Nov 3
Parenting Paragraph – My Kids Keep Interrupting Me!

Q. I have a 5 and 7 year old who are constantly interrupting me when I’m having a conversation with another adult; it drives me crazy, what can I do?

A. Great question! Most parents attempt to address the issue when it’s happening, which has a short-term impact or no effect at all.  Parents also tend to focus on what they don’t want (interrupting) instead of what they do want (to teach kids to be patient AND be good listeners themselves). When we focus on the result – being patient and good listeners – it is easier to turn the situation into a teaching moment.

The best time to introduce the concept is during dinner conversation. When a child interrupts, stop them and ask them to wait until the other person finishes, and always ask the person who is speaking if they are done, and then be sure to come back to the child interrupting to signal it is their turn to talk. After they have finished, ask them how it felt to be heard. Then go back to the person who was interrupted and ask how it felt to be interrupted. For chronic interrupters, role play by having them tell you a story while you interrupt them throughout. It’s important they understand what it is like to be on the other end of not being heard. Then ask everyone at the table (adults included) what is important about being heard? What is important about being patient while someone else is speaking? What is important about being a good listener? Then bring the dinner table example into the real world by sharing how it feels when you are speaking to an adult and they interrupt.

Since small children are often impulsive, even the most well-intended child will interrupt once in a while. Address it before it happens by creating a “pattern interrupt” everyone agrees will be the signal for an interrupter to wait. It could be a hand gesture, a gentle tap on the head, or a tug on your ear to signal you are being a good listener for someone else. Remember to bring it back to the real outcome you want to teach your child – being patient and a good listener feels good for everyone.

laughing Laura Treonze, serves as Chief Life Strategist with LMT Consulting, which helps executives and teams create massive success through self-awareness. Her life-changing approach has transformed individuals and families and has redefined the way non-profits and corporations “do” business.