Should You let Your Children Interrupt Your Conversations? This is a guest post from parenting instructor Kate.
It’s so annoying when you’re trying to talk and your kid comes up to you and just HAS to tell you about the most unimportant and irrelevant thing! Ugh!
What do you do? How do you handle the situation? Should You let Your Children Interrupt Your Conversations?
I used to tell them that I was busy, talking to somebody else, and they needed to wait. But it never worked. Think about it. Who has the better capacity to wait and be patient? An adult? Or a child? Is your child’s interruption really as important as your adult conversation?
How long does it really take to acknowledge a child when they want to tell you something? A second or two? “Oh yes, I see!” or “Oh, that’s so cool!” And, then it’s over and they continue with whatever they’re doing. Then, you can continue with your adult conversation. Finished. Done.
When you ask your kids to wait, it’s in the back of your mind that they want to say something to you and your attention becomes even more divided! It is actually more work to make her wait, than it is to just quickly acknowledge her statement or question and be finished with it.
So, ditch the idea of teaching your children to not interrupt.
Should You let Your Children Interrupt Your Conversations?
A child lives completely in the present moment until they are about 7 years old.
When they have an idea or something to say, they need to say it NOW! They don’t need to say it in 30 seconds from now, or in five minutes from now. Their enthusiasm lives in the present moment and when they need to express that enthusiasm, it needs to happen immediately. There is nothing wrong with that. Sure it’s a little chaotic sometimes, but I’d rather that than to squash their enthusiasm! And, just because you let a child bubble over with joy, talking when they are little, doesn’t mean that the child will never learn how to communicate pleasantly with the people around them. They will learn that skill in due time.
Obviously, the age of the child is significant. My 6 year old can wait a few moments to tell me something if he has to, but NOT my 2 year old!
And, how will a child ever learn to be respectful and to not interrupt?
They will and they already are learning it just by watching the world around them.
If I’m talking to a friend, my husband or especially a friend who has children, I simply let my kids interrupt. I mean, what is it that we’re talking about that’s sooooo important? If I’m actually having an important conversation, then I tell my kids to just hang on a second, and they do!
Interestingly, when I’m talking to a stranger, or someone at a shop or a restaurant, my kids DO NOT interrupt. They just know not to interrupt. Although I haven’t ‘taught‘ them about interrupting, they seem to already know about it. (The phone is different, I think because they are not seeing the interaction, only hearing it from one end). They know that sometimes it’s ok to interrupt and sometimes it’s not. I think because I let them freely interrupt me *most* of the time, they are more aware of the times when I really can’t be interrupted.
And, sometimes everyone in the house comes at me asking questions and saying things at the same time and I just remind them that I cannot hear everyone at once and that they will have to figure out who is going to speak first. They need to figure that out. Natural learning at its finest.
I let my kids interrupt and I encourage their enthusiasm. They are not rude. They are not disobedient. They are enthusiastic and I am an adult, who knows how to wait. If kids learn by watching us, then I’m stoked. Really! They will know how good it feels to have your enthusiasm valued. They will know that I think what they have to say is important, no matter how ‘unimportant‘ or ‘untimely‘ it may seem to anybody else. And, one day, when they have something really important to interrupt about, I hope they won’t be scared to do it.
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