Make Sure You're Not Raising a Brat
Take our quiz
When you and your preschooler run into her teacher, she buries her face in your legs instead of saying hello. All efforts to make her greet her are foiled. You:
A. Apologize and laugh it off. You'll explain how you would like her to behave next time.
B. Insist your daughter say hello, even if you have to pry her off you with a crowbar.
C. Hide from the teacher next time to avoid a repeat.
Even though a 3-year-old is probably old enough to know better, meeting a person as important as her teacher outside the classroom may well be overwhelming. "Some three-year-olds can step out from behind your leg and shake hands with a teacher, and some can't. Don't over-expect," says Senning.
After I was repeatedly getting frustrated with my then toddler when she refused to acknowledge any grown-up (even ones she knew well), my mother set me straight. Annie was a quiet baby, she reminded me; she simply wasn't ready to come out of her shell.
I backed off, introduced her anyway, and stopped expecting her to say hello. Free from pressure, she'd watch me greet people. And that's how it should be. Kids want to know what to expect in a social situation, so demonstrate how you want them to behave. Sure enough, in first grade she introduced herself to her school principal without my prompting.