Why do some kids always interrupt people?

By Kristy Baxter, MA

Question:

Why do some kids constantly interrupt conversations and cut people off? It’s like they don’t notice that someone else is talking.

Answer:

Figuring out how to join a conversation is a skill. And, as with all skills, not everyone has an easy time doing it. Some people are naturally good at having conversations, while others need tips and practice.

Interrupting once in a while isn’t a problem. But when kids do it a lot, it can turn off other kids and lead to teasing or bullying. It can also make it hard to make or keep friends.

There are lots of reasons kids might interrupt. One is anxiety. Kids may know the right way to enter or have a conversation. But they get anxious during social situations and jump in when they shouldn’t.

Some kids have trouble with social skills in general. They have a hard time following social rules or picking up on cues other people are giving. They don’t size up social situations correctly.

Often, kids interrupt because they have a hard time waiting their turn. They have something they really want to share. But they’re impulsive and don’t stop to think before they cut someone off.

Kids who interrupt because they’re impulsive typically do other things without thinking first. It can be hard to know what’s going on when that happens. To get a fuller picture, parents and teachers should talk about what they’re seeing at home and at school.


Find out what can cause kids to be impulsive.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Kristy Baxter, MA taught at the Churchill School, an independent school in New York City for children with learning disabilities.