To wonder what is wrong with talking to your child?

(185 Posts)
SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 20:54:48

Genuine question... Please don't flame me!

I've seen several threads on here criticising parents who talk loudly to their children in public, sing to them, encourage them to answer questions, and so on. "What colour is that flower? What noise does the cat make?" etc. Apparently this is called loud parenting, or performance parenting, or just plain pushiness.

DS is only 10 months, but I chat to him loads. Not loudly, not constantly (he has plenty of time playing by himself while I potter around doing things) - but I do tend to tell him what I'm doing, I point things out to him in the buggy, we read books, we sing action songs.

My understanding (from HV, Surestart centres etc) was that talking to and encouraging your baby was a Good Thing. In fact, I received a bookstart pack today with a free story book, and a leaflet of suggested activities ("Talk about what colours you can see in the book. Can you see any of these colours in your home? Can you make a noise like an owl?")

So who is right? Where is the line between interactive parenting and stimulating your baby, and pushy parenting? And am I one of these annoying "loud parent" types I keep reading about?

Tommy Tue 16-Jul-13 20:57:06

I suppose why people don't like it is when the mums talk so loudly you get the impression they are only doing it to show other people that they are "good" parents and not because they want to interact with their baby.

BrianButterfield Tue 16-Jul-13 20:59:31

Talking to your child is not loud parenting, everybody does it.

Saying "what noise does a cow make?" is normal. It's not loud parenting, it doesn't make you a super awesome parent, everybody does it.

Saying "what noise does a cow make? What noise does a French cow make? WELL DONE! What breed is that? Can you say Aberdeen Angus? We get OUR meat from the ORGANIC butcher, don't we darling? You like rib-eye, don't you sweetpea, not nasty burgers, yuk..." all for the benefit of the people around them is loud parenting.

WilsonFrickett Tue 16-Jul-13 21:00:20

Performance Prenting is always accompanied by smug/pa comments which either highlight or reinforce the parent's lifestyle choices.

So in your example.
'do you know that colour? It's green. Green like the grass and the trees' is normal parenting.

Performance parenting goes more like:

'darling? Can you see that colour? It's green. Gr-eeen. And what's French for green? That's right darling. It's vert. C'est vert. Shall we sing in French? 'Sur Le pont, D'Avignon.' do you want to go and get your hand-spun hemp drum? It's green too, isn't it?' etc etc etc.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 16-Jul-13 21:00:33

If you are thinking about this, then you aren't an Ostentatious Parent.

I think the line is when you don't give them time to respond, or when they are a bit older, simply time to just sit and look or think.

Or when you seem to be looking around to see if people are noticing how clever you/your child is.

WilsonFrickett Tue 16-Jul-13 21:01:21

Awesome x-post Brian grin

wewantyouasanewrecruit Tue 16-Jul-13 21:02:38

Yep that's it BB Elizabeth Beresford gave a brilliant performance of it in May Contain Nuts. Thank you for giving me a grin

PiratePanda Tue 16-Jul-13 21:02:44

You cross the line when you find yourself talking to your child with the consciousness that there are other adults about who might be listening to you and judging. Performance parenting is where you are playing to an additional audience other than just your child.

But agreed it can be hard to judge where the line is from the outside (especially given a DC might have a hearing impairment). And it's far better to talk to your child than not. I think there's far too much judginess around on this particular topic, but whatever.

BrianButterfield Tue 16-Jul-13 21:04:18

Wilson and I had a bit of a MN mind-meld there!

yummymumtobe Tue 16-Jul-13 21:04:39

I think it's vital for their speech development and for their understanding of the world. Also, why wouldn't you talk to them? They are another human and if you are hanging out together you chat! I always chat to my daughter and have done since she was small. It's nice for me to to chatter rather than just spend the day in silence as she not old enough to have a conversation!

ZipItShrimpy Tue 16-Jul-13 21:05:13

I do this sometimes. Not in a deliberate way to piss other folk off as I couldn't give a tiny rat's ass if it annoys people but in a way to engage with my two children and hopefully teach them something along the way.

I do smirk sometimes when I hear other people doing it for the benefit of other adults ears but I would rather hear someone 'loud parenting' their children than see them ignore their child completely.

stopgap Tue 16-Jul-13 21:05:30

I talk to my two-year-old a lot, but in a manner that's respectful of others within proximity. (Unlike the woman at last week's toddler group, who, in a voice loud enough to get a church congregation's attention, was trying to teach her 18-month-old the difference between a rhombus and a hexagon.)

YouTheCat Tue 16-Jul-13 21:05:32

PP is all about other people noticing. A PP will talk loudly whilst not looking at their child but will be looking around for approving nods. A PP will not give the child any time to answer.

PP is not interacting with your child. It is just loudly talking bollocks at them.

SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 21:05:36

Ok, I think I get it. I haven't met any parents like that, so maybe that's why it's off my radar!

grin at the hemp dresses and organic butchers!

SpanielFace Tue 16-Jul-13 21:05:36

Ok, I think I get it. I haven't met any parents like that, so maybe that's why it's off my radar!

grin at the hemp dresses and organic butchers!

WilsonFrickett Tue 16-Jul-13 21:06:20

'what's a mind-meld darling? That's right, it's when two very, very clever and really, really funny people think the same thing at the same time. Eat up your organic petit-pois and we can have a practice....'

Sparklymommy Tue 16-Jul-13 21:06:30

Do people actually do that? My god I think I would have to catch them out!

We were on a train the other day with my mum and my four kids (aged 4, 5, 6 and 10). Looking at cows. Started a conversation about names for baby animals. We had the usual, kitten is a baby cat, puppy-dog, calf-cow etc and then 6yo ds comes out with "what's a baby camel called?" I swear the business man sat next to him was choking trying not laugh as no one knew!

<goes off to google baby camel names>

tanukiton Tue 16-Jul-13 21:06:33

I talk to my kids in English and Japanese and don,t give a fuck. Enjoy your child. Ramble away...

WilsonFrickett Tue 16-Jul-13 21:07:48

I read the book 'May contain nuts' annually to keep what I fear are very strong PP tendancies at bay...

YouTheCat Tue 16-Jul-13 21:08:23

That is the distinction though. You talk TO your child. A PP will talk AT them.

Sparklymommy Tue 16-Jul-13 21:09:40

Boring! It's calf. Disappointed muchly!

badguider Tue 16-Jul-13 21:10:56

Talking to your child is great, and if you want to keep up a running monologue all day long then fair enough... BUT if you are in close proximity to somebody else for a while (e.g. on a bus or train) then you need to appreciate that if you do keep a running monologue the whole damn time then other people will find you desperately irritating.
It's ok to not care if you're driving everybody around you insane, but just know that your'e doing it.

kawliga Tue 16-Jul-13 21:12:23

We all talk to our children hmm but there is no need to talk to them LOUDLY unless they are hearing impaired. Do everyone a favour and talk to your children in a normal and natural voice. Keep it private, we don't need to hear your inane chatter.

OP when you say 'I chat to him loads' are you aware that all parents chat to their children loads?!! Yes, we do! Just because we don't crank up the volume doesn't mean you are a bit special in talking to your child loads, what do you think other parents do? It just means you are too LOUD, tone it down!

This pisses me right off when people talk to the whole carriage on trains and then you are stuck for the whole journey listening to their nonsense which is supposedly intended to stimulate little Charlie. I don't mind listening to children's sweet chattering but listening to parents is beyond irritating.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 16-Jul-13 21:13:42

I once pointed out an aeroplane to DH when we were out on a "date" grin

HooverFairy Tue 16-Jul-13 21:14:53

I think the line is when it's done loudly for effect, as opposed to being in a normal speaking voice at a comfortable level. Also, when it's done in a passive-aggressive manner as a means for the parent to have a dig at someone. Normal chattering is nice to hear and is very good for the baby so don't worry what other people think.

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