C.B. asks from San Pablo, CA on June 18, 2008
My Six Year Old Constantly Interupts
I am raising my six year old granddaughter. She is a beautiful child and my husband and I are very happy to have her in our home. She does, however, lack some manners which I am working on. She constantly interupts when I'm talking to someone or they are talking to me. She could have nothing at all to say to me until I start to talk to someone else or someone begins to talk to me. Then she must immediately tell me something even if it's something like "Grandma, the sun is out today." My question is this. When someone is talking to me and she runs up and interupts, how do I handle the immediate situation? Do I divert my attention from whoever is talking to me to tell her not to interupt or do I just let her try to interupt and not pay any attention and hope the person speaking to me continues with the conversation. My thought is to just reach out and not forcefully but to put my hand over her mouth without even looking at her and then later have a discussion with her about it. What do you think? Any advice would be appreciated!
1 mom found this helpful
J.S. answers from Stockton on June 19, 2008
My kids have been known to do this as well. I usually just hold my hand up and say "Wait" and they know then that they can talk when I am finished. This usually works now, although at first I usually had to do it 2-3 times to get them to realize they really had to wait. (I have an 8 year old with autism and ADHD that this also works with)
J.D. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2008
when my daughter was in preschool they taught her to put her hand on the arm of the person she wanted to talk to, so someone knew that she had something to say. When she does that I then put my hand on hers so she knows that I know she wants to say something but not until the other person is done talking will I responed to her. Hope this is helpful.
C.Z. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2008
I think that you should bring it to her attention every time that she interupts you with out using manors. If you ignore her, she will think that it's ok and she will continue to do it. Also you might want to remind her about appropraite times to talk to you / any one and when not to.
Have a great day
M.C. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2008
When alone with her, teach her how to interrupt. "I would like to show you how to interrupt", and model it.
I taught my children to place one hand on my arm or my leg to interrupt (without patting, or making noise). Then I gently place my hand over their hand to acknowledge their need. And they wait. Because I placed my hand on theirs in acknowledgement, they knew I was waiting for a natural pause in my conversation before I addressed their interruption. But be sure to make waiting an appropriate amount of time.
In the beginning, if the child forgets to use their hand - politely excuse yourself from your friend by saying "Excuse me, we are learning how to interrupt - one moment so I can remind my grand-daughter". Say, "Honey, do remember how to interrupt?" "What do you need?" "Next time, use your hand please". "Thank you".
Patience and consistency will prevail.
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T.C. answers from Fresno on June 19, 2008
My son did the same thing. I asked my professor (a trained Marriage and Family Therapist) what to do. He suggested using a visual cue to deter interruptions. He said whenever my son begins to interrupt I should play "traffic cop" by holding my hand up to indicate I want him to stop speaking. I then continue my conversation (while still holding up my hand). When I am done I put my hand down and signal that he can proceed. The key is not to say anything. Speaking only reinforces the behavior because it allows the child to command your attention. I was skeptical at first, but it works pretty well.
One last thing...don't forget to compliment you granddaughter on her patience when she waits her turn.
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T.L. answers from San Francisco on June 18, 2008
My kids do the same thing. I practice with them. This works for many things, being on the phone, typing at the computer or in a conversation. If she sees that you are "busy" but wants your attention then she needs to quietly walk up and place her hand on you so that you know she desires to talk to you. They always get impatient. Start with a short time to wait to make eye contact and discuss things. Always say thank you when they actually do it. Hope this helps.
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A.S. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2008
In order to model politeness and respect to children, you need to give them the same. At her age, she simply needs to be reminded that interrupting is not appropriate. BUT it needs to be done in a polite and respectful manner, otherwise, she will learn from what you do, not what you say. The book Positive Discipline for Preschoolers advises that you NOT interrupt the person interrupting you. That simply shows that you can also be rude. The best thing to do is to address her AS YOU WOULD like to be addressed if you had inadvertently interrupted someone. Just stop your conversation and say to her, "wait one moment. Let me finish my conversation and then we can talk." Then find an appropriate break in your conversation (not too long after she has started waiting) and then turn your attention to her. If you do something like put your hand over her mouth (God forbid), it teaches her that that is okay to do to others, possibly schoolmates or younger children and that is NOT okay! That is rude and abusive. I am sure you would not like that if your husband treated you in that manner. The same goes for your granddaughter. Also, please do not interrupt her with her friends, as someone suggested. This only models rude behavior and does NOT teach her that it is unacceptable behavior. No one should be exhibiting unacceptable behavior, least of all, the adults! Some good parenting books are Playful Parenting and Between Parent and Child. Check them out if you have time. Good luck!
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S.B. answers from Redding on June 19, 2008
First of all, I'd like to say that I think it's wonderful thing you are doing...raising your granddaughter. And, also, be so aware of wanting her to have manners. It seems to me that so many parents these days don't see the importance of children knowing how to behave or be polite and I think it's a shame. I was "southern raised". We said Yes mam, No mam, Yes sir, no sir. We called people, unless they were relatives, by their last names, Mr./Mrs. Jones. If we were more familiar, we called women Miss Peggy (Or whatever her firt name was). My parents were not tyrants, by any means, but my sister and I were raised to act like little ladies. Oh, we climbed trees, went fishing/camping, rode bikes, got filthy dirty, but we still had to say please and thank you. Interrupting was a SERIOUS pet peeve for my parents. If we interrupted, somebody BETTER be bleeding. My dad taught us, from the time we were very little, that if they were on the phone or talking and we needed something, we could approach and gently tug on a sleeve. Two tugs. If they did not acknowledge us right away, we went back to what we were doing or went to another room, knowing full well that in a few minutes, they would either call for us or come to find out what we wanted or needed. We didn't stand and hover or tug, tug, tug. The tug was our silent signal and they never failed to let us have our time to say what it was we wanted to say. Somehow we just knew that if what we wanted was something like, "Can we play in the front yard instead of the backyard, or can we have some watermelon", we would live the 5 or 10 minutes until we got the answer. If someone was hurt or it was SUPER important, we would still
tug and say, "Excuse me for interrupting...."
I think it sounds like your granddaughter is wanting attention and to be part of the conversation. But you are right to let her know that interrupting to let you know the sun is out is not appropriate. It's not wrong for her to notice that, or even be happy about it. But when other people are talking is not the time to bring it up.
My friend's son, who is 11, was never an interrupter but started it all the sudden. "I found a rock outside. I had pancakes for breakfast". They invited people over and instead of playing with the kids, he was in the family room tumbling and rolling around the floor in front of everyone. Of course, he is a little older, but she just started calling him on it. In front of everyone. She would say, "People are talking and you are interrupting. You know that it's rude, and you are still doing it. Would you like to say you're sorry and go outside to play with the other kids, or would you like to go to your room alone while everyone is here?" He always chose to go play.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with engaging children in conversation. That is how they learn to converse.
Try practicing with you and your husband. Maybe have a trusted neighbor or friend come to visit and if she interrupts, call her on it. If someone asks her how her day is or what she had for lunch, let her say, and then ask her to excuse herself while you continue your visit. Like I said, my friend's kid thought everytime adults came over, it was "The Logan Show".
Just talk to your little girl. Let her know that you love her and talking to someone else does not mean you forget she's there. Everyone loves her and knows she's there. She does not need to interrupt. Try the tugging thing. It worked for me and my sister and our kids. She'll get settled in and I really wish you all the best of luck with her. My hat is off to you!
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S.L. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2008
I get the same thing from my six-year-old. We tried infusing some humor. When she interrupted, I said to the person I was talking to "excuse me, but there must be a fire or intruder in the house." I then turned to DD and said "Okay honey, where's the fire?" Of course, she admitted that there was no fire, then that there was no intruder. And her sister was fine. "Surely you understand that those are the only reasons to interrupt an adult conversation? I'd be happy to hear what you have to say when the adults are finished talking. If you're afraid you'll forget what it was, then draw Mommy a picture." It took a few repeats of the scenario, but I can now talk to another adult without quite so many interruptions.
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C.C. answers from Fresno on June 19, 2008
Good for you that you are not only raising your granddaughter, but raising her with manners! =)
My suggestion is to discuss with her ahead of time that she is not to interrupt grown-ups unless there is a major emergency (house on fire, someone bleeding profusely). Then tell her what to do to signal that she would like to tell you something. My daughter comes to stand next to me, right at my elbow. Then tell her she needs to wait until you look right at her in order to speak. If she forgets and interrupts you, tell her that you will put your hand on her mouth (or put your finger in the air, or some other signal you both agree on) to remind her.
Then, do it every time. My 5 year old was especially incorrigible at first. I mean, I would be talking on the phone and she'd be standing there getting louder and louder at me. I'll be honest, there were a few times she had a spanking and a serious talking to about it after my phone conversation, but I am pretty adamant about not interrupting my conversation to correct her verbally, because that just teaches her that if she's super obnoxious, she will get results. Not the message I wanted to send her! In any case it did take several weeks of near-constant correction for her to get it right, but she is better now. She still forgets sometimes but when I put my finger in the air, she shuts up. Mission accomplished. Now if I could just get my 3 year old to do the same...
R.V. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2008
My advice is the same way Traci L explained. We role played it with our kids so they could see how it would work. Come to think of it I think they need a refresher course. Best wishes, R. . I wanted to mention that when they put their hand on my shoulder or arm I touch their hand so they know I am aware of them.