This is not a post about developmental milestones and language development. That will come in due time. Don’t you worry.
This is about (use your best granny voice) “Why can’t kids these days have a conversation?”
Conversation and communication are becoming obsolete. It all starts around ages 10-12. There are many reasons as to why this is the case and for many years these reasons have proven true (i.e. puberty, preteen rebellion, etc), but over the last 5 years something else entirely has changed the way kids communicate.
The culprit is the PHONE.
I’m sure Alexander Graham Bell never expected the telephone, of all things, to decrease and potentially eliminate communication. Texting has taken over this world.
I love texting as much as the next guy, but it doesn’t replace an actual conversation. Words are just ONE part of a conversation. Facial expressions, hand gestures, and intonation are absent in a text. LOL just doesn’t covey the same emotion as a true belly laugh with the occasional snort that you would hear over the phone.
At ages 10-12, kids are forming the relationships that will shape their lives. They are finding themselves and discovering that the world is not always the Disney channel perception that they are used to. They might start getting interested in the opposite sex and start requesting to have a social life.
Things I frequently wonder about this texting generation:
How will they handle the real world?
Do they realize they can’t text their way through a college class or a job interview?
Will they be able to have meaningful conversations with friends or significant others that doesn’t involve acronyms?
So how can we as parents instill the importance of communication?
- Lead by example. Texting is sometimes easier for busy moms, but make the time to TALK, too.
- Make communication a priority in your household.
- Have your children start talking on the phone to family members from a young age and as often as possible.
- Eliminate distractions when they are talking on the phone, so they can focus on conversation.
- Set expectations when they do actually start using the phone independently. Make them CALL their friends whenever possible.
- This is a personal pet peeve – Girls should NEVER EVER be asked out on a date via text.
My son is 11, and I know that’s the age around which kids can start to get a little squirrelly anyway. But it is like pulling teeth to have a conversation with him, and he doesn’t even have a phone on which he can text yet! I talk on the phone to family and friends fairly often, and my husband and I converse just fine, so he sees the behavior modeled. But he’s either mumbling, whining, or just avoiding talking altogether. AAAAAAAARGH!!!! On the plus side, when grandparents want to talk on the phone, he will talk sensibly to them (when he was younger, he’d just scream at the phone and run away). It’s just in-person conversation he seems to have problems with (and that largely with the parentals – hmm, maybe it is an age thing….).
You might have to chalk up your’s sons communication skills with you to age, sorry.
I think it’s a great sign that he knows when to practice good communication skills.
Keep up the great parenting.
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