We instituted a rule when the boys were young: If you want or need something, you need to ask for it directly. No hinting, such as, “I wonder if anyone’s going to the store,” or “I could really use some help.” Note that those are statements, not questions.
As parents, we may learn our kids’ patterns so well that we can anticipate their needs. However, the rest of the world won’t do that. Successful self-advocacy requires clear and specific communication, like, “Could someone please pick up some milk from the store?” or, “I need assistance with this task, can you help me?”
The bottom line, teaching children to communicate their needs and wants directly fosters independence and prepares them for the real world where clear communication is key to building relationships and achieving success.