Saturday, October 15, 2011

Drawing a line, in Quicksand

Raphaela has no problem with the word or the concept of "Thank you."  She has been saying and using that word with regular frequency of her initiative for the last year or so.

"Please" is another story altogether.  She will demand something, and I will say, "How about 'please'?  Can you say 'please'?"  Raphaela then gets a mysterious smile on her face, and answers my question with a clear "Yes."  That magic word has yet to exit her mouth, in Hebrew or in English.

In fact, she would rather give up the item or the request rather than say "Please," like it represents some moral imperative, a line she refuses to cross on principle.

Having moved to Israel from the United States, I vowed that I and my children would not lose pleasant manners and that basic consideration with which I was raised.  I am not sure how to break this impasse with Raphaela, who seems to be about pig-headed and stubborn as her mother.


Sarah said...

I'm not sure there's much you can do besides continue to deny her things if she doesn't say it, praise her when she does, and model the behavior yourself both when speaking to her and when speaking to others in her presence. You can bring a (stubborn) horse to water but you can't make it drink. Anyway she's only two years old. She'll probably start saying it when she widens her social experiences and gets positive feedback from teachers, other children, and her friends' parents.

Ariela said...

Teach by example. She will get it.

Commenter Abbi said...

Whoa, I think you're making a little too much of her "resistance" to your politeness training. She's two, and she's doing exactly what 2 year olds are supposed to do- testing boundaries and staking out her independence. I highly doubt she will turn out to be a wild indian who doesn't know how to say please and thank you. I'd be more impressed that she has enough grammatical understanding to know that the correct answer to a question that starts with "Can" is "yes" or "no"!

Don't try to break any impasses and forget about writing off her manners. Laugh it off as an adorable anecdote you'll be able to share when she's 20 and a regular pro at common courtesy.