Do You Ask Him to Look at You?
"Look at me when I'm talking to you...."
What parent hasn't said that?!
Add cheek-holding for emphasis....but it doesn't work.
He STILL doesn't listen!
This is a familiar refrain of MANY WOMEN - both with kids and with male partners.
"Look at me when I'm talking to you..." is often met with his glare, his resistance, or his melt down.He probably doesn't even really hear what you're saying - much less being able to comply with it!
Do you end up taking his resistance personally?
Many males are uncomfortable with eye contact.
They are designed that way.
If he has just had a run-in with you or with a friend, he is NOT going to want to talk about it in the moment.
He may feel threatened if you insist that he make eye contact with you and he'll shut down and close you out even more.
One dad explained it this way, "I tell my wife, if she wants me to listen to her, I can't look at her. If she wants me to look at her, I can't hear what she's saying. I tell her to CHOOSE ONE CHANNEL."
What should you do?
Connect with him side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder.
It takes practice to get used to not having direct eye contact with him (because females love and place value on eye contact).
Yet, you CAN feel connected to him by touching shoulders or thighs as you sit, sharing a high-five, or making brief eye contact.
When you get comfortable without direct eye contact, you'll be able to talk with him in a way that feels safer and easier for many boys and men.
If you encourage him to keep his hands busy – bouncing a ball, playing legos, crumpling paper – he’ll be even more relaxed and able to access his words.
And you'll be well on your way to connecting at an even deeper level with him - whether he is your son, your partner, or your co-worker.
Give it a try!
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