Really excited that my post on chivalry is up on BlogHer and I’m looking forward to whatever conversation sparks over there.

I’m still so fascinated by the ma’am talk – I had NO idea that so many of my friends had issues with the word and it has been helpful to see that by teaching W to use the word there is certainly a ripple effect that goes beyond my wanting him to have manners. The word has a weight to it.

And yet…I know that because of how and where I was raised that I will grapple with the use of this word many more times.

I have only written about my perspective of wanting a son to have manners because clearly a son is what I have. I am curious what parents of daughters think about when they think about manners and etiquette. And for those of you that have a son and a daughter – are you aware of different things that you are teaching them?

Right now W and I are working on an aspect of manners that I hadn’t thought much about: reactions. He is brand new to two so every emotion is vivid and every reaction is BOLD. This is delightful and the flavor of a starburst when he is happy and laughing and reacting to something in a joyful way. On the flip side, when he gets frustrated or confused or just obviously mad his reaction is exactly as you would imagine.

It’s hard for me to not feel weird about praising and celebrating his happy reactions and then frowning at his upset reactions – because both are correct in both moments. As we grow up we continue to dance and shimmy when we are happy but we learn to bottle it up when we are not. Instead of asking W to stop being upset (because how unrealistic is that!) I am trying to find a way to help him react in a way that is not destructive to himself (or his toys, me, the walls) and yet still allows him to blow off the steam.

So far all I end up doing is repeating, “calm down, calm down. It’s ok, it’s ok…” Um, yeah. That wouldn’t be helpful to me either. So I’m totally open to hearing what you guys do in moments of toddler frustration.

To clarify these moments aren’t the tantrum moments. I always think of tantrums as super raw and I just stand clear and let him sort out a bit. I’m talking about the moment that happens when W is playing with his blocks and he can’t get two blocks to connect and he keeps trying and trying and it doesn’t happen. I can see him getting frustrated and I know that he knows he can ask for help but he isn’t asking for it so he just gets more and more irked about the blocks. These are the moments that end with tubs of blocks being thrown across the room and then toddler-zilla begins to storm the living room on a path of angry destruction.

So what’s the toddler etiquette for dealing with frustration?

{Total aside, but my friend Briar wrote an amazing post at WWTK in response to the recent J. Crew “pink toenail” ad. It should be required reading for every parent. Seriously.}

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