I am guilty. So very guilty of always interrupting people — friends, my husband and even my children. I am not sure what it is in my nature that makes me do it, but I am constantly interrupting people to insert what I want to say. I don’t do it to be mean and I surely don’t do it because I am vain or feel that what I have to say is more important. However, that is likely how it comes of to them.
For me, I truly believe that I do it because I am always on ten-speed. My personality and behavior is that of a go-go-go person. My body is always moving and I can’t sit still. The same goes for my mind — it is always going a million miles a minute and thinking of so many things. When I interrupt, I believe that it happens because something someone has said has triggered a thought for me and I need to get it out, because my next thought is coming through, right behind it, whether you or I like it or not. So…think of it as me trying to create more room in my brain. Ha. At least that is what I tell myself. Are any of you like me?
But…you know what is so hypocritical of me? I get so frustrated with my children for interrupting me. How dare they! How dare those little mimicking monkeys repeat what they see and hear me do daily!
This is definitely a predicament I have myself in here. I myself am an interrupter and have raised mini-interrupters who frustrate me when they interrupt me. This is not good…but, I am going to fix this.
Okay, so lets start with why people interrupt. Adults and children interrupt for a myriad reasons.
Here are some reasons adults might interrupt:
— They are so eager for connection.
— They are pushing their opinion/agenda.
— They are interrupting because it’s how they process and interpret information.
— They are excited to show they are on the same wavelength as you.
— They are in a rush and need to speed up the communication process.
— They believe your pause/break in speaking is an invitation for them to talk.
— They listen with the intent to reply, as opposed to the intent to understand.
Here are some reasons a child might interrupt:
— Children forget that other people have needs and typically place their own needs higher on the priority list.
— Children are high-energy and have a hard time slowing down and/or accepting your pauses.
— A child from a talkative family may simply be modeling you, if she/he often hears you and your spouse interrupting and finishing each other’s sentences.
— Children have a hard time holding on to their thoughts, hence their desire to speak and get rid of the thought before they lose it.
— At certain ages, children simply don’t have the reasoning to understand what interrupting is, why it is not appropriate and the right time and way to do it.
— It may be completely involuntary for a child depending upon their age and their stage of development.
— They may be seeking attention.
— They may simply lack patience.
Regardless of what is driving you to interrupt people, your children included, it is behavior that needs to stop. It needs to stop amongst adults and is most definitely a behavior that needs to be worked on with the children that engage it. The fact is, that when you interrupt people, you stop listening, and people don’t like that, because they want to be heard.
Let’s all work harder on truly listening more. Let’s listen to each other and lets listen to our children. Let us model for them a communication style marked with respect and active listening, as doing such will ensure that, both us and our children, have the ability to make and retain, via conversation, strong and positive connections with others.