Home is Where the Mouth Is

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.)

Mayday HospitalAnswer #1

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.)

Answer #2

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.)

Seriously Too Late

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.

Speak to me.

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.)

Still want to pass the buck?

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.

Bottom Line

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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  1. Angela Young

     /  December 2, 2011

    You post so fast I can hardly keep up with you! lol. Society as a whole is SERIOUSLY lacking in this area!

    • LOL! I post three a day. And if I listened to the inbox…No, cannot even think about that. No such thing as writer’s block. I have more suggestions than I can blog in a year @ 3 a day!!

      And I think you are right. Until I saw the question, I never really considered it as even a choice. But, then again, I am a professional parent, so it would not have occurred to me…at least I hope it would not have…

  2. Maybe we should be teaching kids how to wear their hats straight, buy jeans that fit and not walk in groups with baby strollers in tow… Teaching a kid to do or respond in any given way only aspires them to do the opposite on most occasions, so maybe we should teach them that they are, indeed, indestructible?

    • I think that would just be promoting natural selection! I know with mine, what they learned when they were little (especially about manners and speaking kindly) stuck even through the teen years. Children have the ability to be polite, but will only do it when the parents are spot-on teaching them.

      And I could not agree more about the hats, jeans and strollers. Sheesh. You would think they were all raised in a barn. Red.

  3. What a great read. Enjoyed this and how true it is.

    • Thank you for stopping by to comment! This is something like the 18th installment in the communication series. I finally quit numbering them. Too many questions in the inbox still to answer!

  4. James Parsons

     /  December 2, 2011

    The schools and society has changed a lot in what they teach the children today. But I agree with you that the children should be learning their communication skills at home from their parents. The home is where the schooling should begin. Great article Red.

    • I suppose what really bothered me about the question is that anyone would consider teaching children to speak with respect to everyone else could be foregone for so long. Red.

      Shakes head. Mumbles something rude.

  5. This is a truly excellent posting Red and you are right, children do need the parent to teach them these skills, it is not something that anyone should be passing the book to or complaining later in life when all the wrong directives have been accessed.

    I know that my sister started with her two boys at a very early stage and they are doing excellently well at school, I think that a lot of parents just cannot be bothered to spend quality times with their children, learning them the intricacies of life and the learning curves that are so important at an early juncture, sort of setting the mould so to speak.

    Some parents will blame heavy schedules on this dilemma but surely if one wishes their children to be eloquent, then surely the time is very well spent in the earlier years so that these building blocks are already set into place for later on in life.

    There will be many comments added to this one Red and it is definitely a worthy posting that is interesting, and of course a very important learning curve, especially for anyone thinking about omitting this preschool knowledge.

    Have a wondrously excellent rest of day and evening Red 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • You are right, Andro. Many parents blame their lack of parenting on working too much. I shall soon address the barest issues of parenting again, as in my blog’s infancy, many here now have not read about my feelings and experience in the matter.

      And I hope you are correct about the comments flowing on this one, as I feel personally it is an important issue. The world grows unkinder by the day. One must hold hope there are still enough people willing to truly raise and rear their children to be polite, literate, functioning members of society.

      Woe to the parents who do not. After all, who do they think will be choosing their nursing home?
      Red xxx

  6. James Parsons

     /  December 2, 2011

    Parents today are not as hard on their children as they were when I was growing up. I do believe that the parents try to teach their children respect but then life steps in and blow that all to hell. Their morals and manners are tossed out the window, some due to society and some to the other children they are allowed to hang out with. This is what I think.

    • I think the key to your argument is “the other children they are allowed to hang out with”. Were parents more proactive in the day-to-day happenings in their children’s lives, a lot of this could be avoided. I have personally removed disruptive influences from my children’s lives and will continue to do so until they are grown. And even then, I have been known as the “mother-in-law” who would not tolerate disrespectful behavior around my (grown) children.

      I suppose that makes me old-fashioned. If so, it is a crown I wear with honor. Red.

  7. While young people may fall along the way a little bit as teens, what they learn in the home sticks. When mine said to me “I don’t have to do what you say, you are not my mother.” They were so right, my response was also right; “maybe not, but this is my house and in my house you will do as I say.” There was more but suffice to say, they got manners in very short order despite themselves.

    • Thank you for addressing the “teen angst” issue. Am I wrong in my observation parents feel powerless in their own homes to demand respect?

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