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to insist children remember to say please and thankyou at the table even with their parents in tow?

(67 Posts)
AcornOnmyfoot Thu 18-Jun-09 07:43:49

I constantly have a stream of guests for tea. I have a large family and (popular?)dc always being asked/asking to have friends back, and I am very welcoming, lots of freshly homemade food (sometimes!) baked beans and sausages etc (when I'm too busy or can't be arsed to make more of an effort.

Anyway, what I do insist on is the dc say please and thank you and if they forget I remind them (ages range from 3-10).(politely of course)

I recently had parent here whose dc I brought back from school and they all stayed on for tea, I reminded their ds (aged 7) to say p and t in front of parent and thereafter they prompted dc.

Twims Thu 18-Jun-09 07:45:09

YANBU I insist on it too - whether in front of the parent or not.

HuffwardlyRudge Thu 18-Jun-09 07:49:57

Well, it's not very good manners on your part to single out your guests and make their parents feel a bit awkward.

I suppose it depends how you did it and how well you know the children, but I'd veer more towards YABU.

HecatesTwopenceworth Thu 18-Jun-09 07:50:50

I don't think you're unreasonable. I insist on good manners also.

Some people think manners don't matter. They are so wrong. Remove courtesy and you have removed the bottom layer of a brick wall.

And it will fall down and flatten you!!!

HecatesTwopenceworth Thu 18-Jun-09 07:53:31

Oh yes huff, I agree it depends how it is said. "Oi, fucking well say please, you little sod" - not good manners. grin

But an adult (all adults!) also has the responsibility to gently guide children (all children!), who, let's be honest, aren't born knowing good manners - since they are something created by us as social animals, to make interactions easier.

NellyNoKnicks Thu 18-Jun-09 07:59:02

I agree, I cannot bear bad manners in anyone and wont hold back gently reminding them if a child does not say please or thank you.

I have been known to correct my dp in the past as well blush

FAQinglovely Thu 18-Jun-09 08:01:43

Even my DS3 (25 months) says thankyou (not Ta wink) unprompted most of the time now.

We're still working on "please" grin

GeckoLovingHornedThing Thu 18-Jun-09 08:24:50

I dont think there is anything wrong with it
kids are learning their manners
we are helping the to learn by reminding them

I do it too

you only have to say 'th....' or 'p..' and they remember

tis just rienforcing the learning

PuzzleRocks Thu 18-Jun-09 08:33:04

DD1 is 2.2 and knows to always say please and thank you. I would have no problem with another adult reminding her if she forgot.

sleeplessinstretford Thu 18-Jun-09 08:41:16

this is a tricky one i think. I am all for manners and routinely use please and thank you to my children when I ask them to do something/pass me something. I don't however insist that they say please- nothing gets my goat more than people 'dangling a carrot'in front of a child and doing the whole 'say please or you wont get it' routine.
When DD1 was little I had a 'friend' who had given a whole table of her friends a drink omitting the ones who had not said 'please' My children say thank you as a matter of course when they are grateful for something and it is heartfelt-just like the 'saying sorry'routine-it's just noise and a word that means nothing if it's parrotted.
If it's just a glass of water I don't think they should be have to stand on ceremony-alhtough my kids are reasonably well mannered in other ways- I wonder if people are bitching me out for not insisting on it???

HuffwardlyRudge Thu 18-Jun-09 08:56:17

I agree that manners are very important, and I teach my children to say please and thank you. I'm just not convinced that singling out a child to say please or thank you is the most positive way to teach them. In that situation they will absorb the others saying p and ty and notice the positive response, and I feel that is a more effective lesson, more likely to embed the importance of good manners in their mind.

I have a three-yr-old who is quite likely to forget to say p or ty in the excitement of being at someone elses house. She is rather socially awkward and doesn't hear well. Given the choice, I would prefer her to enjoy the meal at someone's house and observe everyone else saying p and ty and have a general happy, positive experience.

A gentle nudge from an adult who she knows would be fine.

Being singled out and having to remember to say p or ty in front of everyone would be less fine. Not massively harmful or anything, just not something I would choose. If I were sitting there and hadn't prompted her it would be because I can read her well and had chosen not to remind her on that occasion.

But this is a lot of thought about something that I don't actually feel strongly about! You did ask. (Am waiting for a baby to wake up with nothing better to occupy myself than writing long winded posts on MN grin).

lottiejenkins Thu 18-Jun-09 09:05:04

Im very hot on manners too! My ds who has special needs has to go to hospital in London three or four times a year. He has been taught to give up his seat on the tube when others are standing and is doing it really well!!

SheDancesTheFlamingo Thu 18-Jun-09 09:41:29

Defo agree with Hecate.
Saying please and thank you are basics but very important, it's all about acknowledging the effort that another individual has made to do something you have requested of them.
I always encourage my DCs to remember their manners when at someone else's house and have been flattered on many occasions to hear that they are considered to be 'delightful' as others' guests (regardless of what little buggers they mutate into the second they step over my threshold).
I also over-emphasise my satisfaction at other DCs when they use their pleases and thank-yous as my guests, hoping they get the message that manners definitely grease the wheels.
If a child doesn't appreciate the benefits of good manners, what hope do they have in extending more complex courtesies to their fellow human beings? It's not about the words. it's about the sentiment and consideration behind them.

sleeplessinstretford Thu 18-Jun-09 09:50:40

my point is that if it's parroted and barked out repetively there is no sentiment or consideration...
I always say 'lovely manners' and make a point of recognising if a child is polite but equally I wouldn't demand a child/withhold something if they forgot to.
My children are polite, they are thankful and grateful when they feel that way themselves-my eldest daughter was left to her own devices and is apparently a delight (not to live with obviously) but others find her ok.. wink

SleeplessinScotland Thu 18-Jun-09 09:58:40

I think manners are one of the most important things that you need to teach your children. Personally I wouldn't prompt other peoples children to say p + ty, but do comment when they do say it.

sparkle12mar08 Thu 18-Jun-09 10:03:46

We've tried very hard to get our eldest to say please and thank you unprompted and he is getting very good at it. However I do agree with the sentiment that it's somewhat unfair to make very young children effectively 'beg' for things. That's about control, not manners, and it's a trap my dh sometimes falls into!

ahundredtimes Thu 18-Jun-09 10:09:30

I think the singling out is a bit extreme, and a rather veiled way of criticizing the parent. I have done it, but then felt bad about it. And I've had it done to me, and then felt awful too.

I now say 'before you all get down, you all have to say 'that was delicious and 100% you are perfect' even if you didn't like the food. Then take your plate and make a messy pile by the sink please.'

They tend to do this and grin about it too.

fizzpops Thu 18-Jun-09 10:15:40

I agree with Sleepless.

I always say, 'Please Mummy' and 'Thankyou Mummy' etc to my DD to encourage her to say thankyou (she is 14mo and can say 'thankyou' and often says it spontaneously). I would, however, be put out if another adult prompted her when I was there as I would keep an eye out and try and prompt her first and it implies that I don't try to teach her manners.

I'm assuming here that I am not out of the room etc. in which case I don't think it will do her any harm to have what I teach her reinforced by someone else. Likewise, my Mum sometimes looks after her and prompts her to say 'thankyou' when I am there, which I don't mind as if I trust her to look after her she needs to be able to manage her behaviour.

GentlyDidIt Thu 18-Jun-09 10:25:45

I think please and thank you are important, but I think since manners are all about showing respect and consideration to others, that respect and consideration pip correcting children in front of their parents.

My DD remembers please and thank you 9 times out of ten, but forgets when overexcited - usually when we're in company as she enjoys it so much!

With some adults you can see it's an attempt to kindly guide the child; with others, it can feel like a "spot the ill-mannered DC" competition.

I usually ask DD "Is there something you want to say to <adult>?" and she will then say please / thank you. Sometimes there's not time to do that because <adult> is demanding "What do you SAY?" or "What's the magic word?" with a sucked-lemon expression. I don't think that teaches children anything about consideration for others, TBH.

Finally, is it the word that's important, or the expression of gratitude? I'll never forget DD once accepting an ice-cream from my grandma and DD saying "Ooh GGM, you are so kind!" and GM blasting venomously back "Yes but what do you SAY?!?" hmm

fraggletits Thu 18-Jun-09 10:28:15

I also agree with sleepless

I wouldn't prompt anybody's child to say please or thank you to me, especially in front of their parents, but I always recognise good manners and thank a child for thanking me by saying 'you are very welcome....what lovely manners!' - that kind of thing.

fraggletits Thu 18-Jun-09 10:30:57

Agree too Gentlydidit! You put it so well. Blimey your grandma was a bit harsh wasn't she!!!

abraid Thu 18-Jun-09 10:40:33

'"Ooh GGM, you are so kind!" and GM blasting venomously back "Yes but what do you SAY?!?" '

Oh, that's a bit harsh: what the child said was a de facto thank you: a really heartfelt one, too!

BonsoirAnna Thu 18-Jun-09 10:42:00

You just mustn't tell other people's children how to behave when the parents are around, unless there is some kind of danger or deep unfairness to another child involved.

GentlyDidIt Thu 18-Jun-09 10:44:57

Thank you both - personally I was BEAMING at what DD said, as she had worked out her own way of expressing gratitude, even during the excitement of being presented with a massive ice-cream.

As you might imagine, GM feels that please & thank you represent the absolute pinnacle of human interaction. grin

mumsiebumsie Thu 18-Jun-09 10:49:19

I think it's mostly an English trait that we don't like other adults to reprimand our children.

This doesn't happen so much on the continent and especially in west indian cultures.

I would feel no problem if an adult I like (and I presume we're talking about friends if our children are at their houses for tea) prompted my child to say thankyou or please if they felt the child wasn't going to.

A friend of mine was in M&S and a child of about 4 years old run straight into her at great force - he then started to run off so she said "say sorry" the mother turned on her screaming "don't you dare tell my child what to do!".

It's ridiculous! Rearing a child isn't just down to the parents - it can be a community effort and an adult reminding a child to be polite in my mind is a loving and considerate act.

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