Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Fayette-Mom: When the lesson is 'zip it'

Posted April 14, 2014

Jennifer Joyner

— My poor son just cannot seem to shut up.

Here we are, in the latter half of second grade, and the kid continues to bring home “frowny faces” on his behavior chart. No, it’s not for playing pranks or getting into fights or any other acts of general mayhem. It’s because he talks, all the time, no matter how many billions of times he’s been told to zip it. To say that I feel like a broken record at this point is an understatement.

Me: Eli. You have to be quiet.
Eli: I know, Mom.
Me: But son, you keep talking.
Eli: I know, Mom. I’m sorry. I’ll do better.

I suppose I should hardly be surprised. This was the biggest problem Eli had transitioning from preschool to kindergarten.

Me: Eli. You have to stop talking.
Five-year-old Eli: But why, Mom? Why is talking bad? I’m not being bad. I’m just talking!

Sigh. I’ve tried to explain that part of growing up means learning that sometimes, it is inappropriate to talk.

Me: If I go to a movie theater and talk when I’m not supposed to, guess what? They ask me to leave.
Eli: But why would you talk at a movie?
Me: That’s not the point, Eli… The point is, there are just some times everyone has to be quiet.
Eli: Well, duh. Everyone knows not to talk at a movie.

Double sigh. I suppose Eli’s problem isn’t just talking, it’s that he tends to be a bit argumentative as well.

Wonder where he gets these qualities from?

Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in 2010. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website


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  • sethorp Apr 15, 2014

    My daughter is having the same issue in pre-school. I tried to explain to her that it's not polite to speak when others are speaking, especially when the person is a teacher or an adult. She still thinks her comments need to be said when she feels they need to be said, and not later when the teacher is done. :-/

  • 50s Child Apr 15, 2014

    Stop explaining. He sees it as a chance to push you around. ("Duh"? From child to parent?)

    Instead of pleading with him, tell him once that the teacher is in charge, and he is to obey her. Then tell him "the doctor" said he's argumentative due to lack of sleep, and that if your son tries to bring up an argument with you about this or anything else, he will go to bed an hour early for a week to "catch up on his sleep".

    Sounds to me like he's not a bad kid, but he does enjoy pushing buttons. Not a good habit to encourage, unless you want him to be friendless. He knows not to talk; he doesn't know he's heading for a lonely, friendless life if he continues pushing buttons for his own amusement.

    Perhaps you could read up on some John Rosemond advice. It's very strict and very effective.

  • RGMTRocks Apr 15, 2014

    I raised 'this kid'. He is now almost 31. If he's like mine, Eli is likely very bright and very logical. He only complies to wht makes logical sense to him. Try this - Explain to him that if he talks while the teacher is talking, he can't hear what teacher is saying and he might miss something important - AND, everybody else can't get what she's saying either - just like at the movies. In addition, he likely talks during work time and two things fixed this for mine - 1. if he gets done earlier than others, he's bored and will talk. Give him an additional task to concentrate on to fill his time. 2. explain to him that other people cannot do their work well while he's talking and they're not finished yet. It takes ongoing reminders but if you give him very straightforward logical specific reasons WHY talking is not appropriate at specific times in class, he'll get it and likely comply - especially if he sees that he's making classroom life difficult for others. Good luck!