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Blabbermouth Syndrome

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Children should be seen and not heard was the prevailing wisdom when I was a child. It led to a lot of self-esteem problems – why did no one care what I had to say? So I decided to take a different approach with my daughter, and let her talk as much as she wanted. Now I am starting to regret that decision since my daughter has turned into a blabbermouth!

I’ve been wondering lately if this ailment is more prevalent with elementary school girls than boys. I’m a magnet for young girls at the bus stop in the early morning because I actually listen to them, or to be more accurate, I have the appearance of listening.

There’s two ways to look at the problem. If they are merely practicing verbalization skills, it’s all good. If they are honing their thinking skills, I’m not sure I’m doing my daughter a favor by letting her talk non-stop about TV plots and what everyone had at lunch that day in the cafeteria.

Part of effective communication is knowing what NOT to say, editing the content in your head to deliver the most effective message. But if I tell her I don’t want to hear everything, just the most important parts, I shift the focus to me – she has to decide what I want to hear and deliver it, rather than focusing on what she finds interesting.

I guess I’ll keep letting her talk. It’s always a balance to try to figure out whether I’m overly indulgent, or developing her self esteem. I have to admit that because I wasn’t allowed to talk much as a child, I am now a blabbermouth, too. But it took a lifetime to allow myself this purge, and you can stop reading if it doesn’t interest you.

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About Parker Owens

  • Eric Olsen

    our 5 year-old daughter has never met an idea that wasn’t worth declaring

  • Dawn

    Our five year-old has never had a thought not worth expressing in details bordering on obsessive compulsive. In fact, you don’t even have to be in the same room with her for her to carry on a lengthy, ad hoc conversation.

    In fact, since she was born, between she and her dad, NOT ONE HUMAN within a five mile radius has been able to get a word in edgewise.

    It’s becoming a national emergency.

    I like the post, I suggest you tell your daughter to call her grandparents and tell them alllllll about it.

  • JR

    Children should be seen and not heard was the prevailing wisdom when I was a child. It led to a lot of self-esteem problems – why did no one care what I had to say?

    So kids learn they’re too ignorant and inexperienced to be taken seriously. That’s mostly true, so what’s the problem?

    Self-esteem is overrated. Just look up some of Sandra Smallson’s comments around here.

  • Eric Olsen

    some balance on the matter would be nice

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Our two year old never stops talking either. If she’s not carrying on lengthy conversations with her dolls, she’s asking endless questions – sometimes over and over and over even after they’ve been answered. Her verbal skills and vocabulary are pretty impressive, but one does wish she’d stop and think things out a bit rather than trying to talk everyone to death.

    Dave

  • JR

    Dave Nalle: …one does wish she’d stop and think things out a bit rather than trying to talk everyone to death.

    Now where the hell could she have picked that up?

  • Antfreeze

    Dave, please stop making sense and being polite and reasonable and making valid points. You’re fucking up my world-view. thanks, ant

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Not from me, JR. I didn’t start speaking at all until I was 4 and was remarked even after that as a bizarrely taciturn child. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that if I didn’t say something then someone else would and I’d be reponsible for a lot of foolishness going out into the world unchallenged.

    That better, Anti?

    Dave

  • Dawn

    Is that an actual malady, being talked to death?

    If so, I have died a million deaths in the last five years.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    But Dawn, doesn’t it FEEL like you’ve died a million deaths, even if they’re only figurative?

    Dave

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    I didn’t start speaking at all until I was 4

    and apparently you’re still trying to play catch-up.

  • Dawn

    Wow, that was kind of harsh Mark :)

    Tough crowd these days at BC.

    And yes, a part of me has died over and over again.

  • Eric Olsen

    I have more patience for the jabbering of tots than Dawn does. Her voice is really cute, good vocab too. It’s the interrupting that has to be curbed, not her general loquaciousness – our daughter that is.

  • Nancy

    Interrupting and/or talking over others is endemic these days, and not just with kids: check out the performances in Congress. Better yet, for REAL incivility, watch/listen to Parliament! I myself was a compulsive talker until I lost my voice for a long, long time. Forced to listen, I found that when I did say anything, I thought about it a lot first, because it was too painful and difficult to do more than croak out the absolute necessities to be said. There’s a lot to be said for compulsive silence, LOL!

  • Shark

    Daddy Owens: “…If they are honing their thinking skills, I’m not sure I’m doing my daughter a favor by letting her talk non-stop about TV plots and what everyone had at lunch that day in the cafeteria.”

    Talking IS thinking. Let her rip; it’s how they navigate, absorb, and arrange Reality.

    PS: There is NO finer sound in the universe than my four-year old grandson’s voice saying, “Papa, I have an idea…”

    PPS: Cute anecdote re. vocabulary: the other night, when he was abrubtly finished with dinner, he jumped up from the table and said, “I’m done!”

    I said, “…just take one more bite of chicken…”

    He shook his head, waved his hands, and said, “No, I can’t; I’m a vegetarian.”

    awwwwww….

  • Shark

    DaveNalle: “…I didn’t start speaking at all until I was 4…”

    Dave, technically speaking, that’s known as “retarded”.

    Yer welcome!

    (For the record, Shark spoke at 15 months, completely articulate — in full sentences and paragraphs — and never uttered a word of ‘baby talk’. My mother said it was “cute, but kind of spooky.”)