Saturday, 6 February 2010

Do you listen to/for children?

This morning, Rosemary told a man in the Co-op five times, 'I'm on my way to ballet' and in the end I had to say, 'She's talking to you'. Then she was standing in the aisle when an older man wanted to get past and he said, 'Are you in the way again?' Why he couldn't say, 'Excuse me' I really don't know. Don't children deserve a bit of politeness, too? In fact, how are they supposed to learn it themselves if adults don't model it to them? 

I also find that some mums only listen to/for their own children, while others pay attention to any children who talk to them. Personally, I prefer the latter and hope that I tend toward it myself, though I admit I can sometimes find myself ignoring children, including my own, if I'm engrossed in a conversation.

So, what about you? Do you listen to other people's children or just your own? Do you get down on the ground and join in with the children's play when on playdates? If a child talks to you in a shop or on a train, do you respond, ignore them or initiate a conversation or game?


  1. I always listen to children, it drives me nuts when people are rideto my daughter just because she's small. She's a good kind hearted person in her own right and gets very upset when people are unkind to her just because she's a child. We having the saying in our house 'little not stupid' children should never be treated as if they are an object, they are people in their own right and should be respected.

  2. I always listen to children, as it is a bug bear of mine. I always have told the children to say excuse me and you know what, lots of people just dont hear them or if they do they just ignore them!! The boys are little people and just because they are younger doesnt mean they are supposed to sit in the corner and ignored.

  3. I always listen to children too. It's rude not to and they are only trying to be friendly when they talk to you.

  4. I love it when someone elses child starts a conversation with me and i answer his/her question and the adult looks at me like i'm crazy!

    Why should we ignore children they are only little versions of us. When I'm at work i always make an effort to say hello to a customer's children and I love it when a cheeky smile comes my way or a friendly hello.

    I would feel very upset if someone was rude to one of my girls or just ignored them. xxx

  5. yep - I listen and talk to any child. I love it - they are so funny and so genuine. :0)
    my proof of the pudding is in

  6. I listen to children if they start a conversation with me. But I'm not sure I did before I had my own...

  7. I do now. I'm ashamed to say that when I was desperately trying for children I would actively avoid getting into conversations with parents or their children. I do find that most adults will seek out the opportunity to speak with my tribe, and I'm always mortified when my usually articulate three year old clams up and refuses to answer!

  8. I like talking to kids, always did. I always chat with the kids at geekygirls preschool, I like getting to know them. So does geekydaddy. One little boy always asks why he looks like a girl ( he has long hair), so gets a lesson in freedom of expression!

  9. it's heartbreaking to see my little girls face when people ignore her that she's trying to chat to. she just doesn't understand and gets all upset. They are small people and should be treated with respect, like you say, how are they supposed to learn how to interact with people and treat people with respect if they aren't?

    What do you say to your kids when they are ignored and upset?

  10. I almost always talk to other children and am happy to do so but there have been a couple times when a child has wandered over on the train or at a shop wanting to chit-chat or tell me all about their new toy or what they're doing and I'm really frazzled, in the middle of trying to wrangle my own two, and can't really give them much attention other than smiles and cursory nods and "Oh, that's lovely"-type comments. And there has also been a time or two when I've been out for some desperately-needed 'alone time' with no kids and I've fobbed off a kid trying to talk to me. I've never been rude or ignored one but I have made it (subtly)clear I'm not going to be engaging in a lengthy conversation.

  11. I have no option but to talk to my kids as they have verbal diarohhea!! but then so do I, so how can I complain. I will always talk to other peoples kids if they speak to me or I need to speak to them but I would not say that I go out of my way to have conversations with them, if in the playground or such. I think some of that comes from me and my kids talking so much than a few moments of quite is very appreciated.

    It is really sad how many adults just ignore children or speak to them very disrespectly. I had a wake up call a while back that perhaps I needed to speak to my kids with more love and it was gut renching to realise that.

    Mich x

  12. I talk to all the children at Isobel's nursery and help them if they are stuck with something, just as I hope someone would for my little girl.

    As a result most of them come up to give me a cuddle when I arrive.

    I hadn't even thought about it, but I suppose it is mutual respect.

  13. Liz: I love the 'little not stupid' saying.

    TheMadHouse: The 'excuse me' thing is very annoying, actually. We also teach Rosemary to say 'excuse me' and 'please' and 'thank you' and so on. But so often people don't hear children, even if they're speaking clearly and loudly, until they start shouting. And then they tut.

    Ang: It is rude not to, yes.

    Amy: I love it when other children talk to me, too. I always have. I'm glad you talk to children at work, too. I was impressed with the young lady behind the counter at the Co-op on Monday, actually, who heard Rosemary first time when she said 'I'm going to the cinema,' and immediately responded in a friendly manner, asking her what she was going to see. That's what it should be like!

    Kellogsville: Well, there you go. And, look, I commented on that post!

    Iota: I'm pretty sure I used to. In fact, yes, I can remember a train journey where I spent hours talking to the children sitting at the same table. But I'm not sure I often initiated conversation with children before I had them myself, unless they were friends' children, or relatives.

    MTJAM: I think it's understandable to avoid upsetting situations, when you've been trying for a while. Rosemary's only just (last few days) started being all friendly and talkative to adults again - a year ago, she would say hello and chatter absolutely anyone. But, even now, she'll sometimes go shy when asked a direct question by an adult she doesn't know.

    Geekymummy: Good for you. I talk to a lot of children when doing a duty at playgroup, but otherwise it's mostly the ones who Rosemary goes to play with or have come to play that I interact with more. Though I always respond if they actually talk to me, of course.

    Heather: It is heartbreaking, actually, yes. I usually say something like 'I don't think they heard you,' or 'Perhaps he can't understand,' or something like that.

    Noble Savage: It can be difficult when you're trying to keep an eye on your own children. I've had times when a child's been really deep in conversation with me and Rosemary has wandered off, and I'm really torn then. I don't want to be rude to the child talking to me, but also don't want Rosemary getting in danger.

    Michelle: No, I don't think I go out of my way to talk to other children, unless I'm on playgroup duty, or have them round for a playdate, of course. My mum and sister are both natural 'child-talkers', always drawing children out in conversation in all sorts of places - buses, trains, shops... Which is probably why they have both worked with children!

    Surprised: Zoe, I can totally picture you there, talking to them and getting cuddles. You remind me a lot of my sister, who is fantastic with children. Isobel is a very lucky girl!