Interrupting: 6 Ways to Get Your Child to Stop

2 Final Tips to Consider

1. Teach your kids to respect each other. Pause for a moment and observe your kids. Do they interrupt each other? If so, make a family policy that interrupting is not allowed. Young kids can learn to say to each other, "You're interrupting. Please wait until I finish talking." You'll be amazed at how easy it is to solve this problem once you've tuned in to it.

2. Be realistic. Don't expect your kids to be patient forever. Make certain your expectations are realistic before reprimanding your child for wanting your attention.

6 Do's and Don'ts for Handling Your Child's Interruptions

You have a pile of phone calls to make to potential clients, and your baby-sitter just called in sick. While you're returning the first call, your daughter is tugging on your sleeve: "Mommy, Mommy!" You whisper, "Ssshhh!" You're worried you'll lose potential clients if she doesn't pipe down. Here are right and wrong ways to handle this typical interrupting scenario:

Don't give your child a warning. "Give me a few minutes of peace and quiet or I'll give you a spanking."

Do tell your kids before you make your calls that you need 15 minutes of work time. Give them a new video to watch that you've stashed away for a moment like this.

Don't ignore your child and hope she'll pipe down.

Do use a portable phone, take your child by the hand, and walk her out of the room.

Don't put your client on hold while you yell at your daughter to stop barging in. "Get out and don't interrupt me again!"

Do let your child know you're going to be finished in a minute. "As soon as I finish this call, I'll listen to what you have to say."

How we react to interruptions will determine whether they continue. Ask yourself, "Am I enabling interrupting? How am I currently dealing with interruptions? Is it working?" Teaching your kids to take turns, and nurturing a respect for others, especially siblings, will not only benefit your child but will make family life more peaceful.

From the book The Parent's Problem Solver (Three Rivers Press, 2002) by Cathryn Tobin, M.D.

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