We begin drilling this habit into our children even before they can talk. “What do you say?” We ask them, expecting this magic word before we will hand over whatever it is they are asking for. We lead them to believe that the use of this one word will magically grant them whatever it is they desire. At the drop of one simple word, they will receive anything and everything that they ask for.
Such a simple word, even for little unpracticed tongues. But little did you know that as a parent, teaching this delightful and polite word would eventually and continuously turn against you…
Especially as they enter toddler-hood, your little one will start to figure out all the ways that they can manipulate you. That sweet smile, the ear-piercing scream in the middle of the grocery store, or the one word that you taught them…”please”. You delight the first time your little one uses the word when asked “what do you say”. “pease!” They answer, and clapping and acknowledgement ensues this good deed that they have finally accomplished. Positive enforcement continues as each time they use this magical word they are showered with treats, toys, and often the items they need to survive…like food and drink. Manners, right? Please and Thank You’s…right?
That’s all great, until you’re standing in the middle of Target and your toddler see’s their favorite treat or toy. After searching their brain for the magic word – that you will ask them to say first before you hand over their item – they, so very politely, ask “please?” as they point towards that coveted thing. Heaven forbid that be the first time you actually say “NO” to their plea…watch out Mama cuz here comes the tantrum!
And can you really blame them? You are the one that taught them this magical word. The one word that grants them anything and everything at the drop of one syllable. And as you find yourself fighting with a screaming toddler in the middle of the candy isle, you will suddenly hate this word with a passion! Damn you, manners! Ahh, the hipocracy of parenthood. You must say “please” to get this item, and 99% of the time you use this word, it will be magic. But that 1% of the time, it will send a horrible mixed message to your poor little toddler who thought they had it all figure out…!
And speaking of that 99%…you will find yourself laughing so hard you’ll almost pee yourself when they are throwing a giant fit, wailing and still managing to say “pleeeeeease”, causing you to give in, once more, to their very pathetic and strangely adorable tantrum.
If only they could ask us to Please stop being hypocrites, as it can be very confusing! 🙂