When children constantly interrupt adult conversations, it can be frustrating. However, if we respond with anger, we sin against God and our children. Our motive should not be retaliation because we are irritated or inconvenienced. Our motive should be to drive out the rudeness and inconsiderate disrespect from the hearts of our children. If the motive is sinful we might say, “I can’t believe you are so inconsiderate. I am trying to talk to her and you are acting so ugly!” But if the motive is righteous rather than selfish we might say, “Honey, do you think it is kind or rude for you to interrupt Mom while she was talking to someone? Are you thinking about others or yourself when you interrupt? What could you have done rather than interrupting?”
The Bible instructs us to apply Galatians 6:1 when correcting our children: “Brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently” (Emphasis added). We should also provide our children with a means of escape rather than just rebuking them for wrong: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
Children often feel the sudden urge to communicate something to Mom while she is speaking with someone else. To prevent rude interruptions, I implemented a handy tool I leaned about in a Growing Kids God’s Way class. With the “Interrupt Rule,” our children were required to place their hand on me and wait for me to give them permission to speak. This way, they were not exasperated. After all, when two mommies are talking it can seem like an eternity before there’s a pause in the conversation. This can seem unbearable to a small child.
When my children placed their hand on my arm (or wherever) they were letting me know in a way that showed respect for me and the other person, “Mom, I need to say something but I don’t want to be rude.” I would usually place my hand on top of theirs to communicate, “I know you need something, and I’ll ask you as soon is there is a pause in conversation.” As soon as it was convenient, I would give them permission to talk. This provided them with a means of escape.
Teaching your children to put their hand on you rather than interrupting is not a biblical mandate, but it is a tool that can be used to provide them with a means of escape and prevent exasperation. It is also a way for you to show the same respect for your children that you require them to show you. Happy mom. Happy child. Happy conversations.