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Monday, July 05, 2010

Susanna Wesley's Household Rule #7

Here are my thoughts on Susanna Wesley's Household Rules:
Rule #7: Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely.
This rule is ABSOLUTELY enforced at my house.  I absolutely detest children who act like they are the boss of the household and whine or scream for what they want.  And I blame the parents who give in to them.  Yes, it is much, much easier to give in because it will make the child shut up but it is NOT worth it.

I started teaching Stardust to say 'please' once he started to indicate what he wanted at around 5 months old.  At 5 months old, he was absolutely pre-verbal but I really did not want him to learn that he had to scream or cry before he got what he wanted, so I taught him to sign 'please' using American Sign Language.

This meant, of course, that I moved his little hand across his chest for him and said "Please, Mummy", before giving him whatever he was wanting.  After consistently helping him to sign (even for things he did not ask for, which meant that I usually held a conversation with myself viz. "Please Mummy help me into my car seat? well, of course darling, what a polite little boy you are!  Well done!"), he finally began to sign independently at around 7 months old.  Thereafter, I insisted that he sign 'please' before he received anything that he wanted.

This lasted about another 10 months, and we were doing very well...until he started talking.

Then things changed a little.

Well, when he started talking, he also started whining/shouting/demanding/screaming/crying although he does say 'please' when he wants something, I have to teach him that he needs to modulate his voice as well.  So, we are working on that now.  Stardust is currently aware that he needs to use his 'nice voice' and ask sweetly with a smile.  And he tries.  Very, very hard.

He still needs prompting, but I am hoping that with persistent training, he will grow up to be a polite gentleman.

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Anonymous Hamster said...

In case you're wondering, I like and agree with most if not all of your rules. We don't enforce the "please" that young, but we're enforcing it hard and fast now, and the bigger little hamster is learning very well. Just have to train his tone as well...

11:16 am  
Blogger Shannon said...

I TOTALLY agree with you that we start training them from a young age to say 'please' for anything. I started my daughter on sign language (she watched video) when she was 4 mths old and could sign 'please' effectively when she was 8mths. (She is now 19 mths). Last mth, she started saying 'please' verbally...and I am in the same situation as you now...where the child tends to scream/whine/stamp her little feet to get what she wants. I think she gets carried away when she wants something badly and forgot to say 'Please'. I had to calm her down and remind her her manners.

9:54 pm  
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