Amy has been urging me to join with her in teaching Jada how to say
"please" and "thank you" instead of going straight from silence to
shrieking when she needs something. A lot is on the line here: if Amy
and I are consistent but sympathetic, Jada will develop good manners
and be a good example for any future little brothers and sisters we
bring into the mix; and Amy and I will hear a lot less shrieking.
But if we bend, Jada will develop bad habits or no habits as it
relates to communicating her needs, and Amy and I will be in for many
long parenting days. On the other hand, if we're too rigid, Jada
might be stunted in her manners in another sense, feeling a sense of
helplessness as she is unable to decipher our responses to her
communications attempts so that she can adjust accordingly.
I keep thinking there's some magical day when your kids are old enough
to understand things like language and intonation and body language,
all the components of communicating something from one person to
another. I've been told by parents whose kids are much older than
mine that even if that day ever comes, it will be the same day your
kids decide, having understood loud and clear what you're trying to
communicate to them, that they don't want to hear it.