“Irregardless” and Other Non-Words

Did you cringe when you read the title of this post? Me too. I cringed writing it.

“Irregardless” is not a word, yet, you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t know this. People who are parents. People who have kids. People who are passing on their words, their language and the respect (or lack thereof) for both. Accordingly, we’re seeing a growing number of children who neither practice nor care about using language correctly, let alone spelling.

There seems to be a trend towards the vernacular - and then some. I’m all for using slang, colloquialisms and more - where appropriate. I’m even okay with my kids doing the same, as long as they know the proper words or terms as well. Unfortunately, they often don’t, resulting in a growing number of children who are unable to distinguish right from wrong, at least where spelling and language are involved.

What is alarming is the fact that we have collectively embraced the incorrect spellings, the non-words and the phrases that don’t follow grammar rules and have happily allowed our children to follow suit. Text messaging has added to this problem with a whole generation of kids believing that IMHO, SMH, BRB and TTYL are sufficient ways of conveying their thoughts. They may indeed be, if the method of communication is a cellphone; otherwise these word abbreviations just don’t cut it.

We are raising a generation that is increasingly growing to disregard language and the importance of clear expression. Texting, “tweeting” and updating Facebook with the latest acronyms and word shortcuts may be alright to one’s peer group, but try using this same tactic with a potential or current employer. Unless they’re equally versed and comfortable in using this same sort of communication, it likely won’t wash.

Unfortunately, children and young adults think that they’re able to handle any situation with which they’re presented, and will always prevail. This, as we know as parents, is not generally the case. Their lack of foresight has landed more than one sorry child or young adult in a less than ideal situation.

“We are raising a generation that is increasingly growing to disregard language and the importance of clear expression.”

As much as we may be irritated with “irregardless” and similar non-words, we as parents must take some responsibility with our kids’ spelling and grammar (or lack thereof). As long as we perpetuate and go along with their poor communication choices and truncated words, we are just as responsible for our children’s failures as they relate to these areas. In other words, when our children fail to make the grade (literally and figuratively) and are denied entry into college, university or their dream job due to their poor spelling and grammar choices, we too are culpable.

Charity begins at home and the buck stops there as well. We as parents are our kids’ best examples for success - or failure - so let’s do our part to assure that they achieve success and not the alternative. After all, if we don’t set an example for our children, who will?

Do you enforce correct spelling and grammar in your home, with your kids? Why or why not?

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