When do you say “thank-you” to your children?
- Â When they do something kind unexpectedly, without prompting.
- When they respond to a polite request, like “Please pass the broccoli” or “Please bring me a diaper for baby.”
- When they do something they are supposed to be doing: “Thank you for playing so unselfishly with your sister” or “Thank you for being quiet when Mommy said it was naptime.”
- When they obey: “Thank you for obeying right away.” or “Give to Mommy. [pause] Thank you.”
I’ve watched on a number of occasions the enlightened, overly attentive mothers and they say thank you all the time, for just about any time the child does something right. They probably say thank you more than I do, but I regularly say it for all four situations. Still, I’m a bit uncomfortable with being too liberal with thank yous for completed obedience. It’s not the same situation as a kind deed done for each other. It almost feels like an expression of out of control relief addressed to a superior: “Thanks for not throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the Butterfly House.” I’m wondering if I sound as nauseating as the mothers I’ve been watching the last week and a half.
Perhaps a simple, “I appreciate it when you obey so quickly” might be better.
But written down, it doesn’t seem much different. Maybe it has nothing to do with the words at all. Maybe it’s the compulsion to praise everything right about the child as part of a reciprocal self-esteem ritual. Maybe it’s just the demeanor of other mothers.