I just attended a friend’s child’s birthday party and was shocked by the responses the child gave as he opened his gifts. “I already have one of these.” “This isn’t the one I wanted.” After I was done judging this “nasty” child, I suddenly realized that the holiday is fast approaching, and my own daughter would be just as capable of making some of these comments! How can I prevent this rudeness from happening?
Think About It
Children are not born knowing how to politely respond to gifts, and in their childlike honesty can say some discourteous things. The easiest way to prevent this is through teaching.
Have a training session prior to the expected gift giving (before Grandma arrives at your house). Review the possible situations. “What would you say if you get something you already have - like another Monopoly game?” “What should you say if you get something you don’t like at all?” And even, “What should you say if it’s something you like?” It’s amazing what wonderful results occur with a bit of practice.
Give Private Corrections
Even when a comment appears rude and thoughtless, it never helps to embarrass your child in front of the gift-giver. Following an impolite comment, simply excuse yourself and your child, go to a private place, and point out the error. Suggest something nice to say and return to your guest, allowing your child to save face.
Have You Been Doing Enough Training?
If your child is unaware that his comments are inappropriate, you need to do more training with him about proper manners.
(Excerpted with permission by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group Inc. from Perfect Parenting, The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 1999)