My dad overcorrects my 2yo's speech--how would you approach it? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-22-2011, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DH and I co-habit with my parents.  Most of the time everything runs smoothly.  But of course some issues come up now and then.  One is my dad overcorrecting my 2yo's speech.  It mostly only happens when my 2yo asks my dad for something, like some of his food.  My parents have some foods that are just "theirs" in a different pantry... mostly my dad because he's very particular (and a little possessive) of his foods, like breakfast cereals, and I don't want my kids to eat them anyway.  If my kids ask for some of their food, I usually leave it up to the discretion of my parents as to whether or not they will share with the kids.  Mostly this situation arises when the 2yo sees my dad preparing his own breakfast.  Then when the 2yo asks, "Can I have racecar cereal?"  (meaning Wheaties) in his typical 2yo voice, my dad will put a little in a small bowl and then hold it in front of my child and say with exaggerated diction, "Say, 'Pop-pop, may I have Wheaties, please?" with all the consonants obnoxiously punctuated.  My son will usually think that's funny how my dad is talking and giggle and say part of the phrase.  Sometimes my dad will repeat himself and try to get him to say it again before he gives him the cereal.  Admittedly, my dad wears hearing aids and also is constantly asking me, "What did he say?" while the rest of us adults, including my mom and my 6yo son understand him just fine.

 

At first I just over-looked the behavior.  But lately it has been really irking me and I want to say something, but I am not sure how.  I'm thinking of asking him if he is worried that the 2yo won't develop proper speech and that is why he is correcting him and then reassuring him that as he grows his speech will mature, just like his brother's did.  I would like to tell him why I don't think it's right to do that to a kid, but I can't think of a good reason.  My dad is very science-minded, so if I could come up with some kind of child development reason I think it would have more impact.  I am also thinking of talking to my mom about it... it seems like he mostly does it when it's just him and me around... maybe because he knows that my husband and mom wouldn't approve or maybe because when my mom and husband are around my 2yo interacts with them more... not sure.  I think my mom is able to approach him about these things in a way that he listens to better.

 

Anyway... just wanted to bounce this off of you... have you dealt with anything like this? 

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Old 02-22-2011, 11:19 AM
 
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I think if he's not being mean and it isn't actually making your 2yo feel bad (which it doesn't sound like it is), then it's one of those things to let go.

 

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Old 02-22-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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That would irk me too! Sounds like talking to your mom about it would be a good place to start.

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Old 02-22-2011, 06:07 PM
 
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I have been in this situation, sort of, and the person doing it to my child was being kinda mean about it. I just made it a point to translate whenever possible, and to pointedly comment "That is what she said." Might have been kinda b!tchy of me, but hey...

  You can probably find some articles on how childrens speech develops at different rates, and what is within the 'normal range' if you think he will listen better to an 'expert' on the subject.

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Old 02-22-2011, 06:23 PM
 
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In this case (he's not really being mean about it) I would just remind him that at 2 your child is learning languages by actively engaging in conversation with people, and not by being given specific instruction on proper grammar and word use and the best way for him to encourage proper grammar and word use it to use proper grammar and word use when talking to or with in hearing distance of your child.

 

On the other hand, if it were someone being flat out mean I would just tell them "I don't want no person to be like that to my baby, it ain't not nice!"


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Old 02-22-2011, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses.  MusicianDad, your recommendation sounds the best for my situation... I like that line of thought...

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Old 02-24-2011, 07:28 AM
 
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After having two kids in speech for a total of 8 years so far, the most important thing you can do is just repeat it correctly.  Making the child repeat it back in many cases is unnecessary.  For example dd is very into the past tense lately!  So she will say "he go-ded to the store" and we will just casually say "oh, he went to the store?" and that's the end of it.  She hears the correct version and typically repeats it back on her own.  But we don't make her do it and she is learning.

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Old 02-24-2011, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamalisa, that's basically what I ended up telling him... er... kind of went off on him about... Sheepish.gif

 

Maybe it's because I'm 35 weeks pregnant... or maybe it's because yesterday I was having a particularly grumpy day... or maybe it's just because my dad and I have an "interesting" relationship

 

But basically I heard him struggling to understand the 2yo... then he figured out what the 2yo was saying... then he started to try to get the 2yo to repeat it the "right" way... and I just snapped at him something along the lines of, "You know, the best way for him to learn how to speak clearly is for you to just speak to him conversationally using proper speech!" 

 

Dad, innocently: "Oh, you don't like it when I try to make him repeat it the right way?"

 

Me, hotly: "No, I think it's rather demeaning and unnecessary.  How do you learn a language?  By natural conversation.  Unless you are taking a class at the community college maybe."

 

Dad, smiling:  "Well, it *is* like he's in a class for learning--"

 

Me, interrupting:  "NO, he is not!  He is a 2yo child living in a family environment."

 

My 6yo, calling out from the kitchen:  "How would *you* like it if someone did that to *you*?"  love.gif

 

Dad: "I would definitely like it, if I were learning a language."

 

Me: "Well I don't like it."

 

Then I walked away and nobody really discussed it any further.  Later that day we (dad, me, and boys) went to the park and were all friendly.

 

Glad I actually talked to him about it... not so proud of my not controlling my anger... but, eh... overall ok result

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Old 02-25-2011, 01:54 PM
 
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It drives me crazy when a child says something incorrectly and noone points it out to them.  I always correct my 2yo son, and he is proud of himself when he repeats it back correctly.  I think that as long as it's done in a positive way, that it can't be anything but helpful.  He is perfectly capable of saying words properly, so I see nothing wrong with teaching him to practice his speech until he gets it right.  And I do find that, his speech is advanced beyond other children his age and I am sure that this has a lot to do with it. I know that, my sister's little boy, who is 3 has a lot of trouble saying certain sounds and she doesn't correct him because she thinks "that's how a child his age is supposed to talk" which just seems silly to me as he is more than able to say the words correctly if he is just shown how. 

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Old 02-25-2011, 02:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post

On the other hand, if it were someone being flat out mean I would just tell them "I don't want no person to be like that to my baby, it ain't not nice!"



Lol! 

 

OP, hopefully your convo with you dad will put an end of it. 


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Old 02-25-2011, 02:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mrspineau View Post

my sister's little boy, who is 3 has a lot of trouble saying certain sounds and she doesn't correct him because she thinks "that's how a child his age is supposed to talk" which just seems silly to me as he is more than able to say the words correctly if he is just shown how. 



Obviously I haven't heard your nephew, but I do know that there are lots of sounds that it's common (normal) for little kids (even up to age 6-7) not to be able to pronounce, and even if you "show them how" they just aren't physically able yet. 


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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Old 02-26-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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Obviously I haven't heard your nephew, but I do know that there are lots of sounds that it's common (normal) for little kids (even up to age 6-7) not to be able to pronounce, and even if you "show them how" they just aren't physically able yet. 


Ya, I'm aware of that. I'm saying, he IS able. I've heard him do it.  I hear my son do it.  If I correct my son and he still can't do it, it's not like I keep on with it, but I at least let him kow so that he can try.

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Old 02-26-2011, 10:43 AM
 
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There is a difference in correcting grammar and correcting speech though.  Bad enunciation is very hard to change as a child gets older (ask my 10 year old who says "whirld" instead of "world") even though he's been in speech since he was barely 4.  But "Can I have race car cereal?" is an entirely different thing.  He's not going to be 40 and still calling Wheaties "race car cereal" (well maybe, but it's not the end of the world!)  But bad formation of sounds can last a long time if they go unfixed.

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Old 02-26-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by OliveJewel View Post  My dad is very science-minded, so if I could come up with some kind of child development reason I think it would have more impact.



If you are a fan of John Holt, in his book "How Children Learn" he talks about not forcing kids to repeat things your way... basically confirming what you where telling your Dad about your son learning in the context of family life.  IMO, trying to make conversation in a language you are still learning is not the same as taking a class and asking for criticism! 

If I were in a Quebec and my french was understood but not perfect, I would be frustrated, embarrassed and angry if someone refused to answer me in conversation until I had parroted back their preferred version of my statement or question.


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Old 03-05-2011, 08:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post

There is a difference in correcting grammar and correcting speech though.  Bad enunciation is very hard to change as a child gets older (ask my 10 year old who says "whirld" instead of "world") even though he's been in speech since he was barely 4.  But "Can I have race car cereal?" is an entirely different thing.  He's not going to be 40 and still calling Wheaties "race car cereal" (well maybe, but it's not the end of the world!)  But bad formation of sounds can last a long time if they go unfixed.


redface.gif hide.gif Okay, maybe its just because I was born and raised in Oklahoma, but I don't hear a difference in pronunciation between "whirld" and "world."  And I know that I don't have the stereotypical drawl, but maybe there is a regional difference in how those sounds are pronounced? 
 

 


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Old 03-05-2011, 08:44 PM
 
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I'm from MN and I say "whirled" and "world" exactly the same too. :)


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Old 03-05-2011, 11:58 PM
 
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You mean, instead of saying "hwirled" in that Queen's English way - like "hwale" and "hwen"? I only know one person who actually does that, and she only does it when she's being very formal (DH's English grandmother). Or is there some way of pronouncing "world" I haven't heard? Either way, I suspect your child's in good company. :p


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Old 03-06-2011, 09:27 AM
 
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I say "whirld" too, but I think I know what they mean - maybe something more like "war-ld" or "wooh-rld".

 

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Old 03-06-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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I have an aunt who always liked to correct my daughter on any minor error in speech and it used to P*SS ME OFF.  It's so rude!  They're only little for a little while and when I watch videos of her little two year old self saying something is "perfectally nermal" (perfectly normal), it makes me smile.  She's five and she speaks just fine.  Her vocab is huge.  Half the time she would try to tell my aunt something, by the time the aunt got finished correcting her my daughter had forgotten what she set out to say.

 

Correct your own children if you feel like you have to, but it's rude to correct other people's children.

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Old 03-06-2011, 03:03 PM
 
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"Whirled" sounds different than "were-uld". At least to me and ds's speech teacher 
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:52 PM
 
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Sorry, I'm on your Dad's side.  I think the best way to teach your children to speak properly is to gently correctly their speech.  I have always done that and people have always commented on what eloquent speakers my children are. 


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Old 03-06-2011, 09:11 PM
 
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There's a difference between "gently correcting" and setting something in front of a kid and telling them they can't have it until they say it "right." It would bug me, too. Aside from that, there's nothing inherently incorrect about calling Wheaties "Race Car Cereal." It's cereal, with a race car on it. What in the world is there to correct about that?
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by OliveJewel View Post

Me, hotly: "No, I think it's rather demeaning and unnecessary.  How do you learn a language?  By natural conversation.  Unless you are taking a class at the community college maybe."

 

Dad, smiling:  "Well, it *is* like he's in a class for learning--"


well, some kids do learn it naturally, and some kids don't. And some kids who learn it *naturally* are getting a lot of coaching. To me, it seem normal and healthy to model proper speech and to nicely encourage kids to repeat things back. I also don't think that every adult in a child's life has to do everything the same way.

 

But one of my kids spent a couple of years in speech therapy. She had to work hard to learn to speak. My sister believed that her DD would learn to speak naturally, and she's in 4th grade now and still VERY hard to understand. May be you can just ignore your child's speech patterns and have them go away on their own. May be not. Not all kids get it from just hearing it.

 

Are there a bunch of other issues with your Dad? I don't see getting worked up over encouraging a child to use the right name of the cereal and say please unless it's just one of those things that no matter what your dad did, there's just so much history there that he just ticks you off.

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 03-07-2011, 12:09 PM
 
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I don't think correcting a child's speech is inherently problematic, but it sounds like the OP's dad is being a tad obnoxious about it:

 

Quote:
Then when the 2yo asks, "Can I have racecar cereal?"  (meaning Wheaties) in his typical 2yo voice, my dad will put a little in a small bowl and then hold it in front of my child and say with exaggerated diction, "Say, 'Pop-pop, may I have Wheaties, please?" with all the consonants obnoxiously punctuated.  My son will usually think that's funny how my dad is talking and giggle and say part of the phrase.  Sometimes my dad will repeat himself and try to get him to say it again before he gives him the cereal. 

DD's nearly three and is (in my unscientific opinion!) very verbally advanced - she uses words like "complicated" and "hideous", has a good grasp of colloquialisms, makes sentences with complex clauses, etc. She still has her verbal quirks, such as pronouncing Vs and Ws (she calls DH a "pesky warlet" quite frequently), a la Ensign Chekov. DH sometimes corrects her, whereas I take the "But it's so stinking cute and she won't do it forever!" line. (Although it's also pretty amusing to hear DH saying "I'm not a warlet. I'm a VARlet. Can you say VARlet?" "Warlet!" "Varlet". "Varlet". "Very good!")

 

Because DD likes language, she doesn't seem to mind being corrected - she finds it amusing and likes to try to say new words. Plus, she's used to us being corrected all the time by our Spanish teacher! If she found it humiliating or upsetting, it would be a different matter. The OP's child doesn't seem to have too many issues from it, so maybe it's just one of those things that grates on the OP without harming the kid?


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Old 03-07-2011, 12:51 PM
 
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I agree with this. I think it's okay to gently correct a child's speech. OP, is it more annoying because you are living there? Maybe it would be less irritating if it were something you didn't have to hear all of the time?
 

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Sorry, I'm on your Dad's side.  I think the best way to teach your children to speak properly is to gently correctly their speech.  I have always done that and people have always commented on what eloquent speakers my children are. 



 

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