Saturday, April 9, 2011

Language Barriers

I’m sure every ones heard the old adage "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". If there is any validity to this comment then our offspring must be from Uranus (well at least that’s where my 7 year old thinks they come from). The language barrier between children and adults has long perplex the confused and sometimes frustrated parents of these little extraterrestrials. The "He said, she said" dynamics of an adult relationship dull in comparison to how our children are translating what we are saying. I’m pretty sure "Clean your rooms" is interpreted as "Honey why don’t you stuff your clothes under your bed and play your DS for a while?". "Go to bed" in kid language means "Play as quietly as possible and when Mom is coming tuck and dive into your bed!"
While sitting in a room at the pediatricians office I was sure that there had to be something affecting my sons hearing. I wasn’t nearly as amused by the doctors comment as he was "There’s a difference between hearing and listening." he said with a chuckle. After humoring me (as he has so many times in the past) I was informed that my boy had passed with flying colors. Not that I wanted my son to have a hearing problem but maybe the possibility that there was a M&M or something in there that could be affecting his listening ability.
When I had my first son I was advised by many parenting books to create background noise purposely so he would be less effected by noise creating better sleep habits. Simple concept whether it was radio static, a vacuum, or anything with a fan and it worked my son could sleep through a Kiss concert! However I now believe this is a conspiracy concocted by children to dull the senses and ultimately torture their parents for the sheer joy of it. They adapt to the common background noise (a.k.a. the sound of our voice) but are aware of certain words, I like to call it "Word Hearing Awareness Triggers" or W.H.A.T’s. These trigger words very between children and at their discretion. My children hear blah blah blah "Ice Cream" which triggers a response and a need to all the sudden listen. I believe most Moms have exercised a counter attack called "Severe Word Association Tactics"also know as S.W.A.T. Our children hear yadda yadda "grounded" and have no alternative but to listen to the threats we are making.

At times our children may understand simple commands, but do not expand on the larger idea of the comment. For instance when I tell my son "Don’t hit your brother" he follows the basic concept of my command however because I did not specify he believes it is still allowed to pinch, push, Indian rub, noogy, wedgie, and do that obnoxious thing where they let spit dangle from their mouth over their victims face and then suck it back up.............hopefully. One time I told my son he had to finish all the food on his plate including the vegetables, and I better NOT find any of it in the garbage can. I was surprised when several seconds later he had finished. Fortunately my son lacks the ability to lie so after enquiring to the whereabouts of his food he explained to me that it was not in the garbage "can". However it had made it into the garbage disposal. Apparently there’s a big difference. I believe Charles Shultz the creator of the "Peanuts" cartoons had a realistic understanding of how as adults we are interpreted "Whooomp whoooomp whooooomp waaa"


I’ve been told by many seasoned parents that this lack in communication and understanding is something that is just perpetuated as time goes on, escalating until it hits a peak during the teenage years. I personally don’t believe that teenagers are unable to communicate with us I think they just choose to advert with a simple "Mom you just don’t understand". (Insert door slam here) Of course honey because I have never been a teenager, I’ve always been the decrepitly old unknowing mother that stands here now. Well Fortunately for now I don’t have to deal with that. But hearing the stories of others makes me strive even harder to keep the lines of communication open with my own children. I had children because I wanted to be a parent not a friend but maybe I’ll be lucky enough to be seen as a confidant now and then instead of a warden all the time. But then again I’m so good at that job, just ask the inmates.

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