Adopted baby refuses to use manners

Christina - posted on 07/02/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My 2 year old is adopted from Cyprus and she refuses to say please. She also speaks Greek and so we tried using Greek to get her to say please but she will not. She just looks at us and fake cries. What should I do?

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Sarah - posted on 07/02/2013

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I think your expectations might be too high. For her she probably has never been taught to say please or thank you. My guess is that she came from an orphanage setting. Her reality was that you grabbed for what you wanted or you did not get it because someone else already took it. You have to look at her reality and what life has been like for her the last 2 yrs. This will give you an understanding on where to start with her. It is good to teach her please and thank you, but you need to start where she is at. First start by modeling the manners. So when you ask for something say please and thank you all the time. When she asks for something repeat what she said and put a please or thank you on the statement. In this area it is more like you have a 12 month or 18 month old. Another thing to look at is the culture in which she came from. For example in some cultures you burp after your meal. This is a complement to the chief. In the US this is considered rude and impolite. It is good to teach her about the culture in which she is living in, but you also have to understand the culture in which she came from to understand where to start in your teaching.

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Ev - posted on 07/02/2013

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A year is not enough time for her to adjust and then be expected to do what you think she should be doing at the age of two. She is still learning about her new world. She is also still growing. Toddlers and preschoolers do not just all of a sudden have manners. This is a process they have to go through to learn them and language is another thing that she needs to learn to use. She did not come fully operational in the language department. You had to learn to read her cues for what she wanted, right? You still have to do this until they learn to talk more so in sentences. And wanting her to do things right this instant is not going to work. You need patience and you need to work with her on this. The expectation is too high wanting her to be able to remember to use please or thank you automatically at this age. Did you use please and thank you on auto at 2? I very much doubt most people at age 2 were using please and thank you without cues from parents. You still pretty much have a baby there. When she hits the ages of 3-5 she will start to do more of this on her own much like other things she will learn to do for herself. Do not push it so hard or fast like I said, enjoy her growing up and learning her new milestones. Praise her when she does what you expect but do not make it a hard core expectation. Save those kinds of expectations when she gets older. Do not hurry her to grow up so fast.

Ev - posted on 07/02/2013

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How long have you had this child with you?

If she has only been with your a short time, you can not expect her to use manners, learn other things over night. That just is not going to happen. She is in a new situation and has to yet adjust to the new surroundings, people (including her new parents), and others you guys know that she has just been introduced to her. You have to have PATIENCE. You just need to work with her everyday and show by example what you wish to get her to do. I do not know your background either but if its not Greek, use English to teach her the language at the same time so she knows what most Americans say. She will learn but it will take time. Forcing the issue is only going to make her go the opposite direction that you want. She also needs to be around kids her age, not necessarily a day care, but just play dates etc so she can learn what her peers are like and what they do. She may learn it best from them. Model the kind of behaviors you expect of her too; she will start to do what is expected. Also high expectations of a child of this age is not good as they will not learn from it and get frustrated and angry. They do not at this age understand how to express themselves well with language because they are still learning their languages and it makes it harder in her case since she is going to have to learn English as well as Greek. She is not a little adult and no kid this age is ready to do what an adult is doing.

NOTE: Most kids act this way at age two. It is common behavior for this age. Unless she is one of those children with delays, then she is acting normally. If she had delays or you are not sure have her tested.

Again, do not push it. It will come when she gets more comfortable with you and her new world.

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