Do you ever get frustrated when your child or teen interrupts you? When you are in the middle of a task and they interrupt, it is easy to get impatient with them. The problem is that they can get the feeling they are not important. How do you treat them with respect, and still get done what you need to get done?
Here’s 3 Tips on How to Handle Interruptions
- Let them know you value what they have to say or need.
- Set your boundary and tell them when you can talk with them or get them the item they want.
- Follow through and make sure you seek them out to hear what they wanted to share or meet their need.
I met a woman who has three young children. During our conversation, she shook her head, “They’re always interrupting me. It’s hard when I’m in the middle of something that I need to focus on because I run my business out of my home. When they come up to me with something they ‘have to show or tell’ me, I say, ‘I really want to hear what you have to say and I can’t be interrupted right now. I’ll come and find you as soon as I’m finished because I want to hear all about it. ‘If I didn’t do that, I would be just saying uh huh without really listening. This way, I can focus on what I’m doing and give them my full attention when I’m finished.”
This conversation reminded me of when my teens were home and wanted my attention and I was in the middle of something. I’d say, “Let me get to a stopping place. Then I’ll come and talk with you or help you.” Or if I knew the time I’d be finished, I’d say, “Give me five minutes or ten minutes.” If I needed more time I would ask how urgent it is and then give them a longer time period. Then I sought them out to hear what they had to say, help them or to get them what they needed.
The main thing is you need to remember to go find them. You can write yourself a note if you are afraid you’ll forget.
When you listen to your children, you let them know you value them and their needs. When you teach them to respect your boundaries, you teach them to respect themselves and others. They will learn then how to apply these same principles to other relationships.
For more tips on listening and talking together, see my previous post on 7 Tips for Effective Listening and Talking Together.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another.” Ephesians 4:32a (NIV)