WWYD? "Force" him to speak?

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Post  Wed, Jan 29 2020, 10:39 pm
My almost-4yo DS, who's my oldest, is a certified cutie, but very impish and definitely lacks impulse control (esp. compared to my 2.5 yo who seems way more mature).

Sometimes, he gets so upset or so stubborn that he refused to talk. He groans and grunts and points and expects me (challenges me?) to understand.

I usually tell him, "No, you know how to talk. Use your words and tell me what you want." But he doesn't. Even if I don't say it directly but ask him, "What are you pointing at?", he won't give in and talk.

He's doing it on purpose and it's so annoying.

Sometimes I definitely do understand what he wants. Should I give in and just get it for him, or wait till he uses his words?

This morning he woke up early due to his brother waking up early. He was still tired and cried/grunted/pointed for 30 minutes. He refused to talk except for one word at a time ("blanket", "Hallway" etc.) Should I have ignored him till he used his words? Or gotten him the things he was asking for?

This scenario repeats itself a lot. On Shabbos, he'll hold out his cup for grape juice. We'll tell him, say, "Please can I have some grape juice?" He'll grunt and keep pointing. At what point do we just give him the grape juice? Never? Right away?

Normally, he's very verbal. I'm trying to get him to use his words and learn to be polite.

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Post  Wed, Jan 29 2020, 10:43 pm
You are setting up a power struggle. You won't win. Ignore it. It will pass.
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Post  Wed, Jan 29 2020, 10:45 pm
Agree. It's extremely annoying, but just continue modeling the words you want him to use and give him what he is asking for as long as you understand it.
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Post  Wed, Jan 29 2020, 10:47 pm
Oh, I know this is so annoying, but I'm kinda laughing picturing it, because it really is funny, the things kids do. In the long run, they are often harmless, but boy can these things be annoying.
If this consists of maybe 5% or even 10% of his communication, I'd accommodate when I understand his grunt/one word, but not invest too much energy when I don't get it right away, and say "I'm sorry. I don't understand." and calmly walk away.
Most likely its a stage he'll soon be out of.
If its more than 10%, I'd be firmer about him starting to use more words more politely.
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Post  Wed, Jan 29 2020, 10:57 pm
amother [ Vermilion ] wrote:
You are setting up a power struggle. You won't win. Ignore it. It will pass.

Not a power struggle. The kid has nothing to bargain with.

If I want my kid to ask for help nicely when she's looking for her shoes before school, that could be a power struggle. Because she could always just refuse my help and miss the bus. But if she wants juice, and I say "ask nicely" and she doesn't, then... she doesn't get juice. The end.
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Post  Wed, Jan 29 2020, 11:03 pm
I'd give him a pass when he's tired or overwhelmed.

When he's just doing it for the fun of it, I'd insist he ask. But without making a debate over it. I might say once "I don't understand, use your words" but after that I'd just ignore any grunting.

But really, there's nothing wrong with giving him things (unless going non-verbal is an ongoing issue for him in other settings, too - IOW if it's a genuine developmental issue he needs to work on) and there's nothing wrong with insisting he talk, always (although that would be a little harsh in the early morning, IMO. I'm not sure I could talk if I woke up half an hour early and didn't get coffee).

The one thing to avoid is insisting that he talk, then giving in and giving him what he wants without a request. (and even that's OK once in a while)
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Post  Thu, Jan 30 2020, 5:27 am
Look how much attention he got compared to when he would use his words! Do not engage!
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Post  Thu, Jan 30 2020, 7:12 am
It becomes a power struggle the minute you let it bother you. If you can stay calm and completely ignore it, he will have to choose to talk or not get what he wants.
It could be a way to get attention- in which case maybe try hugging him while you model words for him, or while you say “I’m sorry that I don’t speak that language”.
He may be jealous of younger siblings getting attention. My DS was acting out in different ways and we eventually realized that he wanted to be babied. So we discussed it with him and decided together that one time a day he could let me know he wanted to be babied, and I would dress him/undress him or whatever it was and cuddle him more and talk in baby-talk. Just for a ten minute period. But it was very comforting to him.
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Post  Thu, Jan 30 2020, 7:21 am
Many children enjoy acting babyish. They are seeking the extra reassurance that they are loved and nurtured . I would treat it as a game and engage in it temporarily . You could even label it “ oh we’re playing the not talking game ? Or the baby game .” This should be done in a playful lighthearted manner. I would also set aside other times to engage with him asking him to choose a more age appropriate game / activity. This is not atypical behavior, especially when there’s a younger sibling around . This is a stage that will likely pass soon with time. Setting aside special time with him will provide him with security and reassurance .
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