Speak Like a Grown-Up

August 17, 2010 at 7:11 am (General, Positive Discipline)

I was visiting a family the other day who spoke to their daughter like she was 3.  Well, she was 3, so I guess that should have seemed OK.  But they were using a sing-song voice to say everything to this little girl, plus they seemed to be using a lot of words to get their point across, and they very often had something that needed to be said to her.  It was extremely annoying.

I wanted to tell them to please stop talking.  I wanted to tell them to just let her play for 30 seconds without issuing some kind of warning or instruction or announcement. With too many words. In a sing-song voice.  But mostly I wanted to tell them to talk to their daughter like a person instead of someone who they seem to assume is almost completely incompetent in the area of cognition.

I just don’t think anyone needs to be spoken to as if they’re 3.  Sure, it helps to keep your words concise, but that’s a communication style that everyone appreciates.  Maybe it annoys me more that others, but why say something in 20 words that can be said in 5?  And why say the words so disrespectfully as to assume they’ll be better understood as a song?

Forming positive relationships with children begins with how parents treat them; with respect and an assumption of competence. Let’s skip the over-simplified-yet-too-wordy speeches and speak to our kids (yes, even little ones) like the adults that we are.

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