General Etiquette > Family and Children

Do you speak?

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Roe:
My son (9 y/o) tends to be a pretty reserved kid.  He doesn't open up to strangers easily.  Once he gets to know a person, he's pretty open though still not what I would consider "chatty."  It's just the way he is. He takes after his father, an introvert.

When random people speak to him, he will answer their questions but he takes his time and processes their information/question before answering.

Today, a tour guide (docent) asked him a question and before my son could answer, the docent says "do you speak?"  That's when I stepped in and said "he's pretty reserved" and I moved my son away from her. 

The docent did not ask the question in a friendly tone but rather in an accusatory and rude tone, which upset me.

I feel that my response to the docent wasn't 'enough.'  What else could I have said to make it clear that she was rude?  (in the event it happens again)  It's really annoying when people assume every child should be an extrovert.

TIA!   

ETA:  This person was not a 'tour guide" and I used that term for simplicity sake.  We did not know this person nor were we formally introduced to this 'guide.'  She was standing next to the exhibit in order to answer questions from visitors.  I'm sorry if I gave the wrong impression but using the term 'tour guide'.

ETA2: changed 'tour guide' to docent to give a clearer picture. 

amylouky:
"Do not speak to my child that way." Followed by a complaint to the company that runs the tours, and of course reassurance to your son that he didn't do anything wrong.
Tour guide was definitely rude.

WillyNilly:
I have to say while I knew them as vocabulary words, I never other then eHell have heard people refer to "introverts" and "extroverts" and it always chafes me on eHell, as I find their usage somewhat obnoxious.  The usage of the words implies some sort of pleasure or something in reference to speaking or not speaking a lot.

While the tour guide was perhaps rude in tone, many adults don't expect children to be "extroverts" - which is to say most adults don't care if kids want to, or are happy to, or are comfortable speaking.  They expect kids to speak when spoken to and to answer relevant questions whether they are introverted or extroverted.  (Which is my issue with the labels - I don't expects guests at a party to be extroverts, I expect them to be good party attendees, one aspect of which is holding down a few casual conversations over the course of the event, just like I don't expect long haul bus seat partners to be introverts, I just expect them to amuse themselves instead of relying on me for conversation for hours on end - for me its about personal social responsibility, not social comforts.)

Whether your son is introverted or not, he'd do well to learn how to verbally communicate effectively in appropriate situations and labeling him as an "introvert" I think is not doing him any favors, but rather enabling bad habits.  Introverts still need to answer questions throughout life.

Now perhaps the tour guide didn't actually require an answer but if your son was asked a polite question and he just stood there not speaking for a good length of time while he formulated his answer, that's pretty unacceptable behavior (unless your child is very very young).  Even if the answer is "I'm not sure" or "I need to think about it" or "maybe" if its coming across that he doesn't speak at all, that should be concerning.  Not answering people and just standing there staring blankly at them is generally considered rude behavior.

Roe:
My son wasn't just standing there staring at her.  He was looking at the exhibit and it took him awhile to even realize that she was speaking to him.  He wasn't rude at all, if he were I wouldn't have posted and I would've talked to him about it.

But no, he doesn't just stand there and stare at people when they ask him questions.  He answers when it's appropriate. 

Tabby Uprising:

--- Quote from: WillyNilly on November 06, 2012, 04:30:48 PM ---I have to say while I knew them as vocabulary words, I never other then eHell have heard people refer to "introverts" and "extroverts" and it always chafes me on eHell, as I find their usage somewhat obnoxious.  The usage of the words implies some sort of pleasure or something in reference to speaking or not speaking a lot.

While the tour guide was perhaps rude in tone, many adults don't expect children to be "extroverts" - which is to say most adults don't care if kids want to, or are happy to, or are comfortable speaking.  They expect kids to speak when spoken to and to answer relevant questions whether they are introverted or extroverted. (Which is my issue with the labels - I don't expects guests at a party to be extroverts, I expect them to be good party attendees, one aspect of which is holding down a few casual conversations over the course of the event, just like I don't expect long haul bus seat partners to be introverts, I just expect them to amuse themselves instead of relying on me for conversation for hours on end - for me its about personal social responsibility, not social comforts.)

Whether your son is introverted or not, he'd do well to learn how to verbally communicate effectively in appropriate situations and labeling him as an "introvert" I think is not doing him any favors, but rather enabling bad habits.  Introverts still need to answer questions throughout life.

Now perhaps the tour guide didn't actually require an answer but if your son was asked a polite question and he just stood there not speaking for a good length of time while he formulated his answer, that's pretty unacceptable behavior (unless your child is very very young).  Even if the answer is "I'm not sure" or "I need to think about it" or "maybe" if its coming across that he doesn't speak at all, that should be concerning.  Not answering people and just standing there staring blankly at them is generally considered rude behavior.

--- End quote ---

I don't believe kids any more than anyone else, should be expected to speak when spoken to.  In a classroom setting where that dynamic has been established is one thing, but just randomly on demand by a stranger?  Not so much.  "Do you speak" is rude to say to an adult and it's rude to say to a child.  If a person doesn't respond to your question immediately for whatever reason, you can think of something better to do than say "do you speak".

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