Picking Your Battles: Manners

It’s sound advice for every aspect of life: Pick Your Battles. Husband won’t pick up his socks? Just pick them up, there are bigger battles to be had. Someone at work not refilling the copy machine when paper runs out? Just refill it, there are bigger battles to fight. Your child wants the Disney Pixar Cars yoghurt, not the Toy Story yoghurt? Just let him have the Disney ones, even if they are $5 more, there most definitely will be a bigger battle (or 10) to face with that one.

Today I picked a battle with my toddler. His manners. I’m sick of him saying, “I want chocolate milk” and me responding, “What do you say?” And he says, “Please?” It’s obviously not teaching him to use his manners at the start, so back and forth we go with the demands, the what-do-you-says and the pleases. And I think it’s about time he stopped demanding and started asking. So I told him no, he could not have chocolate milk, until he used his manners and his words to ask politely. Then he proceeded to tell me to get out of the way, that he was trying to get it. I had to hold the cupboard shut. In the end, I made him repeat after me:

Me: Mummy
Him: Mummy
Me: Can I
Him: Can I
Me: Please have
Him: Please have
Me: some chocolate
Him: some chocolate
Me: Milk
Him: Milk

Then he just thought it was all a game and incredibly funny. He half said it WITH me. When I said, “Say mummy can I please…” he said, “have some chocolate milk?”

At that point I let him have it. I’m certain the message didn’t get through. Perhaps the saying should be, “Pick your battles, and have a plan of action for winning them.”


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