Interviews with E and her Daughter B.
Here are a set of responses from mother E and daughter B, aged 5. Once again, I'm grateful to them for taking the time to participate. B's interview is transcribed from the recording of E asking her questions. Interestingly B spoke in a baby voice rather than her normal tone, perhaps due to nerves or self-consciousness, but it's hard to say for sure.
• What has been the most valuable lesson you have learned so far with regards to communicating with your children?
E - Patience! It feels so important to listen and also to tell the truth. I try to be age appropriate but I do my best to answer truthfully to even the most inopportune questions. I try my best to trust her and now she trusts herself.
• When has it all gone horribly wrong for you, and what did you do to fix it?
E - When I lose my temper - if I shout then she shouts back. I realise that my temperament is the bedrock of everything, that I teach by example perhaps even more than by instruction, so I need to be even. And patient! (Of course I find this impossible sometimes...) To fix the horribly wrong situations I need to create calm and of course this starts with me - and breathe….
• What is the personal trait you mostly rely upon in your relationships with your children?
E - So hard to answer objectively, patience again perhaps? Quick thinking? Positivity?
• What is your greatest fear for future communications with your children?
E - I don't fear. Yet... TV annoys, she watches very little but when she does she is unreachable, but I see the wind down possibility of it so try not to talk it down in earshot!
• Do you have strategy for this? If not, what would help?
E - I use adult speech patterns and I give respect and time, same as I do in adult relationships. I hope that as our relationship becomes more adult we can continue in the same vein. We limit the screen very heavily and have plenty of other options for wind down and time wasting - everyone needs to zone out sometimes….
• When has it all gone wonderfully right, and why do you think that was?
E - It goes right when we are not rushed, not hungry and not distracted.
• What question do you think should be on this list?
E - None spring to mind, happy to answer more if they present themselves x
• What annoys you about how adults speak to you?
B - Because sometimes they speak.... because sometimes they say... I don’t... sometimes they say that I’m not allowed chocolate.
E - Is there something that annoys you about the way they speak?
B - Yes - DJAKK DJAKK DJAKK!!
• How do you like a grown-up to be when they speak to you?
B - “Hello” In a normal voice.
E - What is not a normal voice?
B - DJAKK DJAKK DJAKK DJOGGG DJAGG DJAGG!!
E - Do people sometimes talk to you like that - grown-ups?
B - Yes.
E - Do they?
B - Yes………………you do!
• What is good and what is bad about being a child?
B - Good - playing
Bad - I don’t get to cook so much
E - What would you cook if you could cook more?
B - Gingerbread men……..I actually did that before at Gran and Gramps’……and Salmon and Eggs. That’s all.
• Do you find it easy or difficult to talk with grown-ups, and why?
B - Easy, and difficult.
E - Why?
B - I dont really know.
E - Do grown-ups listen to you?
B - Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.
• Is it easy or difficult for you to speak with other children?
B - Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
E - Why?
B - Because they always listen to me, but sometimes Liv doesn’t, cos she’s running.
• Do you think adults understand you? Why / why not?
B - Yes - because they listen to me.
• Is there a lesson that you would like grown-ups to learn about how to talk to children?
B - Yes - um ... talking nicely.
E - What do you mean?
B - Like…talking in a singing voice.
E - Can you give me an example?
B - Not really.
E - Is the way I'm talking now nicely or not nicely?
B - In the middle.
• Anything else you'd like to say?
B - No. But please may I watch it?