Show of hands, how many of you have reminded your kids to say please, thank you or your welcome? Ahh yes. I see you over there in the corner.
Ever feel like a broken record?
I believe if you asked Bubba what my favorite words were, those would come out first.
In fact, I’m starting to think that I don’t give him the benefit of the doubt as much as I should.
As his Mother, I get to see him on his great days and on his very worst days. His parents are his comfort zone so he’ll lash out at us to express his feelings. As such, I think we, as parents, forget that our kids don’t act out a majority of the time. I firmly believe that we forget to give them a chance to show us who they really are before we steamroll them with the polite-manners-train. Much like wait-time in schools, the amount of time you pause in order to give students an opportunity to process, formulate and offer an answer, I think toddlers need wait-time too. I’ve started to train myself to wait just a few moments after an interaction to see Bubba’s response. 8 of 10 times, he says thank you or responds in a polite manner without prompting. It makes me wonder how many times I’ve jumped over top of him to correct him before he’s actually committed a fault. (To another point, I also do this with my husband sometimes, which I shouldn’t, but I’m working on it. We all have faults. That’s one of mine.)
The other day we were playing and Bubba accidentally bonked me with a toy. It didn’t hurt, no harm no foul. But he directly stopped everything, ran over and hugged me while saying “I’m so sorry Mommy. You okay?” He then looked directly into my eyes waiting for my response. I was almost speechless. This little person, only 2 1/2 years old, is gaining the capacity to understand the feelings of others and genuinely seek forgiveness for mistakes. That is the sort of empathy we’re trying to teach. There’s hope for him yet.
I can only hope that he’ll continue to recognize the feelings of others and to use the manners we’re trying to teach him. He may not be able to say all of the words, but I think he is understanding the intent behind them. Our goal is for him to be a positive, polite and successful addition to society in the future. 2 years down. Many more to go. Wish us luck!