Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Private Speech

J talks to herself all the time and has done it ever since she learned to talk. I never paid to too much attention to it because I seen lot of other kids do it too. I was not aware of the benefits of private speech and always attributed it to the fact that J did what shd did because she does not have a sibling she could be playing with.

The suggestion of encouragement at least directly is not probably not a workable one. Kids get painfully self-conscious if anyone listens to them talking to themselves. It is a private world and the best favor adults can do is to let them enjoy it as such. The moment they know someone may be listening in, the spontaneity will disappear. The benefits (if any) with get eroded because what was private conversation will need to become a public speech.

This article on how the pattern of talking to themselves changes with the age of the child. It also talks about the same behavior in adults is viewed by society

In our culture, private speech is not a valued behavior. Most adults become embarrassed when caught in conversation with themselves. Fry (1992) noted in a rare study of adult private speech that occasionally elderly people talk to themselves, and that it was considered a sign of withdrawal from the social world. This description not only confirms that private speech is occurring in some adults, but implies that it is not socially acceptable, and even considered a sign of mental illness.

My great grandmother had been through some very difficult circumstances in her life and in her old age talked to herself constantly. A lot of these conversations were reenactments of incidents from her past, she would experiment with different responses and alternate outcomes. It was her way of undoing the past, bringing the wisdom of her older years to bear upon her decisions she was ill-prepared to make in her youth.

She was a fiercely private person and would never talk about these things with anyone. Private speech was just as essential for her as it is for a child. Thankfully the family left her alone to battle the demons of the past in her own way and did not respect her any less for it.

1 comment:

ggop said...

I often think aloud and talk to myself. Once a colleague caught me years ago and she laughed a lot. Needless to say I was really embarrassed. Your post made me feel good about myself.