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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: I am having an ongoing grammar argument with my mil.<br>
Do you correct your kids grammar??? If so, why? and how old are they?<br><br>
It is actually an older argument that I thought was settled. Sorry this is so long.<br><br>
I do think it is important for my mil to establish a relationship with my kids and so I don't have a lot of "rules" for their interactions (like she feeds them way to much junk, sits them in front of the t.v., cheap, plastic crappy toys, etc.) HOWEVER, I have asked on several occassions for her to NOT correct my kids grammar.<br><br>
My grounds are that grammar is subconsciously learned and the rules of grammar are acquired in a very specific pattern and kids learn to speak using the same rules as their parents. As long as my dh and I speak to our kids "correctly", they will learn to speak "correctly." Repeatedly correcting young children just makes them conscious of a subconscious act. (Yes, I have an English degree.)<br><br>
And I am talking about small children, currently ages 3 and 4, not high school age children which is a entirely differently discussion.<br><br>
I just went through this whole deal last year and asked her to NOT correct the kids. She called my dh on Sunday to tell him that she corrected my son on Sunday and was going to continue to correct him because she had graduate students who used still could not speak correctly, etc, etc. (My mil is 70 yo and a practicing psychologist with a PhD in education.--she overseas master degree students.)<br><br>
I was not present when my son, age 4, supposedly used the wrong verb tense of "win". As in saying "I winned" instead of "I won".<br><br>
(However, my own mother, an elementary teacher, did not notice it.)<br><br>
I am really steaming mad--I guess more because she is so blatantly disregarding one of very few rules--and calling my dh to tell him that she is going to continue doing it.<br><br>
It's kind of a dumb thing to turn into a big issue--but it is really bugging me.
 

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Grandma definitely needs to chill. Word usage and verb tense, syntax etc. are all developmental. Which is probably why the elementary school teacher grandma didn't notice. The language usage straightens itself out eventually unless Mom and/or Dad are using poor grammar consistently.
 

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You know, I think SHE is the one who turned it into a big issue by going against your wishes, then drawing a line in the sand with your DH about how she really doesn't give a rip about your rules, she will do as she pleases.<br><br>
Which would be fine with me, because she'd pretty much never be alone with my kids again if she couldn't be trusted to adhere to my very few rules.
 

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While I agree that is unnecessary and that MIL should respect your wishes, I also think that whether or not it is harmful depends on how those corrections are presented.<br><br>
For example: If your son says "I winned!" and Grandma says "That's great that you won, honey!" I think that is completely acceptable as long as her tone of voice is kind and that she is more interested in the topic than how he says it.<br><br>
However, if he says "I winned" and she says (without acknowledging his excitement about winning) "Young man, we say 'won' not 'winned'. If you don't want to grow up sounding like an uneducated idiot, get your tenses right!" Then, obviously she is doing far more harm than good.<br><br>
Good luck with this one. You are right. Your kids will grow up with perfectly acceptable grammar, with or without Grandma's intervention, but you may have a hard time convincing her of that.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">For example: If your son says "I winned!" and Grandma says "That's great that you won, honey!" I think that is completely acceptable as long as her tone of voice is kind and that she is more interested in the topic than how he says it.<br><br>
However, if he says "I winned" and she says (without acknowledging his excitement about winning) "Young man, we say 'won' not 'winned'. If you don't want to grow up sounding like an uneducated idiot, get your tenses right!" Then, obviously she is doing far more harm than good.</td>
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I agree with this.<br><br>
I do correct my dd's grammer in the manner of the first example. My girls are 5, 6 & 8. My oldest 2 never had any problems. My youngest though still says alot of words the "wrong" way. We speak the same way to her as we did the first 2 but they were not talking the way she does at this same age. Will it correct itself without anything, maybe but improper grammer can be a speach issue that does need more help than simply they'll speak properly when they're older.<br><br>
"won" is one of the words she says improperly, except it is "winned-ed"
 

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No, I guarantee it was not the "repeat it correctly and hope they catch on" trick. (which is sometimes use myself) but a definite "You said that WRONG and now you need to repeat it correctly" sort of thing.<br><br>
I guess I just hate repeating the same argument we already had and all the drama she entails.<br><br><br>
(For awhile she was banned from babysitting and had only recently been allowed time alone with them due to other "issues." But yes, it looks like the ban must be reinstated.)
 

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I agree with the above. If she tells him he said it incorrectly, that is not OK. If she modeled the correct usage after he said it in her response that would be OK with me.<br>
I have no links but I think if you googled Noam Chomsky or language development you could send her some links to show her she will not be helping them learn to speak by correcting them by rather by modeling correct grammar.<br>
Of course, it would totally bother me if my MIL did that and then called to tell me she did it when I had asked her not to.<br>
Good Luck!
 

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I'm sorry she's not respecting your wishes. I'd be irritated too. However, is this really something you need to go to the mattresses over? She knows how you feel, she'll keep doing it whether she babysits or not. You mention other issues, so this might just be the icing on the cake which is why it's becoming an issue for you.<br><br>
FWIW - I'd be the same way and I would definitely tell my MIL what I thought of it. Just not sure I'd "ban" her so to speak from babysitting the kids - unless of course there are other issues as you mentioned above.<br><br>
Good luck with this one... sounds like a sticky situation. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">:
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jessemoon</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7931431"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">For example: If your son says "I winned!" and Grandma says "That's great that you won, honey!" I think that is completely acceptable as long as her tone of voice is kind and that she is more interested in the topic than how he says it.<br><br>
However, if he says "I winned" and she says (without acknowledging his excitement about winning) "Young man, we say 'won' not 'winned'. If you don't want to grow up sounding like an uneducated idiot, get your tenses right!" Then, obviously she is doing far more harm than good.<br></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mama2kds</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7931567"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">No, I guarantee it was not the "repeat it correctly and hope they catch on" trick. (which is sometimes use myself) but a definite "You said that WRONG and now you need to repeat it correctly" sort of thing.<br><br>
I guess I just hate repeating the same argument we already had and all the drama she entails.<br><br><br>
(For awhile she was banned from babysitting and had only recently been allowed time alone with them due to other "issues." But yes, it looks like the ban must be reinstated.)</div>
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In that case.......I would definitely fight her on this one. Drawing TOO much attention to children's speech can contribute to stuttering and self-consciousness.
 

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You are completely on target in terms of language acquisition. A child who is constantly corrected will not learn any faster than a child who acquires the language naturally.<br><br>
Furthermore, saying "I Winned" is actually developmentally appropriate and shows that he comprehends the language. In English, for the MOST part, you turn a verb into past-tense by adding -ed to it, so this is a common stage. Once kids figure out this rule, they over-extend it and use it on every verb, even the irregular ones <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
I would curtail any unsupervised visits until she gets the message.
 

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<span style="font-family:'Comic Sans MS';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#4169E1;">Ok, this is probably going to be easier said than done; and will definitely require some suppression of emotion. Here it goes....<br><br>
You're both educated and intelligent people. Unfortunately this has become a battle based on respect and who's more deserving of it (I imagine she probably thinks she knows best because she's older, and you know best because you're the mom). If you "put your foot down" too soon, it's only going to serve to worsen the relationship between you; so use that as a last resort (the truth is, they are <i>your</i> kids; you and your partner are the one's who have final say...period). But you might be able to reach a happy medium to "accomodate" both sides. Here are two idea's, you could try one, and then the other if the first didn't work; or you could use the two idea's together to create a shot at change.<br><br><span style="color:#000000;">Idea 1)</span> As one of the pp's said, it's <span style="text-decoration:underline;">how</span> she corrects that presents the problem. You could sit down with MIL and explain that if she said it in a reminder kind of way (ie: "that's great that you WON honey"); then that would be ok with you, but you don't want her to do it the other way and you absolutely won't bend on that. You might want to approach this in such a way that makes it her idea (ie: "ok, I see your point about wanting them to be well spoken and I thank you for taking the time. Now, is there a better way that we could do this; A way that we could subtly encourage them to use the proper words?" and/or "I feel that making them <i>repeat</i> the proper words is lying the foundation for assimilation; and that we need to find a way to present it to them in such a way that they are using their brains to figure out the problem.").<br><br><span style="color:#000000;">Idea 2)</span> A "debate". You have your side and she has hers. You could welcome her to present the reasons why in a structured argument form; and you do the same; and then you present each argument to the other party and take the time to ask questions and make "what if.." and "what about.." points. Getting a different view on your opinion is a good way to learn what you may not see (which could be used to show her the problem as you see it through your eyes).<br><br>
The purpose of the idea's above would be to create for her the illusion that she's involved in the choice; as well as to re-open the strained lines of communication between you. This may show her that you're listening to her idea's and suggestions; and that may be all it takes to fix this and even avoid future problems. I'd be willing to bet that's what she wants, is to know that you respect her opinion and that you're considering her idea's....which (again) doesn't mean you have to take them; just to let her know that you've given it serious thought.<br><br>
Good luck.</span></span></span>
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>A&A</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7931969"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">In that case.......I would definitely fight her on this one. Drawing TOO much attention to children's speech can contribute to stuttering and self-consciousness.</div>
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I agree, which is why it is always suggest to not tell them they're wrong, but to just repeat what they said but with the correct word. This tends to be the point where I say something about they're my children, it is not your job or place to do this and until you stop you won't be seeing them(or as often).
 

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That's too bad that she's being such a stickler about this for such young kids. I'm actually proud of DS when he generalizes grammar rules, because it demonstrates that he understands the concept -- so what if he happens to apply the rule to the wrong word? English is so full of exceptions, you can't expect young kids to know them all right away! I just model the correct phrasing back to DS without mentioning his usage at all, and trust that he'll catch on as time goes by.<br><br>
There are stages of language development, and I think they should all be celebrated and encouraged, rather than being dismayed when little kids don't demonstrate perfect usage right away.<br><br>
As a side note about generalizing, I have to add a cute story about DS: When he was learning that you add an "s" to pluralize a word, I said the word "box" while pointing at a picture of one, and he got a befuddled look on his face, pointed to the picture, and said, "It's just one bock." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>limabean</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7933810"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm actually proud of DS when he generalizes grammar rules, because it demonstrates that he understands the concept -- so what if he happens to apply the rule to the wrong word? English is so full of exceptions, you can't expect young kids to know them all right away!</div>
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This is exactly how it works. With the past tense in English, kids normally start out imitating irregular forms correctly (won, were, etc.) because that's what they hear. Then they figure out the regular past tense endings, which is a huge achievement - they now know how to form past tense verbs from new verbs they learn! But they often overgeneralize and apply their cool new rule to verbs they used to correctly produce irregular forms for. Then after a while they keep their regular rule but learn which verbs are exceptional. (That's an oversimplification, but not that much of one.)<br><br>
In addition to being annoying and demoralizing, there is good evidence to suggest that kids learn very very little grammar by being explicitly corrected. They learn by imitating what they hear and then extracting generalizations from it. They have in their heads some representation of "correct grammar" based on what they have heard up to that point and the generalizations they have extracted, and it's hard to change that by correcting them.<br><br>
There's a cute dialog that appears in linguistics textbooks to illustrate this fact, between some linguist or other and his 2-yr-old kid:<br><br>
Child: Want other one spoon, Daddy.<br>
Daddy: You mean, you want "the other spoon".<br>
Child: Yes, I want the other one spoon, please, Daddy.<br>
Daddy: Can you say "the other spoon"?<br>
Child: Other one spoon.<br>
Daddy: Say "other".<br>
Child: Other.<br>
Daddy: Spoon.<br>
Child: Spoon.<br>
Daddy: Other spoon.<br>
Child: Other spoon. Now give me other one spoon? (1)<br><br>
(Dialog on the web at <a href="http://www.iatefl.org/content/newsletter/154.php" target="_blank">http://www.iatefl.org/content/newsletter/154.php</a>)
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jessemoon</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7931431"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">While I agree that is unnecessary and that MIL should respect your wishes, I also think that whether or not it is harmful depends on how those corrections are presented.<br><br>
For example: If your son says "I winned!" and Grandma says "That's great that you won, honey!" I think that is completely acceptable as long as her tone of voice is kind and that she is more interested in the topic than how he says it.<br><br>
However, if he says "I winned" and she says (without acknowledging his excitement about winning) "Young man, we say 'won' not 'winned'. If you don't want to grow up sounding like an uneducated idiot, get your tenses right!" Then, obviously she is doing far more harm than good.<br><br>
Good luck with this one.</div>
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Couldn't have said it better myself (or is it meself <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">)
 

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Give her Steven Pinker's "The Language Instinct" to read. He's got the dialogue that someone else posted in there, and the linguistics literature abounds with examples of that. Or Words and Rules by Pinker. Or How Babies Talk (Hirsh-Pasek & Golinkoff). All are written by respected scholars and all with the message: kids learn language without over instruction.<br><br>
Or tell her that it's a GOOD sign that he's saying "winned" it shows that he's got the rule right.<br><br>
While she needs to chill - how often does she see him? If it's daily, it's worth a battle. If it's every 3 months, is it really worth it?
 

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Maybe I'm in a bad mood but that would really make me angry if I specifically asked someone not to do something to my child and they did it anyway. It sounds like a power/control thing for your mil.<br><br>
You could tell her something like, "I don't think you understood how serious I was about this. Let me ask you again: DO NOT CORRECT HIS GRAMMAR. This is very important to me." I wouldn't debate it. If this is important to you, then it's important. Have you told her why? Does she care about your reasons? Does she undermine you in other ways? Is this her personality or is it just this one thing?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mama2kds</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7931282"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
I just went through this whole deal last year and asked her to NOT correct the kids. She called my dh on Sunday to tell him that she corrected my son on Sunday and was going to continue to correct him because she had graduate students who used still could not speak correctly, etc, etc. (My mil is 70 yo and a practicing psychologist with a PhD in education.--she overseas master degree students.)<br><br>
I was not present when my son, age 4, supposedly used the wrong verb tense of "win". As in saying "I winned" instead of "I won".<br></div>
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Can you point out that her overseas students are 'learning language' but your son is acquiring it which is a totally different process?<br><br>
A read of Pinker, or Chomsky's writings on Universal Grammar and a suggestion to leave him alone til she accepts the theoretical difference between the two processes might be in order.
 

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So what if she oversees Master degree students? These are your children and you have been more than generous with MIL. She should follow your rules or not see the children while unsupervised.
 
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