I had a 3 weeks hiatus as I was doing a few firsts at 40. I first saw the Northern lights, I finally got to try skiing (and suck at it of course) & I stayed in the Artic region for 7 days. While I enjoyed those experiences, my sister also experience first hand of taking care of my almost 5 year old daughter for 3-4 hours a day. There are good times & also bad times (like her highest ‘skill’ – crying).
So she found my girl to have bad manners – like 1) ignoring an elder 2) asking someone to go away while she watched TV (although I told many time to my family to NOT let her watch any) 3) did not address an elder. It does seem not like a ‘big’ deal, cos as I write it in words – it doesn’t seem big but when it is in action – trust me IT IS, especially coming from an almost 5 y/o.
Naturally, being a ‘google’ addict, I google for a method to help with my methods. One can find many (gazillions maybe) articles about this & most are teaching methods which surprisingly was not what I was really searching for. After much quick views of the many write ups, I found this – 7 ways to teach your child manners – it centered around the parents’ themselves – which is more inward looking vs outward.
My sisters & family members also suggested that I send her to a weekly ‘buddhism’ based gathering for kids which centered around teaching young kids good manners like respect, kindness etc. While I do not disagree to this method, I do feel that it is more than that. Spending 2 hours a week in these gathering isn’t going to help if the other 50 waking hours of the week that is spent with the family does not practice good manners isn’t it?
So, the difficult truth is – I have to take this ‘bad’ manners of my 5 y/o as my fault. Why? While I always remind her to address the elders when we meet one, I didn’t tell her why it was needed. Thus it will explain why she didn’t feel the need to do so when I am not around. While I did correct her ‘ignoring’ behavior when I see it, I didn’t go back & explain to her what it is like to be ignored (but that said, I do ignore her although not often when she was being whiny & unreasonable, she may have thought it is ok to ignore because mom does it). While I did correct her for being rude with ‘telling’ people to go away or taking things that are not hers, I did not explain to her why it is wrong to do so. While I try not to chide her bad behavior when we are outside (insisting her way with my friends), I did not explain to her that her behavior was wrong when I am alone with her at home just because I am tired & just want her to sleep after the long day.
Lastly, I think I have taken for granted on my manners when I speak to Mike. We have become too comfortable with each other, we forgot to say please or may I or can I ? I raised my voiced often because of rush of time or tiredness, so to get things done quickly. That would explain why Relm likes to ‘tell’ vs ‘ask’ for anything.
I do not want to run away from this responsibility of my daughter’s bad manners. In fact, I do think the main cause is me – which saddens me & also served as a revelation for me. It is time for me to re-learn my manners with my daughter.
No wonder people say one learns a lot when one has a child. Not just learning with them & from them but also for them.