Sunday, March 23, 2008

Persistent Nonsense Questions & Chatter

Oh my goodness have we ever experienced this one?!?!?! It generally starts with nonsense chatter. "Look at that car. I have a green shirt. I'm taller than this kid in my class. His name is Eric or Tom or something. I'm going to play outside when I get home. I don't like green beans." This is all said very quickly and with no space or thought in between. If I ignore it then they move into the questions. "What color do you think that is? What are we having for supper? Why was Hitler mean? What is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?" Also said quickly with no thought in between. There are several reasons for this kind of talking. One is for control. If they dominate and control the conversation it makes them feel in charge. Another reason is anxiety. The hyper vigilence causes them to be nervous and this produces nonstop talking. We've all had this feeling now and then. Just not every day. Several times a day. Then you throw in the lack of empathy or caring about another's feelings and you have this self centered self absorbed thought process. Here are some of the ways I have handled it. Nonsense chatter: I some times start doing it back. "Hey Did you know I have absolutely nothing to say but I am so nervous and anxious I just can't stop talking. So I go on and on and on forever and ever. I might not ever stop." Said exactly the way they do it. They usually start laughing and run away. I follow and then we are all laughing. Often this happens in the car though. I have explained to them what nonsense chatter is and why they do it. Some times I just say "Nonsense Chatter." And they know and stop. For nonsense questions: I have limited them to 8 questions a day. They start off blowing the whole 8 in the first 5 minutes of the day. The answer to every question after that is the opposite of whatever they want it to be. It doesn't take long before they say "Wait. I am not wasting a question on that." So when they say "What color is that car?" I say " I think it is a shade of green. That is 1 question." "What are we having for supper?" "Spaghetti. That is 2 questions." And so on. Another way to handle it is to give an absurd answer especially if it is an absurd question. They may see dad walk by and go into the basement and then say "Is dad at work?" So I say "Yes". They laugh and say "No he went into the basement. " "Oh". This is one of those behaviors that you really can turn into laughter if you lighten up and don't take it too seriously. Have fun with it.

No comments: