You Talk Too Much

My children, with the exception of one, are very outgoing. They talk easily amongst their friends, family, and even with new acquaintances. Even the one who is seriously shy often opens up after a few moments.

They like to talk about what they are learning and ask others what they are being taught (either homeschooled or not). They enjoy hearing about other’s goals, adventures, and struggles.

Our children will generally carry on a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere, on almost any topic.

It seems this can become a problem, especially amongst their peers. My children have often commented that others will ask them to stop talking because they “talk too much”.

When asked the context of the conversation, it is sometimes mentioned that my children were anxious to share how their week had been going and their friend did not care to hear all the details.

My daughters, in particular, are anxious to please their teachers at church and actively participate in class discussions. When questions arise, my girls leap at the opportunity to answer.

This too appears problematic. Other children do not like it when the same kids answer the questions or offer to assist.

While it breaks my heart and, I believe, somewhat hinders our children’s enthusiasm, we have encouraged our children to perhaps talk a little less.

We have recommended they perhaps share things with only their closest friends and, even then, only the highlights. We have suggested they allow other people the chance to answer questions and offer advice first, then if no one else has something to offer, they may try.

While I do not know if this is, in fact, the correct solution, I do know my children feel less self-conscious and are less often accused of “talking too much”.

I know this is yet another lesson in the art of communication, but it does beg the question… How much talking is too much?

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20 thoughts on “You Talk Too Much

  1. An interesting thing for me, since I have ALWAYS been accused of talking too much, was to see my boys inherit that same trait. However, I tried to pay attention to when it seemed to be too much, or if the listener was not paying attention, or wanted the attention on themselves. Homeschooled children are very comfortable talking to others. We communicate so much within our family structures because we have to – sharing information is how learning takes place. For one of my sons in particular, I guage how much he has learned by his verbally telling me. So to defend your children, perhaps it is not “too much” but it is that they are enthusiastic about their lives and are excited about what they are learning, and simply want to share. When my children would mix with children who attended school, even charter schools where they only took a class or two here or there, the communication patterns with those children were different. They spoke more in “sound bites” than proper sentences. It is almost like “texting” language has become approved modes of conversing (“u” instead of “you,” for example). Many children exposed to more media influenced information and more exposure to the world via TV (as I know you do not have TV in your home) speak in clipped sentences and improper grammar. Your children, I am sure, speak in complete sentences and have an inborn enthusiasm about life. It comes from feeling joy and security within the family.

    In Eastern, or Byzantine Catholicism, we teach Holy Silence. This can be where we speak less and listen more. We can maintain Holy Silence throughout our day and ask that everything we do, we do for God. It is like the Opus Dei theory of offering all our work for God, only we do it in silence. It is amazing what you can learn and hear when you listen first and speak last. It is a good trait to teach our children, and perhaps their example will rub off on children who cannot seem to stop speaking! Ha-Ha!

    As for your children, I am pretty sure it is pure joy that motivates their need to share. Enjoy that in them…treasure it. As least they are not sullen teens, which seem the norm out there!!

    Blessings!

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    • Those are some interesting observations! I think you might be right….
      I don’t think it is my children necessarily talking too much, but rather that most children prefer a limited conversation. My children do speak in complete sentences (because I require it) and they very much enjoy conversation.
      I have observed their interactions with some of their friends and it isn’t that their talks are long, but that the other children seem to lack an interest in what is being said or they would prefer a much shorter explanation.
      My children are generally very good about letting other people speak, but very rarely get a response consisting of more than a few words. (Incidentally, neither do I when I ask them questions.)
      I think you might be right. I think it has something to do with the age of technology and the lack of proper verbal exchange.
      Thank you, again, for the encouragement and the thoughtful ideas.

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  2. great topic. some kids are talkers and some are not. personally, i like to encourage communication, passion in the spoken words and i also encourage in participation. while i find it important to communicate, i also find it equally important to learn to listen to others as well. i was one of those talkers. i was a very shy kid, but, i was also a talker. the oldest of 5 kids, i had to speak up often or i never got heard. so if i had someone to talk with, i talked.. a lot. lol but i needed to learn to listen too. so i learned to not talk all at once and so much. but to say a little bit, as you said, the highlights. then the other person would get a chance to say something and i would listen. i actually used to talk too fast well so people had a hard time understanding me. again, oldest of 5 kids.. i had to get in there when i could! one of the things i love about blogging and “talking” on the internet, i get talk, a lot. and i can get long winded, which i often do. some people just have a lot to say, and some, like me, are descriptive of things. so after i said all this. yes, save the long talk for those closest to them. those that don’t mind the talking. it’s hard, but, not everyone likes chatty. 🙂 communication is so important but not everyone communicates the same way. people have to be chameleons it seems, figure out their current environment and then adjust how you act accordingly with out changing who you are.

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  3. Your children defy the ridiculous notion that home schooled children are social misfits, not knowing how to interact with other people in different situations. That being said, everyone needs to learn when it is best to be silent. I myself have had to learn to “zip it,” especially at church. As I have an eidetic memory, my knowledge of Scripture invariably surpasses the Pastor’s. Wow! Very difficult to restrain my mouth!

    Two of my children are very self assured (now adults), but were even accused of being “know-it-alls” during children’s Bible study, and other encounters where they had superior knowledge of just about every subject that came up. The kids told me they felt like other people didn’t like them. I counseled them to try a different approach. Rather than talking about themselves, and what they’ve done, seen, or whatever – ask the other people questions. People like to talk about themselves and their opinions – at every age.

    By initiating a question – the other person or people are put in the position of reacting. In reality – only 10% of all interactions are initiated or originated, the other 90% are people reacting to the initiator. For example, I am a self assured adult. I know that I am physically and intellectually intimidating to the other women at church. I have learned over the years, to initiate a question to every woman I meet. Such as – “Where did you get that beautiful scarf?” or – “How is your new grand baby?” “Or, you don’t look old enough to be a grandmother.” I never, and I mean NEVER let someone start getting intimidated – I get them talking about themselves first. Believe me, – it works.

    Children are equally intimidated by their peers. Try practicing with your kids to ask people questions about their hobbies, or favorite colors, or pets etc. And role play not talking about themselves at all. As far as being a leader during Bible study where questions are being asked, perhaps if your kids know all the answers – they need to be in the next higher group. My son’s teacher came to me and told me he was answering all the questions and never “gave the other kids a chance.” I asked why didn’t he move him to the next level, his response was that it wasn’t fair. What nonsense! We left that church.

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    • My children sound a great deal like yours. They are quick to answer and their teachers are fairly impressed with the amount of knowledge they have acquired.

      Their teachers are always supportive of our children and constantly tell us how much they add to the class. The problem seems lie mostly with the children. While it would be nice to move them onto a higher level, our classes are based on the “grade system”, similar to public education. Our way of going around this is to pull them out of class and into the sanctuary with us, when we feel it is more beneficial.

      I appreciate your advice, it sounds a lot like what I have already advised them to do. So, this helps me to know I am on the right track. Whew!

      While I do not have an eidetic memory (wow, that would be so nice!), my husband is very much into apologetics. His love of the Scriptures and knowledge of our faith is very contagious, causing all of us to be deeply soaked in the Word. Because of this, my children and I enjoy sharing the exciting things we have learned with others. Unfortunately, it can sometimes appear as if we are being a “know it all” or “talking too much”. In truth, we are simply excited and wish others to be as excited as ourselves.

      You have a valid point, we all need to learn there are moments to be silent. The art of good conversation is not only knowing when to speak, but when to be still.

      I like your idea of initiating a question. I believe we will have to start this practice.

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  4. I was recently filling out paper work for my son’s upcoming speech therapy and was confused by many of the questions asking me to describe him, one of which was “Does your child talk too much?” My son is a chatter box, which is actually a blessing considering his speech problems. One of the reasons I was seeking speech therapy for him was so that he would not lose his desire to communicate as a result of his difficulties. I wrote the therapist a LONG list along the margin of the paperwork of why my son’s talking MUCH is never TOO much! What in the world is too much, I asked her? I did not get an answer btw :o)

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  5. I have this same issue, mostly with my son. He makes friends easily and has no problem at all with communication. Sometimes he communicates too much. I try to teach him humility and the importance of listening to others, but I also encourage his enthusiasm. While other children are busy staring at a screen, mine are living life…and discussing it. I can’t seem to find too much of a problem in that.

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  6. I like to think I defy homeschooling ideology as I don’t like to think of myself as a misfit either – sage_brush is so lovely.

    I don’t have anything to add on the topic of kids or children or parenting, but what I have learned at home I guess I can share. For instance, when we have guests over for dinner, which is quite often, that is the key time for especially me, but also my brothers or parents, to be the observers. Whomever is a guest at Harrowgaite is the centre of attention. That’s just a general rule we have. Perhaps the principle would apply when they are hosting friends (?) Otherwise, I’ve been taught that unless I listen (not hear, but properly listen) then I can’t add anything to the conversation and ‘nor should I.’ My brothers once compared proper conversation (mind, I was being groomed about how to be comfortable speaking to politicians from the age of seven) to a a ‘boomerang effect’ (one person speaks, the other responds, and it goes back and forth etc like a boomerang). The image in my head of a boomerang and the way it goes right back where it came from insists ‘turn taking’ in conversation. It really helped me.

    Other people have had good advice so I might just be repeating, but that is my 2p. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Miss Lottie. Learning to listen is a wonderful quality that people admire, rather being the “know-it-all.” I will be the first to admit that often what you end up listening to is not very interesting, and one is forced to assume a posture of interest that one doesn’t feel.

      In the larger picture – you will be grateful for this people skill, and will mature into an even more delightful person than you are already are – and that’s saying a great deal! 🙂

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      • Yes Sir I completely agree with you – I can listen quite well. I do try to measure my words and speak only if I have something today. The rest all spills out all over my blog!!

        Thank you for such kind words again. That is really encouraging to think someone finds me delightful! 🙂

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  7. I’m not much of a talker but a lot of my younger brothers and sisters are (they’ve been homeschooled their whole life, I used to go to school before I homeschooled. Sometimes when they’re all trying to clamour for a part in the conversation mum will make an object a talking thing. Like she’ll pick up a spoon and say you can only talk if you are holding the spoon and you aren’t allowed to grab it from anyone. They have to give it to you. When they are finished speaking they say “who would like the spoon?” and if you want it you raise your hand. Sometimes mum will say “give the spoon to ___”
    She also says “God gave you two ears and one mouth so you should listen twice as much as you talk.” But left to their own devices they’ll happily talk the ears off most people. I think it’s something a lot of kids grow out of as they get older and learn how much talking and sharing is too much. Some don’t, I know a few old ladies who can talk just as well! 😀
    “Mandy”

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  8. I didn’t learn how to curb my enthusiasm until I was about 14, haha. But it is true–there is a point when you are in a GROUP setting when it is more caring to give others the opportunity. There are going to be moments when you know the answer or you have a brilliant thought, but if you constantly get there first and blow other people out of the water, they are not going to be encouraged to be brave in their own learning. It’s kindness. Thinking of others instead of showing yourself you’re right–again.
    At least, that was my journey. 🙂 I enjoyed intellectual stimulation so I looked at group conversation or youth group as a chance to share that experience. What actually happened was I unintentionally relegated everyone else in the room to “audience” rather than “collaboraters” or “fellow students.” So I figured out that if I was confident in my answer, that was enough for me. I wanted other people to speak up more than I wanted to blurt the answer as fast as possible. I wanted to see other people learning what I could already see.

    Does that make sense?

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  9. My son talks alot too. I come from a family of talkers but learned over the years that it’s good to listen too. My hubby and I have to remind Michael to take breaths and that it’s okay to have moments of silence….if not then there would hardly ever be silence lol. I have a few extremely talkative relatives that I love very much. But it has always been hard to be around them because they didn’t give everyone else a chance to talk. I think moments of silence open up the floor for others. Your kids are probably not at this extreme at all but because of my upbringing I’ve had to teach Michael this. I remember growing up with these family members and feeling like I had no voice. I could only get a word in if I interrupted but then I would get in trouble for interrupting the adults.

    Also I stopped talking to a certain relative on the phone except once a month or so because even when I said I had to get off they would keep talking. So I’m trying to teach Michael to listen to others because when he talks non stop it is rude. One way conversations aren’t very fun. I definitely don’t want to crush his spirit and I realize he is more social than Chris and I. I believe there is a way for him to find balance and be thoughtful. Also quiet times are good for reflection. So I guess I’m in the same boat….trying to figure this out. We’ve also had to keep him from interrupting adult conversations or correcting adults (so embarrassing). I like what one blogger said about the boomerang effect. I should use that word picture. Maybe do a manners class about talking lol. Now, I have to work on my own communication skills cause I either say too much or too little and I often apologize if I feel I’ve said too much.

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  10. My children “talk too much” 😉 I love it! Because–one day, they’re going to be all grown up, and moved out. All the chatter will become a memory. Even all the chatter when we are around other people.

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    • I try to remind myself of this daily. I have four children with only a five year age difference between oldest and youngest, so odds are they will all leave in one big exodus someday, and i know the quiet will be sad. I also try to remind myself that anything my kids will do today that will upset me would be impossible for them to do if they were sick in the hospital, or (Lord forbid) already in heaven. If your kids are bouncing off the walls, running around, screaming and “talking too much” it’s becuase they are alive, healthy and probably happy and secure at home with you. Thankfullness is all about your perspective.

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  11. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but maybe we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. The wise person may want to listen twice as much as they speak. In this way others may value what you say when they hear less of you saying things. Good luck!

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