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Patronising 3 year old(10 Posts)
My Daughter is 3 and I've noticed recently that she's really patronising with other children, but also with me and her Dad.
When she has her friends over the house, if they do something wrong she will says (in a really adult like, patronising tone) "no, no, that's not how you do it now is it. Let me show you how you should do it properly, Silly. You didn't know how to do that did you. Never mind, you will learn".
Anyway, that's just one example, but she is like it every time she meets up with her friends. I don't know how to handle it but I can see her friends getting annoyed, and I'm always gobsmacked at how patronising she is. She must have learnt this behaviour from somewhere, but I'm genuinely not patronising at all. Her Dad isn't either. She goes to nursery and school so I'm not sure if she's copying a teacher or a pupil etc, but she has always spoken like an adult and as if she is always teaching other people things.
Anyway, I'm just worried that other kids might start to dislike her if she is always patronising them and acting as if everyone is stupid. She has so much confidence and I don't want to crush it by having to tell her not to speak to people like that. Any ideas on how to help her??
Children learn by copying- has she seen someone else behaving in this way?
The only thing I can think of is if she doesn't know how to do something I might say "don't worry, Mummy can show you how to do it" or "it takes a bit of time to learn".
She also tells her friends to be careful or not to do things that I would tell her not to do. She will say to her friends if they do something naughty they will go to their bedrooms.
So I suppose actually some of the phrases she uses have come from me, but definitely not things like calling people "silly" and I would never tell her to do something "properly" or tell her she didn't know how to do something.
When I say it, it's said as a parent, but when it comes out of a 3 year olds mouth to her friends, it is really patronising. Maybe it is the way I say things then?! But I don't know how else I would tell her to be careful or not to do something dangerous etc.
It is just her interpretation of what you are saying, for example "it takes a bit of time to learn" = "she didn't know how to do something."
Along with other influences in her life, not just you such as friends and relatives. One of them may use the term silly and she has added it in to sentences you might say and she doesn't understand the significance.
As harsh as some of it may sound, she will not intend it that way. She obviously thinks a lot of you and is copying you but missing certain points.
She may need some more explanation when you are speaking to her, for example only mums can send their own children to bed. Silly is not a word we should use, whoever she heard use that was naughty. Also explain it is alright not to know how to do things, we all have to learn. Give her an example of something she can't do yet and explain that doesn't make her silly, it's just you haven't learnt it yet.
She is 3. She is learning by copying as children do but hasn't got the social nuancing right yet. Some things you will have to explain, like only mummies can send their children to their bedrooms. Other things, like tone of voice- well, thankfully the other children won't have developed much of a sense of nuance either.
Anecdote from dd's childhood. She'd have been 4 1/5 and her cousin close to 4. They were playing and fell out, each stomped off in their different directions never to speak to each other again. Eventually, dd, being the most needy, relents and trots off to make up. SIL and I sitting in the next room hear dn's smug little voice emerging: "Well, I knew you would come to your senses eventually". SIL and I look at each other and voice: "why doesn't she just kill him???"
Dn and dd are now both adults, both perfectly capable in their social relations and also very good friends. It was a phase.
I did my work experience among 10yos and noticed that the social nuance bit that precludes smugness wasn't fully developed even at this age. This might actually be something the teenage years achieve. They can be horrible in all sorts of ways, but peer pressure on the whole tends to rub away the smugness.
Agree that she's copying something she's heard. If silly doesn't come from you then maybe something on tv? Iirc Peppa Pig pretty bossy and would use silly (don't they call Daddy Pig silly quite a lot?)
She needs it explicitly explained that she's a kid and only adults can say some stuff like sending someone to their bedroom. It might be a good idea to switch to a more tamer "Do you want a hand?" rather than "mummy can show you how to do it" so she uses that kind of phrase with her friends. The good news is her friends will probably be as oblivious as her about tone as it's quite nuanced to understand that.
Haha this could be my 3yo daughter!
She’s very caring but also loves to tell others what to do, be it her friends or her dad and me. As others have said, she’s just copying how she is parented and is trying to be kind.
The nuance of being patronising or condescending won’t occur to her for months/years yet, I’m sure.
As long as she’s kind, I really am not worried! It’s endearing.
If she’s unkind, we step in to explain why kindness is important and how we treat people how we want to be treated ourselves.
I think it sounds like your dd is very bright and will develop into a considerate, friendly young person
Ok, it sounds like I'm worrying over nothing! Phew!
Thank you for the tips on maybe rephrasing the way I say things, and also explaining to her that certain things are what a Mummy says to her child etc.
So glad that other kids her age won't pick up on the tone 🙈.
Wow I've never come across anything like this before online even though I've searched, but this is a lot like my DS, who will be 5 at the end of the year!
I would say he doesn't go quite as far as your DD and he wouldn't send anyone to their room, for example. And he doesn't tend to do it to adults, that I've noticed.
But he definitely tends to "mother" children sometimes, his nursery teacher last year even commented on it briefly. Not as if it was a problem as such, but not a compliment either - just an observation.
Examples of things I've heard him say:
"Be careful going down that hill, you could hurt yourself" (said to a child a few years older too - cringe)
"Yes yes x I know you like trains"
"Why are you hiding under that bench then"
Also when a friend from nursery came inside from playing and had sand on them, he rushed over to help them brush it off before they brought it in and made a mess. The nursery teacher laughed when she told me that and said he's almost like the dad of the group, but I have to admit I do find it cringeful and worry that it'll put some kids off being his friend, and he really is such a wonderful, fun little boy! Patronising-ness aside.
It's hard to think off the top of my head but it's definitely things that border on patronising. I do worry it's a tone he's picked up from me but as you say I'm the parent, he's the child.
He sounds completely gorgeous, you should be proud
I am sure they will figure out how to adjust their tone in the months and years to come. And probably grow up to be natural leaders too
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