Mom! Mom? MoooooM?!?!?!
Do you hear that every day like I do? Do you find yourself thinking…my child talks too much…
Do you also start off your day gazing lovingly at your little blessings and answering with a kind tone. But by the end of the day and the 700th “Mom!” you are ready to:
1. Tell your kids to stop calling you that.
2. Change your name.
3. Never tell your children your new name.
I have gone through all three steps more days than I can count. And it is endlessly frustrating, for sure. I have found though that even if my intentions are pure, and even if I am determined to only answer with kindness if I’m not careful, and if I don’t choose my words well, I fall into snippiness, frustration, and my children start picking up on it.
When my answer to their question becomes short and frustrated, they stop coming to me. You may think like I have, well, isn’t that the point?
Yes, sometimes. But I don’t want my children to stop coming to me, asking me questions, or sharing something with me because I act like I don’t want to talk to them.
If I treat my children like just an annoyance now when they are young, do you think they will want to come to me, ask me questions, and share what’s going on in their lives when they are teenagers and young adults?
Let’s dive into the hows and whys of answering your children so that you are building your relationship, not building a wall.
How Not to Respond
Word choice plays such a HUGE part in this parenting mindset. Let me lay it out for you.
Johnny: Mom! Mom? Moooooom?!?!?!
Johnny: Mom! Mom? Moooooom?!?!?!
Which one of those two scenarios sounds kind to you? If you answered the second one, you are correct. For some reason, answering with a ‘what’ sounds rude, impatient, and short.
Answering instead with a ‘yes’ signals to your child that you would like to hear what they have to say.
It’s one word, one syllable, but the difference is night and day. I can always tell that maybe it’s time for me to take a little break if I find myself thinking “my child talks too much” and then answering my children with a ‘what’.
What They Are Hearing
Even if your children are driving you positively bonkers, it is so important that they view you as someone who genuinely wants to talk to them.
When you answer in a short, exasperated way, they hear it. Children are incredibly perceptive. So even if your children continue in their chatty ways for a few years, if you continue to signal to them that you don’t want to hear them, eventually, they will stop talking to you altogether.
And it will be right around the time when they NEED to be talking to you.
What to Do When You Just Need Some Quiet
I am not the type of mother who just lets my children dictate the how and why of their day. I am a huge proponent of open communication, but that doesn’t mean that a child doesn’t need boundaries.
You are doing your child a huge favor if you teach him a socially appropriate amount of communication. You don’t want your child growing up and not being able to tell when it’s time to wrap up a conversation. Because if you are thinking ‘my child talks too much’, then you can assume other people are thinking it too.
My Child Talks Too Much- What Now?
What I recommend though, is to be proactive in your parenting, instead of reactive.
A proactive parent will feel herself getting a bit peckish, and decide (before she becomes frustrated) that it is time for a bit of quiet time. Or it may be time for an activity change.
Or, you could even turn the tables on your child. Tell her that instead of her asking the questions, for the next ten minutes, it will be you asking the questions.
Set a timer, and for ten minutes, ask her all of the questions you can think of. Ask questions that she will enjoy answering, but also ask some that will make her think first (blessed silence!!!).
There are plenty of activities that you can do to take control of the situation like reading her a book, practice memorizing something together, doing some chores together, etc.
But don’t be afraid to just say, “Okay, we are going to have some quiet time now. You may play with your toys or look at books, but no talking for the next thirty minutes.” I always like to add in something a little silly like “Mommy needs to rest her ears so that I can listen to you better later on!”
Remember that you are the parent and you don’t just have to be held captive by a chatty child’s conversation. You can do what great parents do: lead and instruct.
If you feel yourself creeping closer to giving a short, grumpy answer to your child’s endless questions, it’s okay to take a talking break. It’s MUCH better to take a talking break than it is to get snippy with your child!