I have noticed, that both my children are not saying “Please” and “Thank you” so often these days, not to me or to other people. At first, this brought up a reaction in me and I’d tell my children to say please and thank you. Then, I started to wonder… “Aren’t forced Pleases and Thank you’s empty of meaning and if so, why do we insist on forcing our children to say them?”
Personally, I’d rather receive a Please or Thank you that came from the heart, not because it is socially nice. In addition, I’ve realised that actually, I don’t need anyone to say “Thank you” or “Please” to me to make me feel okay, respected or appreciated, because I feel those things for myself.
What, I really want is for everyone to be real with me, including children. If, I need someone to say Please or Thank you to me, then that’s me holding a victim role of needing something from outside myself to feel okay.
With, my deepest feeling I sense that children just need to know they are safe with us meaning, they are accepted fully, all parts of them are okay and instead of reacting to anything I perceive as rudeness, I could, instead, speak softly to the child, repeating back what they have just said, so they know it’s okay to be vulnerable with me and that I’m not going to judge them because they are feeling, awkward, angry, irritated or shy.
I feel deeply, that my own children and any other child, do not have to say, Please or Thank you to me, because I’m not attached to them doing so.
I realised, that Please and Thank you are words for us to express our joy. If, I say to my children, “Hey, lets go for ice-cream” they shout and dance around the room singing, “Yes, please, yes please oh thank you mummy!” they are expressing their joy of having ice-cream and I just happen to be the one supplying it.
Of course, all of our children know this stuff already, they are here to teach us, just waiting for us to catch up with them. No wonder they get frustrated sometimes!