Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation, only to have one of your children run up to you and start speaking? Or perhaps you were speaking with someone and they interrupted to interject? I know I have found myself, and my children, guilty on both counts. It annoys and bothers me, so I am making a point of getting a handle on it.
I wonder if the root of the problem is lack of self-awareness, self-absorption, or both? In one circumstance, not taking note of the situation and presuming it is okay to speak. In the other, thinking what we have to say is more important.
The argument could be made that interrupting is necessary in order to make your point before it is forgotten. I confess, I can’t really argue with that. For most of us though, the problem isn’t that we would forget, but rather we simply don’t wish to wait.
I wonder if our need to interrupt offends or hurts the feelings of the person we are speaking with. I know, for myself, this has been the case on a few occasions. I have thoughtlessly allowed my children to interrupt and made the other person feel disrespected. I have interrupted someone else, making them feel unheard and unimportant.
While interruptions may have their place and time, I believe they should generally be avoided. In order to prevent myself, or my children, from developing this habit, some guidelines are put into practice.
When interrupting someone else’s conversation:
- Wait until the person who is speaking has finished their thought process or taken a pause.
- Say excuse me before interrupting a private conversation.
- Wait to be addressed before speaking.
- Speak quickly and to the point, so the conversation may continue.
When interrupting while part of a conversation:
- Think before you speak, making sure the comment actually needs to be made.
- If possible, wait until the speaker finishes a thought or expects a response.
- When finished with your thought, remind the person of what they were saying so they can continue.
There is no fool-proof way to stop yourself from interrupting, nor are there strict guidelines about when you should interrupt. I do think we should make an attempt at controlling the issue though.
I want my children to learn the importance of letting other people speak, the respect which should be shown to those who are speaking, and the art of conversation. The lesson needs to start with me, by example. If I want my children to be aware of this social grace, I need to be modeling it myself.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
~ Philippians 2:3
📢 Chime In!: Do your children have a problem with interrupting? Share your guidelines to ensure interruptions are kept to a minimum.