Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Battle of Please and Thank You

Breakthrough: Reagan said "please" as part of a request! We've had a long stubborn streak with refusal to say "please" and "thank you" ... totally testing how much control she has I guess and not wanting to be put on the spot about it. We didn't want to push so much that it turned into a huge stubborn battle, so we tried suggestion and explanation and encouragement for a while to no avail. I finally made a "Responsibility Chart" I had been planning on and decided that at age 3, she can say please and thank you, no more excuses, so it's on the chart as one of her responsibilties. Today was the 5th day using her chart and I was going through it with her to help her see what things she still needed to get stickers for. I also happened to make my favorite cookies to cure my sweet tooth tonight (she loves them too) and when she saw me licking the spoon, I told her she needed to ask and say please and she was the most torn I've seen about saying it. So many times before, she's told me, "actually, I don't want it" to avoid having to say please.

The key ended up being that I didn't act like I cared because it seems the stubbornness comes from us wanting her to, so of course she doesn't want to. So I just went about my business while talking to her about it so that it wouldn't feel like I was putting her on the spot and expecting it. At bedtime, we went upstairs and she was saying making a last-ditch attempt to still get a cookie by saying "can I have a cookie plea" since we had been letting her "get used to it" by saying "plea" the last few days - Cam's idea since she kept telling us she couldn't say it because she wasn't "used to it". I had already told her it was time to get used to saying "please" now. I kept saying "oh, you almost got it" with a tone that indicated belief that she needed the practice all while not making too much eye contact and continuing on with business as usual (to keep the I-don't-care-if-you-say-it facade going). I left her room to go get her toothbrush ready and she came in and told me, "I said it in my room". I said oh, that's good, but I need to hear you say it. She suggested that maybe if I came in her room, I'd hear her say it. I said, ok, sounds good and went to her room. She quickly followed and was doing the almost thing again and I kept acting encouraging, but not concerned/wanting it at all. She finally got something out that wasn't really asking but had the word please in it and since she's been all about telling us she's just "talking about" saying it, I told her I needed to hear the question with please. She started kicking her legs in the air being silly just like a nervous person giving a speech might twitch or rub their hands together or something and then actually got the sentence out! I smiled and said, "oh, let's go get a cookie" even though inside I was like holy crap, I broke her down! She made sure we knew that she had to kick her legs in order to say it. We made sure to let her know how hard she worked at saying it, how determined she was, and that it made us happy to hear it. I think she liked that cause she started saying "thank" just before bedtime story, but explained that she was saying it to her dresses. She's already decided to practice that one now :-) The psychology of all this is too funny.


  1. Yes, this was pretty interesting when I was there too. I peaked her interest when I explained "commands" vs "requests" because she loves to learn new words. She mulled those over for a while and enjoyed hearing examples of the two but ultimately it was to no avail!
    Speaking of new words- she learned "appetite" from me and was using it in just a day or two after I arrived. Go ahead, ask her how her appetite is today. :)

  2. Stick with it...we battled this with both girls daily...weren't nearly as nice as you not pretending to care--the girls knew we meant business--so that meant battles sometimes, but I can honeslty say that I get complimented all the time about how polite our girls are 99% of the time. Stick with it, cookie or not! Ha-Ha!