This discussion was based on chapters three and four of the class text, Invitation to the Life Span, explaining the relationship between the development of language in children and their interaction with parents. I believe that parents help to shape how their children learn to talk, and without lots of interaction from a caregiver a child will not be able to develop confidence in themselves or speech skills. I do not have any children, but I love kids and enjoy interacting with them, be it at work, classroom volunteering or with my large family, so this section on childhood was very near and dear to my heart. I kept the comments from my classmates as part of the conversation because it was interesting to hear their insights into parental interactions as well as responses to my comments. It was also nice to hear that other people appreciate story time for their kids, since it is a program that has become near and dear to my heart over the last year. Having this type of open conversation I think helped us as students gain insight into certain aspects of the course they may have not made completely comprehended before.
June 5, 2012
I do not have kids of my own, but I have 6 nieces and 1 nephew so there are plenty of sources for me to see developing language skills. On top of that, I work in the children’s department at a bookstore where I observe people of all different backgrounds interacting with their children. It is easy to see the parents who speak with their kids as if they are adults and worthy of being listened to because those children will talk nonstop, practicing their new skills. Those children seem to have more confidence in their own abilities as well as in the world around them. These children who have developed talking from an early age at home approach me and open engage me in a dialogue to find a book or ask a question, as opposed to having a parent do the speaking. I also do story time twice a week and get a very young audience, usually between a year to four years old, and it’s amazing when a child who in my mind is practically a baby comes up to me and engages with words in the story. On the opposite side of the spectrum, are the parents who treat their children like fashion accessories, to be seen and not heard. At least while in public, they do not converse with their children in a positive manner only speaking to reprimand if needed. These kids are usually nonverbal, will not approach me with a question as if doubting their own ability to talk, and the parents ask me questions instead. Back to my family, my oldest niece just turned 6, attends school, can read amazingly, and until recently she had a slight lisp making her words harder to understand. Her younger sister who is 4 speaks very clearly without ever stopping, learned her alphabet and tries to read and is continually praised for being so bright. Having an older sibling pave the way also helps stimulate language development. My oldest niece did not have a role model to strive to be like and since she was the first baby, she was babied as well as motherese spoken to her. She did not have the same environment her younger sister had to push her forward at a faster rate. She has overcome her lisp but her accomplishments are not rewarded more like
expected of her, unlike her sister which is to me really sad. I always try to talk to her any chance I get to let her know I want her to talk, which now means I get phone calls from her all the time as well as favorite aunt status. Overall, parents interaction shapes language development as well as usage in children. Due to a parent, or primary caregiver, a child can find and use their voice which in turn gives them the confidence to succeed in life. Language is so important.
Jun 6, 2012
When our first daughter was about 8 months we started taking her to story-time at the library. I think it is called “toddler times” for children 2 and under. It’s a 30 minute mix of stories, music and play. At first I thought she was too young (for sitting still) to attend but as we have continued the routine, she has grown to love it. Story-time is wonderful, it’s amazing what kids learn and remember from a book.
Jun 6, 2012
Wow! what a great program for your library to do! wish there was more of this kind of education and language development stuff out there!
Jun 11, 2012
Katherine, as I was reading your response I couldn’t help but think about if I was in the situations that you described the small children being in. If was in a situation where I was to be seen and not heard, I know I would be less confident in myself and words. Not for the lack of knowledge on how to talk, as the babies in your example, but just because of the fact that I was not going to be heard or even paid attention to when I spoke. If I was in a situation where people engaged in conversation with me and expected me to answer back I would feel much more confident while speaking and being heard. These concepts seem so simple to understand
and to relate to. They seem like common sense. I will make sure to cut back on the baby talk I do to my niece. 🙂
This next section was from chapters nine and ten from the class text, focusing on puberty and adolescence. The topic was to address what advice we would give to our adolescent self as well as what we would say to our parents about their parenting skills at that time. I really liked this topic because I was allowed to talk about my insecurities during early high school, which is usually the hardest time for children for self esteem. I think this was a great chance to express past feelings of hurt or awkwardness as well as to reach out to each other and offer support and understanding. I think that high school freshman should read all the posts from the this class topic because it will let them know they are not alone and that everyone experiences they same painful emotions. I would also want them to know that the people that they worry about seeking approval from in high school do not play a significant role in your life as an adult. Teens are so egotistical, it’s proven. This posting opportunity was a good chance for everyone to open up. I know that looking back on my personal experience, I am so grateful for the strong backbone of support that I received from my family.
Jun 26, 2012
I hit maturity around 8th/9th grade. I was very small, only 4’5 and with no chest development, and felt very behind compared to all my friends and female classmates. I even had a few classmates discuss sexual activity, something that was very taboo and nothing I was remotely interested in. Overall, I was awkward and had a very bad body image of myself. I felt like I couldn’t fit in with females my own age, causing my group of close friends to be small and predominantly male. I wore baggy clothes to hide my lack of curves and actually made me look overweight and dull colors like gray and olive to not draw attention to myself. This led to a lack of confidence in my actions around my peers, second guessing my actions which caused me to not take chances and coast by in the background. I believed that I had an imaginary audience and they were continuously watching and finding me lacking. I missed out on so many things I actually wanted such as roles in plays and awards in competitions because I was afraid of how my classmates felt towards me. It’s very sad to think back now how I made myself miss out due to my body image. My mom always tried to push me to go for the things I secretly wanted but I felt resentful towards being pressured. I convinced myself that all those things were stupid and that my mom just wanted me to be embarrassed, totally irrational thinking. My mom ended up backing off and overall I was disappointed by how things turned out. A very sad cycle. Overall, I wish that I took chances and went for the things that I actually wanted instead of holding myself back. I wish my mom pushed harder, even though it is ridiculous to try and force a preteen/teen to do anything they don’t want. Everything she tried to push on me is something now that I actually wish I had taken part in. I would love to go back and redo all the things I let my doubt take over, because my body image was wrong, but even more so because who cares what my peer thought because they would play no role in my life after graduation. Never let embarrassment hold you back from what you want.
Jun 26, 2012
Great message at the end. I feel the same way about how a lot of those peers you worried about never really end up playing a roll later in your life.Jun 27, 2012
I really like that message Katherine… it’s so true. I think it’s natural for an adolescent to have that “imaginary audience” and feel like someone is always watching you. I remember feeling growing up like singing (like in a choir) was feminine and not something “real men” should do. I played a lot of sports growing up and had that typical tuff man attitude where anything not manly was uncalled for especially being in a choir. But I actually had a pretty good voice, and it wasn’t until my senior year that I decided to finally do something about it. So I tried out for accappela and made it and had so much fun that year with the choir and never once felt like it destroyed my man hood (the little I had) at all. It actually helped with the girlfriends too 🙂 but it just goes to show you to “never let embarrassment hold you back from what you want…” I agree completely!
Jun 28, 2012
I have always been confused if the imaginary audience was a form a of egocentrism. Or if it was just another way of rationalizing your place in this world and identity.
June 29, 2012
In adolescents, I think it’s emotional egocentricism combined with the cognitive development of the ability to take multiple points of view– so I can now see how other people might see things, but what they are seeing is me. I think it makes teens very tuned in to celebrities, because they all go around with their own mental paparazzi. If it continues much beyond adolescence, that’s a whole other issue 🙂