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Why do some parents do this?

125 replies

Grumblepants · 27/09/2018 21:29

If two adults are having a conversation and a third adult was to interrupt unnecessarily, then this would generally be considered rude.
So why do some parents allow their children to interrupt and pander to it.
I have a few friends that do this and it's really bugging me.
I have been talking to friends about serious issues (and some times just general chit chat) and half way through little Timmy (or whoever) runs up and jumps in with "mummy look at me I can clap my hand" and friend then stops mid conversation to me to say "oh well done darling you are so clever, show me again....blah blah blah" . Meanwhile I'm stood there half way though (recent example) "so yes DS was rushed to hospital at the weekend and I honestly thought we were going to lose him because....oh yes I can wait while Timmy shows us clapping.......!".
Why do this? Just tell the child it's sodding rude to interrupt and to wait while you finish your conversation.
Ok rant over. And yes I get that I should just walk away from the conversation, but I just wondered if maybe some people don't actually realise they are doing it.
Aibu in getting really pissed with this or am I missing the other persons side to this?

OP posts:

PoxAlert · 27/09/2018 21:57

"Because they’re really young and they can often be satisfied with a short exchange and then go off again which is easier than expecting them to wait for ages while the adults finish talking which can go on for hours."


My DD is 5 and so it's much easier to just go "oh yes what a lovely wood louse" and back o my conversation than make her feel bad.

We are starting with the "please wait until I've finished talking" now though as she's starting to seem capable of doing so.

I'll teach her the hand thing soon I think.


LongDivision · 27/09/2018 22:00

Agree that it is just a fact of life with small children and sometimes it's better to get it over with ("oh that's a lovely clap, dear') than have your child standing there, staring at you, waiting to speak. Also I feel quite anxious when there are two people trying to get my attention at once, so I'd rather just quickly attend to the child so that I can relax again. Oh, and sometimes you don't want the child to listen to the adult conversation for whatever reason, so it makes sense to attend to them so that they wander back out of earshot.


codenameduchess · 27/09/2018 22:01

Permit the interruption??

Good luck when your ds is a little older! If I ignored my 3 yo she'd loose her shit, she doesn't care what conversation I'm having if she needs to tell me something it's happening. Young children see the world so differently from us they generally don't have the understanding to wait until you've finished your chat. Usually a 'sorry, give me a second' so I can deal with whatever and then return to the conversation and it's fine because other adults don't tend to demand undivided attention. Sometimes she needs a wee right there and if made to wait there'd be an accident, or another kid has upset/hurt her or sometimes she just really needs to tell me she did something new and it's a big deal because she's 3...

Obviously I'm talking about very young kids only here, and assuming you're talking about a little one with the clapping comments.


LisaSimpsonsbff · 27/09/2018 22:05

To be fair, having read your OP again the other person seems to have actively prolonged the exchange with their child ('show us again'), which I do think is off. But expecting them not to acknowledge the child at all until your conversation is over is unreasonable.


user789653241 · 27/09/2018 22:06

When they are young, no choice sometimes. Once they are older, it's your choice to teach them manners. And I have to admit, I don't like the people who let the child do it when they are old enough.


BirdsAndBlips · 27/09/2018 22:07

I was prepared to come your way for older children like 5+ but the fact that your DS is only 2 makes me angry.
He is NOT capable of understanding time, interruption or reading the situation. What you are doing is frightening him into behaving against his brain.
YAB massively U
Get a grip, read up on neuropsychology like Siegel's whole brain child and drop your 70's logic.


Enko · 27/09/2018 22:11

Good luck when your ds is a little older! If I ignored my 3 yo she'd loose her shit, she doesn't care what conversation I'm having if she needs to tell me something it's happening.

I have 4 teenagers and if they had lost it over something like that I would not have taken to it kindly. Mine knew at age 3 that they could not get the attention straight up.. they do not have a long attention span at that age no but they knew to wait if I held my hand up.


allthegoodusernameshavegone · 27/09/2018 22:12

This drives me nuts too op and the friend that discusses with her teen dd what she’s wearing out or similar,whilst I’m on the phone to hear, I often hang up.


Racecardriver · 27/09/2018 22:14

I think it depends on the age of the child. My four year old I ask not to interupt but address his statement immediately afterwards. He is always contrite immediately and can't seem to manage to wait until the end of the conversation.


stayathomer · 27/09/2018 22:14

Sometimes as said above, it's easier to agree and have them run off. The other thing is I hate when you're spea to someone and your child interrupts and the other adult says 'excuse me, me and your mom are speaking'or something to that effect. Puts me off the person


noworklifebalance · 27/09/2018 22:19

To be fair to young kids, adult conversations do go on for a long time and flit from one subject to the next without an apparent break. I say this as someone who has been irritated by my own kids interrupting only to realise that they probably couldn't get a word in edgeways when friends and I have chatting(!).


Prestonsflowers · 27/09/2018 22:21

Read the op properly
Op is not talking about her 2 year old


Sleepyblueocean · 27/09/2018 22:22

My son has severe asd so I always respond to any interaction he makes - he is actually being taught to interrupt. I don't usually have conversations with adults when he is around as I cannot give them proper attention.


Fragolino · 27/09/2018 22:27

I had mummy friend who did this. I stopped seeing her in the end because there was no conversations between us!
You were forced to engage in shallow light chit chat. Maybe that's why she let her dd do it.

Of course little dc don't know but just sometimes to make them wait won't harm anyone!


Thelastredwinegum · 27/09/2018 22:27

Was anyone else told "don't speak unless you're spoken to" by their parents if they had company?
Haven't heard it for years.


LisaSimpsonsbff · 27/09/2018 22:33

Was anyone else told "don't speak unless you're spoken to" by their parents if they had company?
Haven't heard it for years.

I think it's probably good that that's fallen from favour - it's pretty unpleasant. And I don't see how it really teaches children about adult rules of interaction, since that isn't how adults interact.


Nacreous · 27/09/2018 22:36

I still remember as a child getting told off for interrupting. I also remember I used to stand there for what seemed to me like forever and listen really hard for a break in conversation and just not be able to hear one. (Sometimes I still get it wrong as an adult, which is, I suspect, why the memories have stayed with me so clearly.)


Dieu · 27/09/2018 22:38



LisaSimpsonsbff · 27/09/2018 22:39

Sometimes I still get it wrong as an adult, which is, I suspect, why the memories have stayed with me so clearly

Waitressing taught me that unless people actively help you out by pausing when they see you waiting, it is really hard to deliver a message/ask a question of two people having a conversation without accidentally talking over one of them.


Thecountryhasgonecrazy · 27/09/2018 22:42

My friend has always given her children attention when they interrupt. They are now 6, 11 and 13 and always interrupt conversations and expect to get a response. Drives me crackers. YANBU.


SixFeetUnder · 27/09/2018 22:42

@hersymphonyandsong I taught both my children the hand thing, we did it on the wrist, with varying degrees of success. My eldest still does this now at age 11 and waits patiently for my attention which I give him at the very first opportunity. My other son, at age 10, has never got this and blunders in whenever he feels the need Grin I think it very much depends on the temperament of the child whether this will work for them (and you!). But I would definitely recommend giving it a try as my eldest just got it and it worked brilliantly.


Bananasinpyjamas11 · 27/09/2018 22:46

Because children are not able to wait or regulate themselves like adults can. Also, they cannot just be ignored, they need minding which includes responding to them, observing and supervising.

Having said that, some parents totally drop you mid sentence and don’t then encourage their child to go back to play, and aren’t interested in picking up the conversation with you, not because they are rude, they are just really more into their kids.


QuantumGroan · 27/09/2018 22:50

Sil does this with her 13 year old and then she wonders why dh and I don't enjoy her company.
I told 13 year old dcs not to interrupt when I was having a chat with Mil and Mil told me to not be so harsh and let the teachers teach them not to interrupt! Hmm Any secondary teachers here feel that's their job?


Skittlesandbeer · 27/09/2018 22:54

I read about and implemented the technique HerSymphony is talking about at about 4 years old. Took ages, but so glad now (at 7) that I put the effort in back then.

DD puts her hand on my shoulder (if I’m sitting) or my thigh if I’m standing talking to someone (or on the phone). She knows that she either waits until a natural break in the conversation (when I will acknowledge it’s her turn) or can decide it’s not worth the wait and run off. It’s taught her to pause and think about what she wants to say, which is great. She’s otherwise a very chatty, interrupty, extrovert with a high degree of FOMO!

We have loads of childless friends who were getting a bit Hmm about me never being able to focus on a sentence without DD ‘needing’ something. It was understandable up to 3-4yo, cos in my view kids barely recognise mum as a person seperate to themselves, but from that age it’s very doable for them to learn to wait.

It does take a concerted effort over a few months to teach and reinforce it, and I guess lots of parents can’t be faffed. I always took the view that it was ultimately more sustained effort and frustration NOT to teach it. And as a side-note, I have seen it abused. My step-father started using the technique to ignore DD (ie just leaving her hand there and enjoying the silence). He got told pretty quickly it was not a ‘seen but not heard’ technique! The kid is allowed to have needs & wants, even if adults deem them trivial.


Saltedcaramelcake · 27/09/2018 23:01

Ahh yes you are one of the mums that sits in the play centre deeply engrossed in conversation with the other mums completely oblivious to your children running wild and causing havoc. So long as they aren't interrupting your serious conversation, it's ok Hmm. I see this a lot, the kid goes back to the mum and they are shooed away like an inconvenience.

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