Ever heard a kid saying something really surprising or unexpected? For example, a four-year-old boy asking a pregnant lady why her tummy is bulged, and when told she’s pregnant and there’s a baby inside, he asks if the lady ate the baby. Or a three-year-old girl saying she never wants to become a wife. It is the silliest thing to hear and yet funny and cute. But why do they make such statements or ask such questions? Here, the boy is trying to make sense of how the baby got inside the lady and the girl doesn’t want to become a wife, maybe because she watches her mother cleaning and cooking the whole time every day and she doesn’t want to do that.
The reason why they tend to say what they think and feel is that most children have confidence and inquisitive nature. Saying the darndest of things and asking questions that might catch you off guard indicates that they are trying to make sense of the world by questioning and pointing out differences they notice. Sometimes they might also say things that they’ve heard someone else say. Like hearing their grandmother saying her knees hurt after walking for a while and she gets to take a rest. Later you might hear the child saying his or her knees hurt while walking. There might be two reasons for them to say so. If they thought it’s the common thing to say when you walk, or they might expect you to let them rest if they say so.
The things children say might sound gibberish to us but they make total sense to the child until we give them another logical explanation. This is the way they experiment and learn. When their statements turn out to be wrong, they are told about the right ones and when they are right, they are right. Children also tend to make out the difference between humorous and normal conversations this way. Gradually, they learn what to say and what not to say in public or to strangers. From experiences, they learn that what they say affects the other person. The darndest things children say are in a way amusing to most of us and for which there is an American comedy series called ‘Kids Say the Darndest Things’ hosted by Tiffany Haddish where a number of kids are invited on the show and are asked general questions for which they say anything that comes to their mind.
- Vaishnavi Preethi