Language experts say that most children build the foundation for their vocabularies between birth and age 3, as a result of parents talking to and with them.
So the advice, talk to your kids, should be a given. And some parents — like one mom with two young children I encountered on the Metrorail train earlier this week — get it.
The kids, obviously headed to school, carried backpacks. Mom carried a weary look.
But for 12 consecutive minutes after they boarded the train that trio had a conversation — about school, about toys, about how the train works, about nothing at all.
Usually, I love hearing kids and parents chat. It makes sense of the boatload of money Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby made back in the day hosting Kids Say the Darndest Things.
But some parents — like the other mom who boarded with her two kids at the very next station stop — don't get it, and demonstrate their lack of understanding words by behaving as though any old talk will do.
They forget — or maybe they never knew — that words are like cash: If you use them the wrong way you'll have nothing, or at least nothing of value, to show for 'em.
Unfortunately, mom number two misspent her words, and answered her curious kids' queries with "shut the f--- up," "quit askin' me so many damned questions," and "don't make me smack the s--- out of you."
An elderly woman sitting next to me gave my arm a friendly squeeze and whispered dismissively that the second mom was "just ghetto.'" Extended translation: Mister, that family is poor. What do you expect?
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