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Ask Dr. Louise (For Parents)

Those Magic Words: "Please" and "Thank You"

According to Captain Kangaroo (for those of you old enough to remember who he was), "Please and thank you are the two most important words in the English language." Indeed, they are important, and are usually the first basics of good manners that parents teach their children. Thank you shows appreciation and please turns a demand into a request. Teaching children to use these special words is a significant beginning in helping them learn to show respect for other people. You can teach your children to say please and thank you at the appropriate times and reward them when they do so. You can also withhold reward when they fail to do so. However, the most powerful way children learn is through modeling, that is, by copying the behavior of their parents. This is the way children learn basic values and respectful attitudes toward other people. If you want your children to learn such values as respect, kindness, and tolerance, it is important that you model these behaviors for them. Say please and thank you in front of them. Say please and thank you to them. Show them, through your behavior and your words, that you have respect for others. They will follow your example even more closely than they follow your teachings. So, begin this new year right, and model for your children all the behaviors and attitudes that you would like to have ingrained in them. It works! Happy New Year!

Written by Dr. Louise Green, Ph.D.


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