Several weeks ago I was going through an animal book with her that unintentionally turned into an affirmation of a typical child’s verbal skills that reflect how they are spoken to and taught. She was enunciating every word I said: hippopotamus, boa constrictor, orangutan, white rhinoceros and flamingo.
I head read this book with her before, but this was the first time she began repeating every word.
It occurred to me once more as this was happening that because we have always communicated with all our child in grammatically correct and clearly enunciated sentences, that they are also capable of learning to do so at a very young age.
Years ago when my children were growing up, I recall reading about a theory, espoused by a child development professional, that a child would be more successful enunciating the English language if the IE was added to it.
Unfortunately this theory also fit with the general emphasis that our culture places on the baby stage. We typically hear potential parents say they would love to have a baby rather than using the world child or family. "Baby" is only one year of a person’s life out of possible 82 plus years!
At the time I found this opinion very puzzling, since my own children were at a young age when they became mostly fluent in English.
Now that I have had twenty three years of experience teaching language skills to hundreds of children at various stages of learning, I am positively convinced that this theory has absolutely no merit.
Unfortunately the habit has become so accepted that the majority of parents and the general adult population use this approach when communicating with all children. For example: dog, horse and cut/bruise/scrape are never used, what we hear is doggie, horsie and boo boo. The last one, boo boo, is of course a made up word supporting the baby culture. When any child joins our day care and is already somewhat verbal we are always shocked that they have no idea what cut, bruise or scrape even mean.
I find this circumstance disrespectful of a child’s intelligence and a strong reflection of our prioritizing of baby culture.
It is rare that you hear people say that they are planning and hoping to have a child or a family or children. Instead the common statement is “I really want to have a baby.”
Considering that the baby stage is only one year, this emphasis is often a barrier to any child achieving their maximum potential, socially, emotionally and academically. It also may interfere with their assertiveness and self-confidence.
Fortunately for many children, including those in our care, they are being treated like intelligent, responsible people and enjoy a full mature life because of that!
Thanks for letting me share one of my deepest beliefs with you!