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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:

EricTheGuineaPig · 27/09/2018 23:03

Thing is, if we use the excuse of 'they're just kids, they don't understand not to interrupt', how will they ever learn not to do it? I'm not cross when my younger child interrupts me. I totally get that she isn't being deliberately rude, but I still stop her, point out I'm talking and tell her to wait. Yes, she used to get agitated when she was littler, now she waits patiently, the next step in the learning process will be for her to remember first time not to interrupt. Hopefully.

We always start teaching kids to do stuff before they are actually able don't we?! Modelling please and thank you before they can say the words, stopping them from snatching when they are just teeny toddlers etc etc


BretonStripe · 27/09/2018 23:04

I feel your pain OP. Can't stand it. I've been in exaftl your position before and it's infuriating. Makes you feel unimportant and boring.

I think it depends on the child, their age and temperament...and the parenting style. A couple of my friends do attachment parenting and always let their kids interrupt and put them first. Other friends, like me, are a bit more firm and tell the child it's rude to interrupt when someone is having an important conversation.


batshitbetty · 27/09/2018 23:06

It's different with little kids as they don't know better, but once they get to the point where they understand (eg the examples of teens given in this thread) that it's rude to interrupt then I get annoyed. Not with the kids, but with the parents who are setting them up to fail by not teaching them life lessons that they need to function in the real world.....


Amanduh · 27/09/2018 23:09

I agree children need to learn manners. However, if you’re sitting yapping with your mates and your 3yo is trying to tell you they’ve hurt themselves/they’re proud of something/their brother has run out of the park gates (happened to people in the park today) then no. Little children don’t understand. You can interrupt yourselves for a minute. If your deep talks are so important, don’t do it at soft play/toddler group/the park. Or the mums on their phones on the bus on instagram or whatever whilst their kids ask them questions and chat and get ignored.


MatildaTheCat · 27/09/2018 23:22

I hear you OP. Some parents don’t teach their dc the importance of waiting their turn or simply not interrupting a conversation. This doesn’t mean they are ignored, it means that the entire universe doesn’t spin on their every utterance.

Usually when the Dc I know who do this make their interruptions they can’t actually think of anything to say at all.

There is a balance of having time spent chatting with the dc and listening to them but equally they need to learn that adults like to chat also.


Underpressureidiot · 27/09/2018 23:25

3 year old - I might let them interrupt very quickly but explain that I am talking if it’s anything longer than a couple of seconds. Older than 4 or 5 I would expect them to wait until they are asked to speak again, they definitely understand and it’s very rude to interrupt, they don’t do it to each other weirdly, just adults!


LauderSyme · 27/09/2018 23:32

When children are very small, parents become conditioned to respond promptly to their needs.
I found it really difficult to adjust my reflexive response to immediately react to ds' needs and wants as he grew older, and had to start learning the 'rules' of social interaction.

I remember plenty of playdates with friends when our dc were younger when we didn't actually get to finish a single conversation!


bridgetoc · 27/09/2018 23:34

My kids are not allowed to interrupt on account of it being rude. However, they are not ignored either.


Princess1066 · 27/09/2018 23:38

YANBU at all - what's wrong with teaching children to say "excuse me" if they really need your attention?


maddjess · 27/09/2018 23:39

Mmmm I'm inclined to disagree. When would the conservation end with a friend, doesn't with my friends. Much easier to answer the child then they can get on with playing and we can get on with our conversation


ReanimatedSGB · 27/09/2018 23:51

Maybe some of you should be thinking about why your friends are so quick to respond to their DC and so slow to return to the topic of conversation with you. Could it be because you are monologuing about your life and at least the DC offer a two-way conversation...


Bimkom · 28/09/2018 00:51

I am going to be flamed here, but I think that allowing a child of "Timmy's" age to interupt is the right thing to do, and I certainly let them do it at the age when it was a question about "look I can clap my hand". Now that they are teenagers, absolutely I expect them to wait, and not interrupt, but teenagers are very different from young children.
From Timmy's perspective - I am his mother, the only one he has got, the only one who is capable of giving him the reassurance and support he needs to investigate the wide world without fear. My friends, no matter how serious their issues, are adults who can get their support from multiple sources, or if they want it specifically from me, can find me at a time when Timmy is not around. If Timmy comes to me wanting excitedly to show me he can clap, and I tell him to wait, I am effectively telling him a) his achievement is not much of an achievement and/or b) my "grown up" friend is more important than he is. Neither is a message that I want to give.
Timmy will learn not to interupt from interacting with his peers, and with his teachers at school (who come down on that sort of thing like a tonne of bricks). At the point that Timmy starts seeing me more as a friend and advisor, rather than a mother, it is also the time for him to start respecting my boundaries, and not interupting me - and this generally happens once they hit adolescence. They start expecting you not to interrupt them when they are having important social calls, and you need to demand that they to do likewise. Prior to that, I believe that his relationship with his mother is special, and I want him to feel that as well, that he can trust that his mother will be there for him, and will not prioritise her friends over him. Usually it can be done in a very quick way, so as to get back to the conversation, but sometimes it can't (depending on what Timmy's needs are).
I also expect that Timmy at that age will stop his conversations with his friends when I tell him that it is hometime, and not ask me to put my hand on his thigh and wait until he has decided that he is done, or his friend stops talking or playing. I am his mother, and I decide when it is time to go home. I may try and build in warning, but I would be horrified if he turned around to me and said "Mummy you are interupting, wait until there is a break in the conversation", and then went on playing. But I cannot realistically expect him to drop everything and listen to me, if I don't model that behaviour. With my teenagers, I don't expect them to drop everything and listen to me, and I expect them to give me the same courtesy. Likewise, I totally expect my friends to prioritise the needs of their own children over me, when those children are small, and I would be horrified if they did not. My stories, no matter how serious, should not get between a mother and her child, and if I needed serious support from a mother of a small child, I would make sure to seek that support at a time when the child was not around (at nursery, school, after bedtime etc).


Argeles · 28/09/2018 01:17

I can’t stand it either op.

What I really hate is when my family and friends are easily distracted by my children and pander to everything they say or do whilst I’m talking, including about really important things. I don’t allow my children to interrupt others like this, so really hate it. I find it extremely rude, and I think really leads to impatience.


TittyFahLaEtcetera · 28/09/2018 01:40

It really irritates me and I know a few mums who do it.

DS has ASD and possible ADHD/functional memory issues. When he was little if I made him wait for more than a few seconds he would invariably forget what he wanted to say. Sometimes even if he didn't have to wait he'd say, "Mummy... ... Mummy... ... Mummy... ... Oh, I've forgotten."

DM thought she was being helpful by telling him not to worry, if it was important he'd remember it in a minute. But it led to him thinking he had nothing important to say.

If I saw him coming over and a conversation was appropriate to pause, I'd say something like, "Oh here he comes, give me a sec to sort him so I can give you my attention." I'm sure I pissed a few people off, but at least I was honest about it. As he got older we also used hand signals. Unlike other friends kids, he didn't whine or climb all over me when I didn't give him attention right away, and he has friends his age who still do this!

DS can wait now hes 11, but he still forgets what he was saying only seconds ago. I had an excruciating phone call with him this afternoon, he was interrupting himself!!!


AjasLipstick · 28/09/2018 01:49

I don't like it either OP. I REALLY don't like it and my children were taught this early on.

Even a 3 year old can wait.


He11y · 28/09/2018 02:11

I don’t like it either although I do think it’s inportant to follow up in a timely manner if a child is asked to wait a while. Parents who repeatedly promise to speak in a minute and then don’t, which usually ends with an outburst of some kind and a quick exit for all, are just as bad in my opinion.

Just to warn you - indulgent parents don’t improve! A friend’s teenager was stood poking her because she was talking and he wanted her to make him some lunch. Stood there playfully poking her until she said her goodbyes! Now that did make me think WTH! Hmm


spacefighter · 28/09/2018 02:18

A lot of people may not like it but you can't compare a child to an adult! I'd rather know my child is ok and whatever "Sue" was telling me can wait a moment or two, the story isn't going anywhere.


AjasLipstick · 28/09/2018 02:19

Space Where's the line for you? Would you allow an eight year old to interrupt? Ten? Twelve? What's your cut off?


Thelastredwinegum · 28/09/2018 02:24

Lisa I think it's probably good that that's fallen from favour

I agree, I should've added that as an adult I find conversation quite difficult unless it's someone I know pretty well. I can't do chitchat well & wonder if it's because I was expected to sit in silence while the grown-ups talked? Then again that could just be who I am?


Dosmamas · 28/09/2018 02:43

I can't stand this either, my SIL kids do this, and it winds me up. Especially when she is asking me specific questions and I'm trying to explain and I continually get interrupted, it's just like what's the point of asking if you're not going to listen? The thing is, the child is often doing it for attention. Interrupting to show something silly they just did (purely so they could interrupt and say look what I just did) like balancing a bottle on their head or something equally inane. She usually just says "oh wow well done" and go back to the conversation but to me that is just instilling bad manners and an attitude for instant gratification and validation, something that if not corrected is quite damaging later in life because you are raised to expect instant attention and praise for every little thing to say/do. Basically it handballs the responsibility to other people to make you feel good instead of being self sufficient and self satisfied. I might of gone full Dr Phil here but honestly, it really pisses me off (I wasn't allowed to do it, so I get annoyed having to tolerate it from other people/kids)


Grumblepants · 28/09/2018 02:47

Just to clarify a couple of point's, 'Timmy' is 5. Friend asked me to go to her house after the school pick up so I could fill her in on what had happened.
My ds is 2 and I would never ignore him in the park or soft play to have a coffee and chat. That's just ridiculous to assume anyone would let a child of that age just wander off so I could have a catch up.
Obviously if a child is interrupting for an emergency such as needing a wee or child has run out of the park, then this is totally different and should never be ignored.

OP posts:

Onthebrink87 · 28/09/2018 02:58

Risking pissing most people off... does it really upset you that 'Timmy' is more important to his mummy than you are? It's just the 'blah blah blah' comment. Makes you come across as a child stamping their feet.


Thighofrelief · 28/09/2018 03:16

I think it's prissy to make a child stand and wait when they probably only want 10 seconds of attention and the adult could probably go on talking for another 10 minutes without the child being able to gauge the gap in which to speak. I can't stand it if someone says to my child. "mummy and I are talking".


notangelinajolie · 28/09/2018 03:21

As a child, if I did that I would get the stare followed by 'it's rude to interrupt'.

When my children did it - they would get the same same stare and the same comment.

It was a lesson soon learnt.

It's all down to good parenting and manner's. Children only know what they have been taught so the only person to blame are the parents. My cousin visited recently with his 5 year old daughter - she constantly mithered him and it was really difficult for us to have a conversation. I couldn't say anything to him because it wasn't my place but … seriously he is heading for problems.


Grumblepants · 28/09/2018 03:54

Thank you everyone for taking the time to comment. I appreciate hearing both sides of the scenario which was why i posted 'AIBU ?'
I think what bothered me this time was the tone of the conversation my friend invited me to have. If I were talking about what colour to paint my nails, then it would be totally different.

OP posts:
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