The inbox mine produced a question which falls in line with the ever-growing Communication Series:
Should interpersonal communication be taught in high schools and required to graduate?”
(Scratches noggin. Really?)
Should interpersonal communication become the politically correct term for being politically correct, rather than the demonstrative meaning of “interpersonal”, the cause is already lost.
(Suck it up. Answer the question asked. Specificity is the rule.)
They are installing a sign on the door of the hospital’s birthing unit which reads:
Please deposit your child in the appropriate school box. Postage will be collected from your taxes. Have a nice day!”
(Gently slaps hand, backspaces, tries again.)
Interpersonal communication should be taught by parents who have interpersonal communication with their children.
(Smiles. Gets up to pour coffee. Realizes blogging about this is probably a good idea.)
By the time a child reaches high school, interpersonal communication should be in the mastery stages. Parents can neither allow the education system to surrogate this most essential of parenting tasks nor delay such a grave task until the child is nearly an adult.
If you have not already intervened, your teenager is likely standing in your kitchen for a routine 3-5 minute diatribe, of which you may understand his slang term for you, school and maybe, if you are lucky, one of the 18 subjects he crammed into it.
Never Too Early
When a child begins to speak, parents should be instilling the skills necessary to carry on a conversation in a respectful and literate manner.
Children learn communication from those who communicate with them. If you are interested in having Valley-speak, gang-talk, Kardashianese or any other objectionable language in your home, by all means, do not speak to your child in reasonable, rational terms.
High school is not the correct environment for this sort learning. The home is the perfect environment.
Home is where the mouth is.
Home is free of social pressures which lead children to withdraw, instead of asking the questions when they need or desire answers. The natural curiosity of a child should not be stifled into a scripted routine of daily life. There is far more to communication than please/thank you or yes/no.
Give me a sign.
The nuances of verbal and body language, the significance of eye contact and the signs of veracity and insincerity must be learned as a child. Tact, although a learned response, is rarely taught to children without tactful parents.
(Has epiphany about own children. *@#% it.)
If parents cede responsibility for speaking to their children about subjects which require tact, compassion and grace (teaching interpersonal communication), they have effectively ceded the right to parent.
If parents feel inadequate in this field, they should be taking an interpersonal communications class.
It is your job.
Educational facilities are to hone the skills which are not parenting issues (advanced math and science), which will enable children to actively secure employment and support themselves. School is to prepare children for the workforce.
School is not to prepare children for life. This is still, and should ever remain, the venue of the parent.
How often do your children misunderstand what you say? How often do you believe they speak an alien language? Can you read your child’s body language?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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