Mommy, Mommy, Mommy….
Have you ever had your child tug at your shirt and poke at you incessantly while you’re trying to have an adult conversation?
One of our KidzEdge readers asks this question:
“My son, age 9, has a terrible habit of inserting himself in my conversations with other adults… How can I help him break this annoying habit?” Let’s hear what you and our Experts have to say…
Kevin Spencer This is an excellent question. In order to “break” or change this behavior, you first need to determine the reason for it. What does your son gain from inserting himself – acceptance, attention, control? Once you know the why, you can find appropriate ways to change the behavior.
Julia Lee Simens It is important to get the message across that it is your time, your friend, but not nagging your child. Say “In our family we value connecting with other people. She is my friend and I can’t connect with her if you continue to add yourself to our conversation.” Then point out when he has an interaction with a peer and you didn’t join his conversation, “Just now you were connecting with your friend. Since our family values this, I didn’t add anything to your conversation. I let it be special for the two of you.” Lead by example but explain to your child what you are doing.
Deb Moberly Our recommendations sound so easy, yet I believe more difficult to do in the ‘moment’. I would start with a family member who you have ‘let in’ on the habit you want to diminish with your son. When he gains awupting areness of his interrupting with Dad, his sister or Gramma, then move on to a friend. Changing this habit will mean stopping all conversation, discussing again the problem. One strategy might be to eventually giving your son a physical signal that he is beginning to interrupt. Hope this helps.
Laura Huber I think it’s wonderful that your son wants to interact with adults. Make sure he knows that what he has to say is very important, but that it is impolite to interrupt people when they are speaking. It might take him a while, so be patient. Never make him feel like he’s not as important as adults, but make sure he is being respectful.
Anna Craig Migeon I agree with Jeff. You might need to do some problem solving with your son if instruction doesn’t take care of it. Sit down with him and explore his viewpoint, show you understand what he wants, then share your concerns and what you want. Then work together to find a solution to the problem that both can live with. I used to tell my kids to not interrupt but just put their hand on my arm if I was talking to another adult, until I acknowledged them. I do think it’s nice that he wants to join the conversation, but he may need to gain skills.
Toni Hoy One of the best things about homeschooling is that kids have opportunities to engage with people of all ages. My recommendation has to do with using a cue word, like “Chattanooga.” Tell your child ahead of time that this is the cue word to stop speaking and wait for direction from Mom to be invited back into the conversation. Only the two of you will know what the cue word means and it will save embarrassment for both of you!
Sarah MacLaughlin I agree with Kevin that a little diagnostic work is necessary before you engare. You could also use your arms to corral/hug your young one while continuing your adult conversation and then addressing him.
Jeff Klick Children, like most of us adults, like to be heard and included. We do not want to be left out. The good side of your son’s desire is that he wants to interact with adults. In our day, that is not all that normal. I do believe that is healthy though. If it is a rude insertion then your son needs clear instruction as to what is accepted. If what he desires to add is positive, then why not include him. If it is a personal conversation then you will have to train him to walk away from it. The bottom line is training and communicating what your expectations are from your son and helping him to walk them out.
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