Moona asks: My child is 5 years old. He is good in studies and other activities, though he was very hyper in his early years. Now he is better, but he has a problem of always interrupting when someone else is talking – especially when some guests come. He’ll talk to them unnecessarily and speak foolish words that the guest also doesn’t like. How can I make him stop it?
Hi Moona –
The reason I say it’s so interesting is that I’m not sure there’s anything wrong at all.
Lots of times, young children are “hyper,” not because they actually have the physiological condition of ADHD, but because they’re really smart! And there’s so much going on in their head all the time that they need to get it all out! It’s like when I was a puppy and wanted to run every direction at once, lick everyone, sniff everyone, and bite everyone – all at the same time. Then when I went to obedience school, I was a really good student, best in my class. But I still behaved the same way with Handsome all the rest of the time.
Your son sounds kind of like me in this! He sounds like a great kid, but one who needs (as I did) to be trained in some social skills. So I think your trick is to do some dog-style training!
So here’s my suggestion: First, explain to him the way that adults like to converse, allowing each other to finish their sentences before they speak. (You may find he starts catching you breaking this rule, by the way! That’s good too!). The point is that you’re teaching him to be an adult, and to converse with adults, which is just what he wants. He’s not wrong – you’re just showing him how to do it right.
Then make it into a game. If a guest comes over, and he talks with them without interrupting, he gets a toy. And the toy is worth, say, 20 points. Every time he interrupts, he loses a point, but he can make up for it the next time he’s talking with an adult. When he gets 200 points, he gets a great toy! The goal is to help him succeed, so he enjoys polite conversation. Just the way I learned to really enjoy it when people petted me and gave me treats, instead of running away from my biting play.
My guess is that your son will respond really well to this, and become delightful company. But if I’m wrong, please let me know and I’ll throw some other ideas your way.
But in the meantime, remember – there is nothing wrong with his wanting to talk with all your friends. It’s so much more fun than having a kid who’s scared of everyone you associate with!