If you’re the parent of a child between the ages of they’re-talking-years-old and oh-gawd-make-it-stop-years-old you can probably relate to this. It sometimes feels like there’s just no reprieve from the talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk just-adding-to-my-word-count-at-this-point talk talk talk.
Think, Think, Think…Talk, Talk, Talk
My son is 6 years old (going on 15) and he’s got an always-active mind. I can relate because that’s how my mind works too. I try my best to reign it in and not verbally accost people, but as a child he has a hard time just being silent.
The thing is, he’s got so many interesting things to say. He comes up with super complex and fascinating ideas, and his curiosity knows no bounds. Seriously…no bounds! He sometimes does what we perceive as talking back but I think he’s genuinely curious and wondering about all the possible alternatives. The what ifs and why nots, if you will.
Enough Talking, Already!
One morning — I think it was a weekend—we were all sitting around the breakfast table and my son had been talking about who-knows-what. There was no end. Just gab gab gab, blah blah blah. Because my own mind is so full of chatter, I sometimes can’t take it anymore. So I said:
If I give you $5, do you think you can NOT talk for 10 minutes? You think you can do that?
To my sorta-surprise, he agreed to it. He was confident that he could do it, too. I was skeptical. Amazingly, he didn’t even leave the room, to remove the temptation of responding to something my wife and I were saying.
So I sat there talking to the woman I married in large part because of how much I love talking to her…and I was able to do it! Without any interruptions. And my son was right there in front of us! It was incredible.
Very rarely do we get to just have a conversation without being interrupted for something that really didn’t need to be said RIGHT THAT SECOND. And often times, we’re not even close to him when he decides to comment on what was just said (and yet you say something directly to him, and he “doesn’t hear it”.
It Was a One-Time Thing
I haven’t offered my son the cash-for-quiet deal since that first time. I’ve been tempted, but in the end I figured that it doesn’t send a very good message that I place a monetary value on my son’s silence. Most parents (if they’re being honest) would admit that they sometimes think to themselves (and maybe even say out loud) “Shut up! Just stop talking. I don’t want to hear words!” but my son is such an interesting and inquisitive kid, and I want to make sure that I don’t kill that.
At 50 cents a minute, it’s a pretty good bargain, though. I’ll keep some cash on hand…just in case.