Do I ignore this behavior?

Posted by  | Monday, July 18, 2011  at 3:54 PM  
My family spent the last week on vacation visiting friends in Colorado. We had a great time catching up with old neighbors from our seminary days and then visiting with close friends that are serving with Athletes in Action this summer. We collected many memories, photos, and souvenirs. But one thing we picked up that I wasn't expecting was a new habit of Samuel's.

Mid-week Samuel (almost 5) started dropping his "r" sounds. Let me tell you, it is super annoying. He consistently changes all "r" sounds to a "w". I know lots of children do this, but it's not as if this is how he's always spoke. He has had no issues with this sound, or any speech, before this week.

I have a couple of ideas of where he picked this up. One, it may be from friends he has here at home that don't pronounce their "r"s. But I don't know why he would start doing it on vacation when we are away from them. Two, the family we visited on the first half of our vacation has a 4 year old daughter with a few speech problems. She doesn't pronounce her "l", "k", or "r" sounds. Maybe he got it from listening to her? But why? Three, I have been reading Wonder Pets books to the boys and the duck, Ming-Ming, doesn't pronounce her "r"s and so when I read the book I change the "r" sound to a "w". But we didn't have any of those books on vacation with us.

Less important than where he picked this up is what to do about it. My husband says to just ignore it and he will stop. But it's driving me crazy!!! I've been very good about not showing my annoyance at it. I just keep going with him as if nothing is different. But I don't know how long I can hold out. And I'm afraid the longer he does it, the harder the habit will be to break.

So, what's your advice? Ignore the behavior? Ask him about it? I just don't know what to do and I'd love to hear some opinions. Thanks!


Christy said...

This is so funny Leah! My daughter, who is three, went through a similar phase a couple of months ago. She has always been a talker and enunciates shockingly well for a child. But one day, out of the blue, she started dropping her "r"s. Instead of using "w"s she would use long "a"s. "Weather" became "weatha."

Thankfully, I was able to figure out the culprit pretty quickly- it was Boston Rob from Survivor! We'll sometimes watch it together as a family. When she started asking if we were going to watch "Surviva" I knew that's where she picked it up.

If your husband has instructed you to ignore it, then that's certainly what you should do. It's an opportunity to practice submission.

Like you though, it drove me crazy! Thankfully it was a pretty short lived phase, but I did correct her. She did it enough though that it became a habit and she had to work hard to stop doing it. It's amazing how quickly habits form!

Whether you correct him or not, I'm sure it will pass! Hang in there!

SC said...

My son, who is 5, actually started talking "dropping his r's" after watching Wonder Pets for a while, so it's funny that you should mention that show! (Why do they have Ming Ming talk like that???) He has always been a very well-spoken child with no speech problems. We ignored it for about a week hoping he would get tired of it and stop on his own, but he didn't. Finally I asked him why he was talking like that. He said, "I don't know". I asked if he's trying to talk like Ming Ming. He said "Yes, because it's funny." (He really likes telling jokes and being silly.) I told him to please stop talking like that because it's not funny, that some children talk like that because that's the way their voice is and they can't help it but that he should not play around like that because other children might think he is making fun of them. (He's a very sensitive child and I know he would understand and not use this to tease someone else.) After that he just stopped doing it. He did slip up a couple of times the following week but quickly said "oh, sorry" and corrected himself. I think he would have kept "dropping the r's" for a long, long, while if we had just ignored it.

Donna said...

Interesting....Emma did this, too. A little girl across the street has the very same speech pattern with the 'r's sounding like 'w's. Even now, if she has spent lots of time with her, she might slip in a 'w' instead of an 'r' sound. I did ask her why she was talking like Joslin. She just told me basically there was no reason...I didn't say anything else. I just wanted her to know I noticed and get her to think about it.

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