Sandra has said more than once about my posts when I've described something I've said to my kids, "too many words," and my 6 year old has made it clear that I talk too much. Not in general, but when I'm trying to explain something or help her. I don't talk often, but when I do talk I'm long winded. I like to be thorough and clear. Ok, just keeping this post short is really hard! lol

So, how can I be more concise and not drive my kid crazy?


chris ester

On Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 10:46 PM, emstrength3 <emstrength@...>wrote:

> **
> >>>So, how can I be more concise and not drive my kid crazy?
> Emily<<<<<<
> To paraphrase an old carpentry adage-- "Think twice, speak once".

I try to think about the message that I want to get across and then choose
my words carefully. Sometimes, I ask a question that is open ended and
shut up and listen. Over the years I have come to grips with the fact that
unschooling is about the kids finding their own answers most of the time,
not me telling them what I think the answers should be.

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Sandra Dodd

Instead of explaining something and then telling why you think so, and then summarizing and then asking whether the child understands (as I've heard so many moms do, often in a sing-songy voice), think of whether you need to say anything at all, and then see if you can say it in five or six words.

It won't work in every situation, but moms who go on and on (especially in a sing-songy voice) aren't being listened to at all after a while, so it's worth trying.

Sometimes a mom talks so much it's as though she's doing all the talking for both of them. It would be like "playing chess" with someone but it's mostly talking, and you're telling them which moves to make and why, and then you explain what move YOU'RE doing to make and why and then you tell them what move they should make next and why and eventually it gets to the place where you win.

Sometimes, when you begin a conversation with a child, just silently move one pawn. Then wait without saying anything. It's no longer your move.

This is something that can work with children, too, with one little tweak:
"Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch."
Maybe think a little, say a little, wait a while, watch.

Think before you speak. Choose your words from more than one choice. Don't say the first thing that comes to mind unless you consider saying a different thing.

If you don't think before you speak, you're speaking thoughtlessly.



I had a tendency to do that early on when I started unschooling and my kids were pretty young. Eventually I noticed that any time I was a bit long winded it was some kind of outcome I was trying to control. I wanted things to go my way, so I would use my words to get my kids and my husband, for that matter, to see it my way. With enough explanation surely they would understand my exquisite logic and come to no other conclusion, right? Well, it was irritating as all get out to them. I was slow in learning, but eventually I recognized that whenever I used too many words, I was grasping for control.

So, now I stop and ask myself what kind of outcome I am hoping for. Is it really that important? Is there some other ways things could turn out/be handled that are just as good or even better than my original hope?


chris ester

On Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM, dana_burdick <DanaBurdick@...>wrote:

> **
> >>>> With enough explanation surely they would understand my exquisite
> logic and come to no other conclusion, right?
> -Dana<<<<<<
> In our household we *jokingly* call this helping a person see by the light
of *my reason...* (the pronoun refers to whomever is trying the trick)
Yes, it is intended to be ironic.

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