What I Do When My Child with ADHD Talks Excessively
There are many repetitive, sometimes less than pleasant habits that come with my child's attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and excessive talking is one of them. It's one that I have a particularly hard time tolerating because he has so much to say all the time. Point blank; it can be exhausting for me. I have to remember, though, that everyone has a reason for doing what they do, even things I don't like. Understanding why my child talks excessively and what his ADHD has to do with it is a huge step towards patiently and constructively handling this habit.
Why Do Children with ADHD Talk Excessively?
Kristy Baxter, M.A., former head of the Churchill School and one of the founders of Camp Northwood, a camp for children with learning disabilities in New York, offers a few reasons why children with ADHD talk excessively, information that's given me much-needed insight into my son and why he acts the way he does:1
- Children with ADHD may worry they'll forget what they want to say. My child's brain moves quickly and constantly, so I can understand why he'd be worried about this and why it might feed into his excessive talking. In his mind, he says it now or never.
- Children with ADHD and impulsivity issues might talk excessively because it's difficult for them to think before they speak. The adage "think before you speak" isn't easy for my child to adhere to, especially when he's excited. He doesn't realize when it is or isn't the appropriate time to talk; he blurts out the first thing that pops into his mind and monopolizes conversations because it's hard for him to put his brain and his mouth on pause.
- Children with ADHD who talk excessively might not be able to read nonverbal cues. When my kid talks too much, he doesn't notice when people are disinterested or irritated. Just like his dad, who also has ADHD, my child doesn't take hints well.
- Children with ADHD sometimes talk excessively because they have poor listening skills. My son has a hard time carrying on a conversation because it's difficult for him to pause, listen to other people, and make appropriate decisions about when to talk and stop talking. Again, he doesn't always know how to focus on other people and take cues from them.
The bottom line is all my kid can focus on sometimes is his lively, speedy little brain, which is great--until someone else needs to say something. Then I have to take action.
How I Handle My Child's ADHD and Excessive Talking
I'm living with an issue that shouldn't and can't be ignored. My child's excessive talking has caused more than a few problems in more than one situation, and I can't let those problems grow into something we can't get under control. On that note, this is how I handle my child's ADHD and excessive talking:
- I remind my child not to interrupt people. It sounds simple, but the more I give him this gentle--or sometimes not so gentle--reminder, the more he catches himself before cutting someone off.
- I tell my child when it's appropriate to speak. When there's a lull in a group conversation, and I know my little boy has held back whatever he has to say until he's almost burst, I'll permit him to speak. This is another technique that's slowly achieving the desired results.
- I let my child know when he's behaving appropriately in a conversation. Of course, I point out the times he isn't doing what he should do, but I also praise him when he does wait for his turn to speak. Then he has a clear picture of how he should behave next time.
- Baxter recommends asking children with ADHD questions about what someone else has said. This helps a child hone in on what other people have to say instead of the excessive talking he feels the need to do. It helps him listen more, talk less.
- Baxter also suggests using "secret codes" to reign in children's excessive talking. Because of my child's ADHD, he doesn't always notice when he interrupts people or monopolizes conversations. However, I don't want to constantly interrupt him or embarrass him to let him know. So some kind of nonverbal cue--albeit a blatant, obvious cue that he can't miss--would probably work well for him.
At the end of the day, it's my job to raise a child who's considerate of others and who can have a conversation and really hear what others have to say. My little boy simply needs a little more guidance (and a whole lot of trial and error) to get there.
Does your child with ADHD talk excessively? What have you done to deal with it? Let's chat.
And if your child's ADHD and excessive talking are simply too much for you sometimes, check out my video:
- Baxter, K., "Why Does My Child Talk Nonstop and Not Realize It's Annoying?" Saudi ADHD Society, January 2015.
Sharp, S. (2021, May 26). What I Do When My Child with ADHD Talks Excessively, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, June 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/parentingchildwithmentalillness/2021/5/what-i-do-when-my-child-with-adhd-talks-excessively