Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Language of Children

A bit back I read a post on MMB by Braden Bell entitled, Getting What You Want in Your Marriage regarding communication.   He addressed the situation where women (in general) drop hints rather than asking directly for something.  I probably drop hints more often than I think I do because I've always figured it was the more polite way to ask for something.  I guess I've felt that if I have to say, "Honey, will you grab the screaming baby out of my arms so I can put the gallon of milk back in the fridge?" it would insult my husband's intelligence because shouldn't it be obvious that if I were holding a screaming child while trying to get the milk back in the fridge, that I would need help?  Well, apparently, it's better to ask specifically, than to assume that my husband will know that I need help.

As I've thought dropping hints was the superior way to communicate, rather than to insult someone's intelligence, I was surprised when Bell suggested this type of communication was inferior and ineffective compared to just asking.  (OK, maybe he didn't actually say inferior and ineffective, but he definitely didn't favor hinting!)

OK, now to my point.  I just started reading Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott.  Chapter One is entitled, "The Code of Communication."  On page 5, Ginott suggests that children speak "in a code that requires deciphering," and on page 6 mentions children asking "hidden questions."  I was intrigued because the language of children sure sounded a lot like the communication of (some) women.  If that is true, and there are more similarities between the way children and women communicate, doesn't that give a bit of weight to mothers being the primary nurturers?

My next question is, so when do boys stop speaking the "language of children" and move onto the more direct language of men(/adults)?