Am I setting my child up to be eaten alive?

We took little Photog to the aquarium yesterday.

Aside from the standard shark tank and sea lion show, they had a whole bunch of interactive stuff for the kids. While escorting her around, I observed something that worried me about the way I’m raising my kid.

As we came to each interactive whatever-it-was, there were, of course, thirteen thousand screaming rugrats pushing and shoving to be ‘next’ - cutting in line, sneaking under barricades, etc. - while my little angel stood quietly, politely waiting for her turn.

This is precisely the way I’ve been raising her. To be polite, to be fair, and to treat others as you’d like to be treated. But, it was heartbreaking to see my little girl behaving the way she believed she should, only to be bullied aside, unable to enjoy whatever it was she was attempting to participate in.

Now granted, most of the ‘pushers’ and ‘shovers’ were older than she (she’s 4, the others were probably 6-8). And in a couple of years she’ll probably be right in there pushing and shoving. But I can’t help but worry that I’m setting her up to be the ‘nice girl’ that always gets walked all over.

Any opinions?

Well, she had a choice yesterday to do what she did, or to do her own pushing and shoving (granted, you were there to enforce the no-shoving upbringing, and the other anklebiters were bigger, but she could have at least given the shovers a withering glare or two). Ask her which one she wanted to do: wait her turn, or storm the gates. Ask how she felt about the kids that weren’t waiting.

All parents raise their kids to be polite and “nice.” Some kids are built differently, and they jump in to get theirs. Others will never think it’s worth it to get shoved, so they stand in the back. It sounds like your little girl is made of sugar ‘n’ spice at this point. I wouldn’t worry about it. When she’s had enough, she’ll voice her opinion. Things change a lot when they get into school. Real school.

Good manners are always the right answer. And I don’t believe that all parents raise their kids to be polite and nice. Some tell their kids that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, that nice guys finish last, that no-one is going to take care of you, that if you want something you have to take it, etc.

I hope she stays polite and well-mannered. It may cost her a few spots in line or the “good” cookie, but in the long run she’s better off being nice than being an obnoxious brat.

You can model the appropriate behavior for her – show her by example how to handle this kind of situation. If it were a bunch of adults pushing in front of YOU, you’d probably say something like “Excuse me, but I was in line before you…” and then take your place. When you’re with your child in that kind of situation, you can help her intervene against the mob by saying to the pushing kids “Excuse me, but we were here first” and then stand by your daughter as she takes her place.

So the choice isn’t just be pushy vs. be a wimp. You can show your daughter how to be polite and to assert her rights at the same time.

Unfortunately I have to disagree with you. There are a great many parents who are notoriously inept at teaching manners, and many who deliberately teach their children to be little assholes, either because they are themselves mentally deranged or simply ignorant of how the world works.

ratatoskK, the dilemma is how will your daughter take her proper place without pushing one of the other, “pushy”, kids out of the way?

I experienced a similar situation with my little brother at a Chuck E. Cheese a week or so ago. He had just sat down at a driving game and was playing it when some other little kid, about 4 yrs. old, ran over and began grabbing the steering wheel. He eventually pushed my 6 year old brother out of the seat. I tried telling the kid what was on my mind, but of course he completely ignored me, as spoiled little shits will do. His parents, horrifyingly enough, were nowhere to be found (he was no older than FOUR damn years old!), and like hell I was going to lay a hand on the kid to lift him out of the seat. My brother could’ve pushed him back, to get his game back, but then he’d be no better than the brat.

Thanks! That’s pretty much what I did.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that if I didn’t ‘block’ for her she wouldn’t have a chance.

I don’t know how many kids I had to tell “No, she’s next.”

Funny, though. Given all the kids I bullied (verbally and ‘glaringly’, mind you), not one parent challenged me. Not sure if that’s a product of being in the right, being 6’2" and 250#, or being the only parent who actually cared.

I’m with ratatoskK on this one. Being polite doesn’t mean being a wuss. It’s important to teach our kids to be considerate to others, but not at the expense of their own rights.

You don’t have to be jerky about it. “Excuse me” are magic words just like “Please” and Thank you" :wink:

Talk to her about it. Tell her how proud you are about how she handled the situation(as well you should be), and how grown-up she behaved. I’m sure in the course of the conversation you’ll be able to work in how she felt about the situation, which is what’s really important anyway.

Isn’t being a parent so easy and stress-free?

I think your kid will do much better in the world if she is rude, obnoxious, and crass. That’s certainly the way to get ahead, as all those other 4-year-olds at the shark tank knew.

But you’ll excuse me if I avert my eyes.

It’s a terrible toss-up, isn’t it?

Exactly, and hopefully this way she can grow up to be a good person, yet without being cynical about the ways of others. :slight_smile:

I think it’s a lot easier for a person to start nice and then learn how to be pushy and aggresive later (when it’s more important) than to start off being an asshole and then learn how to be nice.

The first way you grow up being taught something that doesn’t neccesarily come natural, especially to a kid. Being a prick by letting your natural feelings shine through (we all have a selfish side) comes much easier than learning the concept and behaviors of politness and fairness. All that’s then needed is to learn when it’s ok not to be nice, and beleive me, you won’t have to provide any artificial situations for her to practice in - life will always throw plenty of appropriate situations in which to practice being mean in front of you.

When you grow up being a jerk, you pretty much don’t grow out of it until much later and only if you devellop the maturity and have lot of motivation to do it… even then it’s stressful to resist you natural urge to start swinging since that’s what you’ve spent your whole life doing… look at how many people are sitting in jail for doing silly aggressive things.

And since we live in the modern age in a non-brutal country, chances are the pitfalls of not being aggressive enough aren’t as high as being too aggressive;

eg) what’s the worst that’ll happen if you let someone cut in front of you in line at the ATM or take the right of way in an intersection when it’s your turn?

Compare that to what’ll happen if you push some nasty guy out of line at the bar or if you’re the one who that takes the right of way on the road when it’s not yours.

Sounds like little Photog is an only child. What your angel needs is siblings, then she’ll learn quickly about cutting in line and “politely” aserting herself!

My experience with groups of children is that once your child starts going to school she will learn to stand up for herself and be aggressive. Children who are not accustomed to groups of others children tend to get pushed around at first, but once placed in a group with peers become acclimated very quickly.
If your child is naturally passive she may still be pushed around once she starts school and your parenting style will have very little effect on that. Some children are just naturally more aggresive than some others and tend to dominate those around them. If your child turns out to be passive, giving her Patton speeches will not turn her agressive. Modeling standing up for yourself non-violently is a good idea as is honing her verbal skills.

We teach our daughters to be fair and nice.

And once they get of age, I will teach them how to shoot a gun.

I think that’s a good combination; teach them to be considerate, and teach them how to shoot a gun[sup]1[/sup]…

[sup]1[/sup][sub]Responsibly, of course…[/sub]

my 5 year old is just not in a rush to be with the crowd or to be first. If it is crowded at one thing she will go over to something that is not as busy, and have delightful time by herself, this could all stem from being an only child?

I have no problem embarrassing my daughter (10 going on 11) if she cuts in front of line.

We’ve gone to buffet restaurants and she will cut in front of someone at say, the dessert bar. Now granted, there’s really no place to “line up” per se, but you don’t reach in front of someone who’s ahead of you. You wait until they’ve moved on. I don’t think this is anything deliberate on part, but more of a “I see chocolate get out my way.” I have on two recent occassions firmly pulled her back and say, “You need to wait your turn” and had her apologize.

Since your daughter is only four, I think you need to accompany her on such exhibits because she can’t stand up for herself. When she gets older she’ll be able to do it herself.

Politesse and weakness are two entirely different things. A gentleman was once expected to be punctiliously polite and willing to use all effort and force necessary when a situation called for it.

Unfortunately, I must disagree with those who have said that the little Photog will learn assertiveness in school. My little one is a strapping thirteen year old now, and she still gets pushed out of the way because she is polite and quiet. I can’t tell you how many times she has waited in line for something only to have ADULTS push in ahead of her. And while I myself am no shrinking violet and I do the “excuse me, she was here first” thing on her behalf, she is moritified when I do so, because she thinks it calls attention to her.

I have no idea how to remedy this for my daughter or yours, but I am sympathetic.

Good grief, she’s only FOUR! She’s not expected to ‘hold her own’ in a shoving match, and it’s not prudent of you to teach her how. I’m tired of seeing neanderthals of any age who feel entitled to act like idiots, and I applaud your daughter for having the patience to NOT clobber them.

You need to remember that women may not have the brute strength to knock someone out of the way, but your daughter will learn the subtle art of the ‘withering glance’ that works far better. Watch and learn!