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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:

IfNotNowThenWhen1 · 28/09/2018 10:32

Ah come on Dowager don't go there! GrinHaving a single child doesn't make you more precious. I know plenty of v. Previous parents of 2/3 kids.


Yokohamajojo · 28/09/2018 10:34

Wow! I can't believe some of you have actually read the OP and what the conversation was about! Her child was about to die but of course little Timmy should be allowed to interrupt?? Then finding out that he is 5 makes it even worse. I guess he should be allowed to interrupt his teacher as well as little children don't know any better



Zippetydoodahzippetyay · 28/09/2018 10:36

I just told my husband off for this today. I was telling him something when our 3 year old spoke to him and in the middle of my sentence he turned to her and started talking to her. So rude, i was really put out. I've been working on it with her and she now knows to always start with "excuse me mummy" but still isnt always great at waiting.


TheDowagerCuntess · 28/09/2018 10:39

Of course it doesn't, IfNotKnow - but did you see the particular post in question?!


TheColonelAdoresPuffins · 28/09/2018 10:39

I firmly believe that at least one important factor is that their teenagers were told as kids that their conversation was not important
Teaching children basic manners is not in any way the same as telling kids their conversation is not important.


tillytrotter1 · 28/09/2018 10:47

At what age do children learn that Mummy's a person and is entitled to a life? Once our two were about 2 they knew to play while Mummy read for 15-20 minutes or, later, did her OU-ing. Wittering on was not an option.


Hideandgo · 28/09/2018 10:52

Because a small child will keep going and going getting louder and louder, despite the sharp word and look to wait a moment, and the hand on shoulder warning them to stop. But they keep going and going till you can’t concentrate at all anymore and just want to cry. So it’s quicker to quickly respond to whatever rubbish and irrelevant question they have in 5 seconds than to start the whole process that leaves you stressed and upset and embarrassed that you can’t stop your child from going on and on. Then afterwards we have a stern word in private about not interrupting etc etc.

They grow out of it but don’t judge, it’s unbelievingably stressful when your child interrupts, far more than for the other adult there.


Hideandgo · 28/09/2018 10:54

Or worse, when they see you on the phone they start to shout at you and follow you if you try to get away and then bang on the door screaming for you as you try to hide for just a second to finish an important call.


Witchend · 28/09/2018 11:23

There are several reasons why you might stop in a conversation and listen to a child:

  1. What the child is saying is urgent

2. What the child is saying is quick and the conversation you're having is lengthy.
3. It's often quicker to let the child say what they want to say rather than having them hanging on saying "mummy, look...Mummy!"
4. The subject matter you are talking about is either something you don't want the child hearing, or that you want to give full concentration to rather than having half a mind on when you can listen to the child.

My children are older, and have learnt better to judge when it is time to interrupt, and when to wait until later.
However young children very much live in the moment and the piece of news that their plaster came off ten minutes ago can see of vital importance to them at that time.
If you always expect them to stop and wait, then there will be times that they should have told you sooner, and you can't expect them to distinguish between the time that Joshua is about to jump out of the upstairs window in his superhero costume and the time that Penny has locked their musical box and can't get it open.

abacucat · 28/09/2018 11:56

I think a lot of adults really underestimate children.


Oblomov18 · 28/09/2018 12:02

Parenting is different nowadays. Previous generations, the child wouldn't have interrupted.


abacucat · 28/09/2018 12:28

No the child may have tried to interrupt, and been told not to.


InTheNavy · 28/09/2018 12:36

Because they are children and they haven't developed adult levels of impulse control?
Because they are their children and they want to hear what they have to say?
Because you are an adult and should understand they are children with underdeveloped impulse control?
Because they think you will understand that they are trying to guide their child towards better behaviour without having unreasonable expectations?
Because they don't want to tell their child off for not being able to do something beyond their ability?


BretonStripe · 28/09/2018 13:23

I've recently done a parenting course where people shared that when they were little their parents didn't always believe what they said, minimised their feelings, told the child to be quiet a lot. One of those people said she was in an abusive relationship for years when she was a teen, and felt she couldn't talk to her parents because they wouldn't believe her or wouldn't want to know.

Nature/nurture and personality plays a huge part surely?


Dosmamas · 28/09/2018 13:54

@InTheNavy no one is arguing that the child isn't just being a child but at age 5 there should be some evidence of trying to curb the impulsive behaviour, there is no harm in teaching a child to say excuse me, even if they can't wait, at least it shows there was an attempt to teach the polite way of entering a conversation. If I get interrupted by a child saying excuse me, then I'm more likely to stop and answer them straight away because it shows they have thought about the other people in front of them. It's stuff we use everyday as adults and has to be taught young.


QuantumGroan · 28/09/2018 13:59

And I have witnessed kids who interrupt and try to hold Mum's attention because they don't want to share her with anyone else.


Spikeyball · 28/09/2018 14:18

I'm pleased when my child interrupts because it means he understands that he can, something he didn't develop the ability to do until late primary age.


Thighofrelief · 28/09/2018 15:15

It depends of course if Timmy says "look balloons mummy!" If you can respond with "lovely, go and look" then why not? If you wander away with Timmy mid conversation then obviously not. OP's conversation would have taken a long time and the more distracting you can do the more time OP will receive.


IrmaFayLear · 28/09/2018 17:40

What do the "pro-interrupting" posters do when talking to their dh? What if it's about something important? Do they always prioritise their dcs?

Just telling a child that you are having a chat and unless it's urgent to go and play for a little while is hardly abusive and going to lead to adult trauma in years to come. It's far more abusive in my mind to send the child the message that their needs must always trump anyone else's and that what they are saying must be heard first. It's our duty to raise decent people, not little emperors.


LisaSimpsonsbff · 28/09/2018 18:00

Having flashbacks to the most obnoxious child at playgroup who had obviously been told to do this and would come up to you, say "excuse me" and expect an immediate response. If you didn't respond immediately, she would repeat the "excuse me" every 3 seconds, getting louder each time.

But surely you wouldn't just blank an adult saying 'excuse me', even if you were busy? So you weren't teaching her normal adult interaction, you were expecting her not to speak to you at all - and actually, in the process, modelling some quite rude behaviour.


abacucat · 28/09/2018 22:53

Lisa Go up to people talking and say excuse me in the workplace and elsewhere, and you will quickly find out that no it is not normal for people to always immediately stop their convo and listen to you.


mathanxiety · 29/09/2018 06:25

MarklahMarklah Fri 28-Sep-18 08:51:33
I think it's rude too.
I've told my DC over and over that unless it's an emergency (eg someone bleeding, something on fire) then it's necessary to wait.

Brings me back Smile.

This is what I used to ask the DCs to consider first before interrupting me on the phone.

They all grew up to be considerate adults who all enjoyed telling me about their day in school, their friends, pet peeves, whatever. Establishing rules that make it possible for you to conduct your life comfortably is not going to put children off talking to you as they grow up.

If you brush them off brusquely and never have a pleasant chat with them about much then you will find a gap between you as they grow, but if you stick to gentle yet firm and consistent boundary establishment accompanied by pleasant chats, giving your time to them, and sharing your life liberally when you can, then you will reap the rewards later.

Likewise, establishing that there are things in the home that the children can't touch is not going to make them run away as teens or turn into cleptos. My makeup, jewellery and handbag were out of bounds for my DCs. They grew up to respect each others' clothing and personal possessions, and mine too. I know women who let their small children play with items such as wedding rings, necklaces, bracelets, and of course when these things got lost the less fun side of buying a few minutes of peace by giving in to mithering became painfully obvious.

And I locked the door when I went to the loo.


GetItTogetherPlease · 29/09/2018 06:41

Fuck me. This is one of the most stressful parts of teaching.
Having 2/3 of your class think it's acceptable to randomly talk over you while you're teaching or interrupt while giving important instructions.
I've only been teaching 12 years and the difference in small childrens behaviour over that time is frankly shocking.
Never asked to wait or taught to understand that other people's needs may be greater than their own. Simple indulgence. It's creating some quite unpleasant children.


TheColonelAdoresPuffins · 29/09/2018 09:03

That's the thing. It's the parents' job to teach children about not interrupting or talking over people, but when parents can't be arsed it then gets left to teachers or children in the child's class to point out the issue instead and it may not make them very popular. The poor kid probably doesn't understand why what they are doing is wrong because their parents have left them to learn the hard way rather than helping the child themselves.


Princess1066 · 29/09/2018 22:51

GetItTogetherPlease TheColonelAdoresPuffins
Yes 100%
I started back working in childcare 18 months ago after a gap of 10 years & I couldn't agree more Sad

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