I have 4 children ages 10, 7 and 5 year old twin girls. One of my twins, the very self sufficient one who grew up really fast is now using baby tal at times when she is happy and we are doing family activites. I try to be patient with her and don’t mention anything about it just treat her normally but it is really driving me cray. Do you now where this may be coming from and how I can help her move through it faster?
Baby talk does no harm to your child. She speaks this way because she needs to, for a valid reason. Children always do their own therapy when they need it. In my book, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, you will find a couple of examples of how children create effective therapy behaviors and events for themselves.
Her baby talk only “drives you crazy” because you think it is bad and that she should not speak this way. Once you understand that it is good for her, you can support her and feel peaceful about it. She will be done with it when the emotional need is fulfilled.
Since you say that this twin daughter “grew up really fast,” it is likely that she would like to slow down. She is not thinking about it consciously necessarily, but she may sense that babyhood is slipping away and she wants to get more of it. If you have been speaking about her as the more mature one, she may have lived up to your expectations inauthentically. She now wants to make up for lost time and she wants you to stop relating to her as the one who grew up fast.
Once you realize that your child is doing a good thing for herself, you can transform yourself from feeling annoyed to being supportive. Your goal then is not to stop her baby talk, but to find out why she needs to speak this way and nurture her need. Reread the first chapter of my book; you will learn how to avoid negating your child and how to support her direction with joy and even humor.
In improvisational acting there is a wonderful rule you can apply to your relationship with your daughter. It is called “Accept the Offer.” If the other actor does something that blows your plan, you go with her direction. You don’t stop the show and have an argument, “wait, stop, I was going to rescue the princes and you ruined my idea…” No. You take the other person initiative and build on it.
So it is with children. Your child acts like a baby, why don’t you act a parent of a baby. Give her what she is looking for. Don’t dramatize in a way that insults her. Only participate, serve, hold, and accept her “offer.” Look forward to her baby talk and play with, not against her. It is healing for her, and an opportunity for you to flow with your child’s direction and create peace inside you.
Warmly, Naomi Aldort, www.AuthenticParent.com