We often finish our children’s sentences for them. Sometimes we ask them a question and give them no time to answer before jumping in ourselves, presuming we know what their answer is.
They may be doing their homework, or practising their times tables and ask for help. It’s all too common to ask them a question such as “what is the first sound in the word Apple?” and give them no time to answer before saying “It’s a”. They are given no time to process the question or formulate the answer before being given the answer. Finishing our children’s sentences robs them of daily opportunity to develop their personalities , their confidence in their own ability to answer and their language abilities.
Let’s take the situation of asking them about an argument that they had with a sibling or a friend. Often we ask the question “what happened?” And when they are halfway through the sentence, we finish it for them such as
Child: “ I wanted the toy and Alex had it so….”
Adult “so you grabbed it off him!”
It may be true that they grabbed the toy but it also may not be true. However, the child will believe that you think they grabbed it because you said it.
When we finish the child’s sentence we don’t give them an opportunity to express their perspective, their opinion. This is very frustrating for the child and they may act out their frustration.
When we finish the child’s sentence, we are teaching them that we have the answers but they don’t. This reduces their self belief about answering questions.
When we finish the child’s sentence, we are not allowing them the time to process the question and plan the answer, key skills in developing confidence and ability to discuss topics and negotiate plans.
When we finish the child’s sentence, we are communicating that we are not really interested in what they have to say.
Take your time and give your child time to speak. You may be surprised by what they have to say.
Let’s Talk About It
Have you ever finished your children’s sentences for them?
Reflect on why are you finish this your children’s sentences and share your musings with us.