Words and no words.
I was talking to a woman a while back that teaches children’s literature. She was telling me about a study between the relationship of not being read to and being a bully or bullied. I wish I remember who is doing the study, but she told me if children are not read as children as they grow up they do not the have the vocabulary to express how they are feeling. So they may bully another child or become victims of a bully themselves. They do not have the words to explain how they feel.
I have been very interested in that concept now for a few years. I have worked on some picture book ideas to give children some of words they need even if they are not read to. Tough challenge. This concept also makes me think about people saying the F word. I hear it everywhere now. I was riding my bike one morning last week and I heard a construction guy working on a house said, “That fucking wood is fucking heavy.” I thought to myself. My gosh can’t you think of a different word?
There kids are at the bus stop just down the street. Then I realized maybe he doesn’t have the words? Was he not read to as a child? I have been thinking about this concept of people saying the fuck a lot lately because it is happening in my own home. Barry says Fuck You to me all the time. If I don’t give him money, or when I ask him to go for a walk, or wear a different shirt he says well Fuck You! At the State Fair he walked over to some big bags of ice outside a lemonade stand and started opening a bag to get ice for his water bottle. When I said you can’t do that, he yelled, “Well fuck you” all the way back to the car. It was unnerving and embarrassing. It is also a little bit scary, kind of like you feel when a bully is picking on you. But it is also sad because Barry would never have said those words to me before FTD took over. I realize now he is losing his words! He can’t say I am frustrated,angry or depressed. Barry does not have the words anymore to explain how he feels. So he says fuck you! Those two words can hurt like a bully hitting or teasing you. But I have the words to tell him how I feel and once in awhile he understands, especially when I explain he can’t talk that way in front of our granddaughter Charlotte.
I am not sure what to do with Barry and his swearing. Maybe he needs to read some picture books? Maybe he needs to talk to a counselor about his feelings. But I do know if we can give children lots of words to help them explain how they are feeling maybe we would have less bullies out there or kids being bullied. So read read read to your little ones! Give them all the words you can!