a relationship. It is so easy for a wife and mother to be subsumed by their roles and lose a sense of individuality. Is this why you are so focused on this at the moment?

I admit I rarely take my DC on special days out.

And if I do I do not expect elaborate thanks, I do expect good behaviour though and no nagging for treats.

If they go feral indoors, I am lucky enough to be able to send them outside and saying they can come back in after an hour. But not everyone can do that!

Mumof3xx Sun 24-Nov-13 09:18:20

It could be worse, my ds has this morning announced he wants a different mummy all because I wanted him to get dressed

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