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sgberry
sgberry asks:
Q:

Why do children repeat what they have said in a whisper?

My four year old has recently started whispering back what he has just said...sometimes a phrase, sometimes a sentence.  He is a bright child with a large vocabulary and very social.  If you've ever seen the ABC show "The Middle"... that's what he's doing!
In Topics: Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago

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LouiseSattler
LouiseSattler , Child Professional writes:
Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk.

It has been my experience that children speak in a whisper for a few reason, such as-

1- They are not confident of their question or statement and don't want to seem "embarrassed" in front of others.

2- They prefer not to make eye contact when talking about something personal.

3- They have seen others do so and are modeling their behavior.

4- They have become used to whispering as a mode of communication.

My suggestion would be to reward the times that he does NOT whisper and ignore the others.  

Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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ron.grimes
ron.grimes writes:
I don't feel that LouiseSattler addressed your question. It was not "why do children whisper", but why do they repeat what they just said in a whisper.

I can only speak from my experience of having done the exact same thing as a child. Now, at age 58, and having retrospectively analyzed my own behavior, I believe it was because of several factors:

1) I was socially ostracized in school (because of crossed-eyes) and being asthmatic (and so not being able to play like most kids).
2) I was a loner because of #1 and also because I was raised on a farm 10 miles from the city and so my social interactions were very limited.
3) I was ridiculed daily - both in school and at home.

Because of these factors, I was very self conscious of my appearance, my words - everything.

So, to your question, in my case, I was aware (even in childhood) that I was whispering back to myself what I had just said out loud because I wanted to review the conversation to see if I said it right or I had once again embarrassed myself by saying something stupid.

While I'm not saying your child has anything near my experience, there is still a possibility of him being overly self conscious and not wanting to sound "stupid" to others and suffering ridicule because of his choice of words. I would be asking myself is someone is picking on his choice of words or mocking him so that he is second guessing what comes out of his mouth?
54 days ago

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