Thursday, March 27, 2014
Don't Interrupt! ADD and Impulsivity
A lot of fascinating conversations arise from my dinner table. If you have kids, you can probably relate. Anything from what they didn't do in science today to the meaning of life. I'm in favor of these conversations . . . so long as they don't occur while I, too, am talking.
Perhaps this is part of my ADD brain asserting control, or maybe I'm just a control freak, but I will NOT tolerate being interrupted or spoken over. It is distracting at the least and rude and inconsiderate at the most! I realize that kids will be kids and this is a hard lesson to learn. My ten-year-old interrupts her brother all of the time with something urgent to say and she scowls when I shush her. I also get where she's coming from: she doesn't want to lose her train of thought. Trust me, I get that! I've done that a squajillion times in pleasant, polite conversations. I don't so much interrupt as I jump into a conversation opening with something I've been focusing hard on not forgetting for the past 10 minutes. Usually, it's an awkward moment of me blurting out my information because it is obvious I haven't been following the conversation. Duh, people! I've been working my brain for 10 whole minutes not to forget what I need to say!
My own foibles aside, I realize it's hard for a little person to understand polite conversations, let alone social nuances. I'm in my 40s still working through that mess. And I remember all too well when I was somewhere between my son and daughter's age, let's say 8 or 9, when I physically interjected myself between my mom and my teenage sister, trying to tell them something important (probably about Barbies or world peace) and they both scolded me for interrupting and being rude. You don't remember that kind of thing unless it stings.
Yet, here I am, at the dinner table last night trying to tell my husband something when my 7-year-old son blurts out something (probably about Pokemon or world peace) and I shush him. Oh, it get's better. I continue talking and my son looks at me with a devilish smile and continues talking OVER me. Like louder than me. Purposefully. And here's where I lose my cool: "I don't like that at all!" I shout at him, "It's completely rude and unacceptable!" and then I dramatically push back my chair and stomp out of the room with my plate. Dear Lord! I am terribly embarrassed that I subjected my son to that display. My husband gave me a very guilt-inducing, "HON-ey!" while he hugged my whimpering son.
I did return to the table and apologized to my son and hugged him. Then I became a grown-up and said, "Please don't do that again. It's very rude and makes me feel like you're not listening to me, like what I'm saying isn't important because you have something to say, granted about world peace, but neverthless, I was talking first."
Everything was peachy after that.
Until this morning.
This wasn't so much an interrupting incident so much as an I'm-going-to-ignore-you-and-do-what-I-want situation. To make matters worse, my son ignored me by independently reading a chapter book, something I HAVE to praise! I needed him to finish getting ready and brush his teeth and said he could return to his book - Ms. Krup Cracks Me Up - AFTER, as sort of a dessert. (Have I mentioned that my son most likely has the ADD, too? We haven't had him tested because it doesn't seem to be interfering with any arenas of his life . . . yet. Why medicate a 7-year-old when it isn't crucial?) But either he was hyper-focused (I doubt it) or stubborn (most likely) and he kept reading until he finished the page because that's what he wanted to do. In the grand scheme of things, no big deal, right? However, I had to explain to him that I need to know that he is capable of listening to me. What if I said, "Step back on the curb! A car is coming!" and he said, "Just a minute. I want to finish this page?" I know. Probably not a real-life scenario, but I had to explain to him that listening to me is important. That I wasn't just being bossy; our neighbor who carpools with us was due any minute and I couldn't open the door for her if I was busy brushing his teeth! There is a method to my insanity. Really. I promise.
How do you deal with interruptions, whether from your kids or friend or peers at work? Are you the interrupter? Do you consciously try to curb your interruptions? How?
For more discussions of adult ADD, I just want to let my local readers know about a new outlet. I will be co-administering a discussion group for parents with ADD through the most awesome Mama's Hip. Find the group on Facebook. This is a closed group so my co-administrator Kate B. or I will need to approve your participation.