The Interrupting Or Contradicting Child
by Nicholeen Peck
For most children, interrupting is a stage they go through when they are learning how to best time thesharing of their ideas. But, sometimes the behavior can seem to attempt to discredit the parents. Thistype of behavior is called contradicting. Contradicting carries a different feeling with it than regularinterrupting.
“I need some help. I understand how the system works I am just having a hard time getting one of mychildren to quit contradicting, half the time she doesn’t even realize it, and she is the FIRST to laugh orcorrect when someone makes a mistake…like here’s an example, “We went to the store today and Susancried.” She might say, “No she didn’t cry she screamed”… or when someone says something wrong sheis the first to correct and call the person on it….so many times when I am teaching the kids she has to bedisagreeable. I have tried SODAS she ends up with so many in one day and it is just a power struggle.
She constantly contradicts, not just to me but to others as well.I tried fining her .50 cents but that didn’t stop it.I have tried praying, gospel study, and learning about meekness and all that still not really sinking in.
She says she really is working at it but it still doesn’t stop her.How do you break a deep bad habit?..”
About this interrupting behavior… It is a boundary issue. So either you treat it like not accepting a noanswer, or you treat it like she is not disagreeing appropriately. Keep working on the four basic skills.She needs to learn them.It sounds like this child sees things differently than the rest of you sometimes, so she feels moresecure about what has been said if she puts in her ‘two cents.’
I would do some role playing where she stays silent (dropping the subject), and where she disagreesappropriately. Do some each day. You have to practice the correct skill, which is not interrupting or notcontradicting. Be sure to do a proper correction each time it happens. If you don’t catch itsometimes, she won’t break the habit. Just have her do an extra chore. It can even be simple thingslike clearing a dish or taking a blanket upstairs. (but, practicing it the right way is more importantthan the extra chore.) SODAS are a great problem solving exercise, but using them as a consequencefor each offense is probably a bit much. Chores are faster and require less time from the parentwhich means they are less likely to pile up. I usually save SODAS for larger issues or treatment for onefocused behavior. In the later instance we would use them once a day.
Then, be sure to practice interactions the right way. Even though this happens after a correction it isstill a great pre-teach for the next time.
I am guessing that she doesn’t get caught every time, so she stops thinking about controlling theimpulse to interrupt.
You may want to set up a positive motivation for her too, like maybe she earns a treat or a stickerevery time she doesn’t interrupt and reports that she wanted to. Get her thinking about it.
Her thoughts are the way she sees things and she obviously thinks her thoughts are more honest thanwhat has just been said. It is good that she wants to be honest. So, now she just needs to know herboundaries when sharing them, and how to approach you if she feels that her thoughts are morecorrect than what you said.
This question is a great reminder that the children are listening and that they do have opinions aboutwhat has happened. Children are so smart. But, they also need to learn how to share their thoughtsproperly.
Note: This doesn’t sound like a manipulation case. But, many youth contradict to manipulate andconfuse their parents. It’s a power technique. This is also a boundary issue and the same basic skillsapply. However, unlike the example above, this would be a negative attention seeking behavior. Besure to catch each negative behavior, do a correction, have them do an extra chore, and also practiceit the right way. The way to handle it is basically the same.