Kids' Manners: Rude Operator
My preschool-age daughter is not one for pleasantries, and it drives me crazy. She barely says hello to me, let alone strangers. Say we walk into a bakery and the proprietor says, "Well, hello, young lady. Would you like a cookie?" She just grunts and looks away. In the three years we've lived in our apartment, I don't think she's ever said hi to our landlord, who lives two floors below us and is great with kids. When she sees her aunt and uncle, they barely get a hello either. All these incidents end the same way: The nice person who said hi looks a bit hurt, and I stand there helpless, shrugging my shoulders and trying to sneak away as quickly as possible.
I marvel when I see other kids wrap adults around their little fingers. They act as if on cue, sticking to the script of exactly how proper little kids "should" act. Give them a treat and they say a robust, "Thank you!" They hug, kiss and say hello to people with no (or little) prompting. What I would do to experience that just once!
Where did my daughter come by this form of rudeness? I am certainly not a rude person (really, I'm not). OK, it's not rudeness per se, I know better than that. It's a form of shyness; it's her personality, she's cautious and reserved in certain situations. And you can't change a kid's personality, right? So I'm stuck with it. You certainly can't reason with a 4-year-old. ("Listen, honey, just say 'Hi' to the nice baker, and he'll give you a cookie!" "No!") They just don't respond to such rational arguments.
I guess I just wait for her to grow up a bit more and absorb the importance of social graces. She has friends, so she's not always a shy grump. I guess that's something to take solace in. Or is there some kind of behavior modification I can use to turn my prickly daughter into a prim and proper kid?