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Toddler Won't Let Us Talk!
My 26 month old has given to saying "No talking!" (or, when he's in a polite mood,
No talking please!) whenever adults in his presence start talking to one another. We
have tried to negotiate ("Daddy and I will talk for one more minute and then
talk to you."), a method which ordinarily works well with him (he's very verbal and
open to negotation) but he resists - he wants us to stop talking then and there. And
on top of the fact that it is draining to never be able to talk to another adult in his
presence, there are times when my husband and I simply need to talk to one
another (driving directions, etc.). I understand my son's frustration: he doesn't want
to be left out of the conversation. When I think about it, for my husband and I to
talk quickly and use words/concepts he can't understand (which is what we do when
we talk to one another) is like switching to a foreign language all of a sudden, and if
anyone did that to me I would think it very rude! On the other hand, I don't want to
give him the idea that (a) it's ok for him to order us around and (b) that it's not ok
for adults to talk to one another. What have others done in this situation?
I've gone through this with every one of my four children and have simply and firmly told them that Mommy and Daddy often talk to each other, and we do not tolerate being told, effectively, to shut up. When the child has a question, I tell them I'll answer it in a minute. When the order is simply to assert control, I don't tolerate it.
I do this because I don't want my children to become unpleasant and dictatorial. I do this because I value my conversations with my husband. And I do this because in our family we are the bosses. End of story. We revel in our children's conversations, but we do not allow them to limit ours. Ayelet
One thing we did was explain that he could say ''Excuse me'' when he had something to say... now we're at the place of trying to explain that he still needs to let someone finish talking, and interrupting with ''excuse me'' is still rude. My mother-in-law, who is a genius with little kids, always says very respectfully to him, ''Just a minute - I want to finish what I am saying to Mama, but then I want to hear what you have to say,'' and then continues talking as if she just expects to be obeyed. She always checks back with him right away, regardless of whether we have finished the conversation. Usually, he has to make up something to say, because he didn't really want to say anything to begin with; he just didn't want us to be talking without him. Part of having little kids is having fragmented conversation - but you do need to be able to talk. Good luck! sometimes silenced also
Try not to over empathise and find reasons to justify his behavior. It's not like a speaking a foreign language in front of him, its like modeling communcation he will have to learn. Let him find out what he needs to do to understand, not try to control other's to suit himself. When you feel weak and like giving in, remember, you are preparing him to go out in the world and get along and he's not going to have a good time if he goes out there thinking he gets to tell everyone else how to behave.
It's best if you can handle it with humor - I wasn't very good at that, but my daughter did this: ''Hah! (laugh) are you trying to tell mommy what to do?'' tickle tickle ''you don't get to tell mommy what to do'' tickle tickle ''mommy gets to tell you what to do, that's my job'' tickle tickle. It worked really well. Good luck. Not bossed around anymore.
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