Children learn how to speak to others by how we speak to them. If parents are constantly demanding and disrespectful to their children, then guess what, that’s how their children will speak. This is something that I have really been working on. I insist that my boys have manners and say: please, thank you, yes ma’am/sir, no ma’am/sir and things such as this. The thing is, children copy and repeat EVERYTHING. Instead of constantly telling your children to say these things (please & thank you), SHOW them by example, and just like everything else you do, they will end up copying.
I also try to speak politely to my kids when asking them to do things, but I must admit that I can lose my cool when I am rushed or just flat out irritated. To clarify, I’m not suggesting that we NEVER speak sternly to our children, because there are times that stern speech is appropriate. However, I think we should ask our children politely and not take out our emotions on them. For example, the other day we were cleaning things up so I told Max, “Please go put your clothes in the laundry room.” It’s not a question or a suggestion, but a direct order that was asked politely. I didn’t yell, “Go put your clothes in the laundry room now!” It just seems hypocritical for me to expect my kids to ask me for something politely if I’m always yelling and demanding, doesn’t it?
Now, if Max didn’t obey the first time, talked back, or was disrespectful then he would be punished. Personally, I don’t believe in repeating the same thing over and over, nagging, or counting. Oh the counting, don’t get me started. (Beware, tangent coming!) Why do people count? I have NEVER seen it work effectively. In fact, if you count to 3 or 10 or whatever, then you are just teaching your child that they don’t have to obey you immediately, but rather they can wait until the count of 3, 10, 57 (whatever number) to obey and not receive a consequence. Why would you do that? Is that really what you want as a parent? Personally, I want my kids to obey me the first time, not until I count to a certain number. I guess you could argue that you are teaching your children how to count? Okay, back to the subject. If he doesn’t obey after I’ve told him, then he would be punished. No demanding obedience or having a discussion about why he should obey because he already knows he is supposed to obey. After his punishment was over he would then be asked, “What did I tell you to do?” “Did you obey?” “You need to apologize to me for not obeying and then go put your clothes in the laundry room like I asked you.”
My point is, in regular day-to-day conversation, and while going about routine activities teach your children how to speak by EXAMPLE. The end.