Appropriate Interruptions

appropriate_interruptionsHave 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.

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12 thoughts on “Appropriate Interruptions

  1. Alas, part of my ADD means interrupting or I will forget. i apologize and talk openly about this issue and am blessed with dear friends who understand and are kind about it. I do like the idea the previous commenter suggested. There needs to be a fine line of letting children know we are there for them and never reverting to the old style of children should be seen and not heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this post. And it’s so true. We work on this in our classroom on a daily basis- the students know that if they need to share something with their teachers or with each other, they must wait if they are in the middle of a conversation. It’s a work in progress, but I believe that it’s a skill that should be learned early. They also know that if it’s an emergency, then they are free to interrupt the conversation. I’ve tried to have conversations with other adults where their children just have no sense of this and make it impossible to share information. As an adult, I believe they will struggle as it comes across as rude and inconsiderate of others. We also do the gentle touch on the arm to get your teachers attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Appropriate Interruptions – Hand in Hand Montessori Ltd.

  4. Great post. My daughter is incredibly polite, ESPECIALLY when it comes to interruptions, but my son is high functioning autistic, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s something we’ll ever be able to overcome. He doesn’t mean anything by it, he just lacks the ability to filter social cues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would hope people would be accommodating in situations where special needs should be considered. Such circumstances are completely understandable!

      From an outside perspective, for those of us who are ignorant of those with special needs, it is also understandable that we might initially misjudge these situations. However, this should not prevent us from responding with love.

      Patience, understanding, and grace is always recommended; no matter the situation. Even towards parents of children without special needs, we caution against quick judgement. Every child is in the process of learning, and should be given the opportunity to grow.

      Thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good thoughts here. Too often even we adults don’t think twice about interrupting when someone is speaking. I’ve done this myself, but like you, have consciously worked on breaking that bad habit. When I realized that I was really only being inconsiderate, I felt awful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m guilty of this and am acutely aware of it every time I do it. It’s one of the things I like least about myself. There have been a few occasions where I literally clamped my hand on my mouth to stop myself! It’s a hard impulse to control when you’re a talkative person.

    Though I have improved over the years on avoiding interrupting, there are still a few times when I do, which make me so frustrated with myself. I feel like it’s such a rude thing to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’re with you. There are times I bite my tongue and remind myself I don’t always need to respond.

      Conversation is as much about listening as communicating. I tend to speak for the wrong reasons – not wanting the person to feel I’m not participating, or feeling the need to help. With God’s grace, I am trying to learn just listening is an appropriate response and not to offer help until asked.

      It can be frustrating at times. I’m finding more and more – as I learn to listen – that few people really WANT to listen in return. I somehow, mistakingly, thought if I asked people how they were doing and truly listened, they would ask in return and actually care. This is not true, generally. Nor do people always want an honest answer. Sometimes they merely wish the pat, “I’m doing fine. How are you?” So I learn to be the listener and wait upon the Lord.

      God is an awesome listener. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well said and so true.

        I guess lending your ear is just like lending anything else. 🙂 “And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.” (Luke 6:34) We are all weak and selfish to a degree and often don’t listen to others like we should. A true friend who listens to you and returns the love you give them is a precious blessing.

        Liked by 1 person

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