I am trying desperately to have a civilized, adult conversation with my friend. We are right in the middle of trying to convince the other who is more worn out. I did say “civilized”, we weren’t fighting, and “adult”, two adults conversing. Don’t judge! Suddenly, to my right, I feel a tap.
All of my nerves are in complete working order. I felt the tap, I just chose to ignore it and hope that it would go back from whence it came. Unfortunately, I am not that lucky. Another tap, a little more aggressive this time. Yes, I felt that one too. I guess I am a glutton for punishment, because I chose to shrug that one off and continue in my conversation.
Then the, “Mom”, starts. I turn my head to the direction of the interrupter, with such force I almost give myself whiplash. Then I shoot that horrific glare that promises pain and agony if they continue down the path they are on. They take the hint and decide to stand and wait patiently for an opening. Obviously, this opening didn’t come quick enough so, the tapping starts again.
That is IT! I can’t take it anymore, I spin around and let ’em have it. “Do not EVER interrupt two adults when they are speaking. That is so rude! You know better!” Then, “But mom!” “Don’t ‘but mom’ me!” Said child, then slinks off rather defeated and embarrassed from the lashing I just gave him in front of my friend, who is grinning the whole time, because she too has been there and is just grateful that at that moment in time her child is off playing and not causing the problem.
The rest of my adult conversation consisted of head shakes, eye rolls, and when will they learn, all from my end, of course.
We have all been there. I remember on numerous occasions growing up, trying to wait patiently while my mom talked. It was so agonizing to have to wait for a break in the conversation, that you were not sure would ever even come. I even catch myself doing the same thing to my husband when I am needing his attention. I am sure we have all done it or at least experienced the frustrations of being interrupted.
The reason I am sharing all this is because, while I was working with my son on his math lesson today, he said something that will change the way I interact with him from now on. He said, “This is so easy.” I rolled my eyes and said, “This is exactly what we did yesterday that took you two hours to get through.” “But since you sat with me and helped me through each problem, I am able to do it by myself today, without your help,” he continued, “you didn’t let me tell you that yesterday.”
See, yesterday was one of those days where I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. He was just doing basic division, for crying out loud. He knows this, he has done it a million times, without my help. He shouldn’t need it now.
Everytime he would start to say something or ask for help, I would INTERRUPT him. Everytime he looked distracted, when actually he just needed help, I wouldn’t listen to him. I would tell him that he knows this and should be able to do it on his own. Now, don’t get me wrong, I ended up sitting next to him and walking him through each problem, but my attitude about having to do that made him feel “stupid”. Instead of telling him it was okay and we all need a good refresher, I reiterated the fact that he had done this before and shouldn’t need help.
My point is, if I had just let him speak, without interrupting him and really listened to what he was trying to tell me, maybe yesterday would have gone a whole lot smoother for both of us. I would have realized that he wasn’t just makin excuses and trying to get out of doing his math. He just needed some refreshing and a little bit of patience on my part. That is a work in progress, by the way.
If I am expecting him to be respectful and not interrupt me when I am speaking, then I should at least give him the same respect. I find myself cutting him off a lot. I don’t allow him the opportunity to explain his point of view without jumping in and letting him know how my view is better. He is a smart kid and I need to learn to be a better listener and to stop interrupting.