Will She Ever Stop Talking?

Listening to kids

SG Buckley
3 min readFeb 24, 2022


Photo by Caroline Daniel of Banksy-inspired street art in Chichester, England. The girl with the balloon is by an anonymous artist. Jamie Scanlon, known as JPS, created the one on the right.

We’re on a long drive. My daughter is strapped into a car seat. She’s maybe 18 months old and babbling nonstop. Jokingly, I say, “Sweetheart, will you ever stop talking?”

Her reply is crystal clear.


Eleven years later and she’s still chattering away. On the way to school and back, through meals, in the bath, and in bed before sleep and you can’t leave the room. There’s always “one more thing”. She talks while brushing her teeth.

She used to jabber away on the back of my bike. The bike was mustard colored with a wicker basket and a bench seat for her. We called the bike Dijon. For years my daughter and I took Dijon to school. I didn’t mind the incessant chatter. Those were magical days. On pretty afternoons, we’d cut through Wimbledon Common, as gold afternoon light sprayed through the old oaks. Sometimes we’d stop to climb a tree.

When my daughter is talking, I confess, I’m not always 100% focused, but I do act like I’m listening and try to absorb most of it. I’m playing the long game.

I want my child to still be talking to me when the stakes are higher. I want her talking to me even when — especially when — she wants nothing to do with me.

I read somewhere that you should always listen to kids, even when they’re little and talking about things that don’t seem important. Little things are big to them. And if you don’t listen to the little things when they’re small they won’t tell you the big things later.

My daughter is 13. The big things are coming.

Listening, though, can be draining. It wasn’t until my extrovert daughter was born that I realized I’m an introvert. I get energy by being alone. I crave quiet.

I’m also partly to blame for the nonstop chatter. For a long time, I was a reporter. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s showing interest in people. That’s how you get people to say interesting things. They’re flattered and keep talking.

But I’m finding 13 to be a tricky age. My daughter says things I don’t always want to hear, like about that awkward kid who drives her nuts and she no longer wants as a friend, or a teacher she hates and jokes about behind…



SG Buckley

Writer, editor, parent. Former staffer at Quartz, WSJ and Inc. magazine.