DEAR MISS MANNERS: Why must one say "please" with "May I have a glass of water?" It sounds like begging; it is begging. If I said "pretty please," you'd know that was begging.
I've always told my kids, "Don't say 'please,' but always say 'thank you.'" Another child's mom makes them say please, and I say, "Tell her mom that you were not aware you had to beg for water." Of course, they say please, just to get on with it.
When people say "please" to me, I always respond, "You do not need to say please."
"It's polite," they say. It may be polite, but it's still begging. What do you say?
GENTLE READER: That it is a good thing for your children that they have the sense to disobey you about this. You are trying to deny them an extremely simple way to avoid annoying others. "Please" is simply the conventional term for softening requests to indicate that one is not just ordering people around.
But Miss Manners is in total agreement with you that begging, on the part of those who are not in dire need, is abhorrent and unfortunately prevalent in today's society. So, have you forbidden your children to announce what they would like to be given in the way of presents? Have you taught them never to try to solicit funds for luxuries for themselves?