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Why Is My Child Always Interrupting People?

By Kristy Baxter, MA

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Question: My daughter constantly interrupts conversations and cuts people off. It’s like she doesn’t notice they’re talking. Why does she do this?

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 interrupt because they don’t stop to think before they do it. They have something they really want to share. But they’re impulsive and have a hard time waiting their turn.

And 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.

Your child’s teacher may be able to shed light on the situation. Ask whether your child interrupts a lot at school, too, and whether there’s anything else happening that you should know about.

If your child’s trouble with conversation is creating problems, there are ways to work on it at home. You can role-play social situations and practice how to have a conversation. You can also find out why some kids struggle with impulsivity.

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