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Thursday, June 21, 2012

A courteous canuck's parenting lesson

Have you ever had the realization that you are doing something wrong.  You thought it was the right way to do it, and have been doing it for years, and now realise it should be done differently.  How funny!  I just had that happen to me too!

So you know I'm Canadian, eh.  In my Canadian culture we are very polite.  We say please and thank you, we smile and say hello to passers by, etc.  That's just how we are.  It's a Canadian thing, and I have it bad.

If I ask you for something I ALWAYS say please, and when you do ANYTHING for me I ALWAYS say thank you.  Keep in mind that I am a mom.  And when you are a mom you have to tell/ask (tell for you normal people, ask for me the Canadian) your children to do things everyday, all the time. 

Here's an example of how I, "the Canadian" would request something of my child:
"Put your dishes in the dishwasher, please."
and then when they do it I say "thank you".
 And that's the drill for every request made.

Now in my mind I am only technically asking my children to do things, they don't actually have the option to say no, it is completely rhetorical.  I am just being nice and adding a please on to the end of my ..."do this"  because it is polite. 

Somehow my almost 6 year old started thinking that I AM asking her to do things, and she has started occasionally saying no.  Of course I laugh out loud, because it wasn't really a question, she just forgot that I am a nice person and that's what nice people do. 

So now I am rethinking this whole super-kind-please-and-thank-you-for-everything deal.  PLUS, the real down side is now she is used to hearing "thank you" for everything she does.  And I recently have come to the conclusion that people shouldn't have to be acknowledged for every little thing.  I really regret that I have done that to my oldest.  Luckily my kids are young enough that I can still change my system and correct any failures I have made. 

So the jist is, I am just a flawed Canadian trying to figure out this parenting thing amongst non-Canadians. 
So how do you let your kids know that you are the boss, while being a good example??
Please share your comments, parenting advice, etc.



Hi Maria,

I don't have a good answer for you, I am one of those Canadian's that tries so hard to say please and thank you... although with my daughters I advised them it was only a necessity... as they got older... You will have to let us know if you find any answers :)

DA Cairns

Dropping the thank yous might lead to feelings of "being taken for granted", not being acknowledged but you're right about the request. I do the same thing with my teenagers. My polite requests are often commands. I only ask nicely once, then I change my tone and perhaps strengthen the language a little. Tricky business parenting. All the Canadians I know are beautiful people. You too, eh!

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