Why Won't He Listen to Me?

Psychogeography could be the reason!

Psychogeography – It's a big word - it simply means the effect your location has upon your interaction with another.

In other words, when you call directions upstairs to your son from the kitchen, you’re likely going to get different results than if you were sitting side-by-side on the couch.

Here’s an exercise from my book, Boys Alive! Bring Out Their Best, that you can try out with an adult partner.

I encourage you to move through each location to truly experience the effect and to get your unconscious mind on board (rather than simply reading through it). By moving your body, it will help you be more aware the next time you are tempted to send your voice up that staircase in the morning!

Many parents have found this exercise had the most impact on ALL of their communication with their children!

And they no longer had to ask, “Why do I have to repeat what I say a thousand times?”

Psychogeography Practice Exercise:

Speaking this nonsense phrase in a neutral voice: apples, pears, bananas takes the focus off of word meaning and voice tone and places it on body language.

In each of the following positions, be sure to speak in a neutral voice, take a deep breath between interactions, and allow the “child” to process the effect the “parent’s” words have had.

1. Parent faces Child about 1 foot apart. Parent says, “Apples, pears, bananas.”

2. Parent faces Child standing about 10 feet apart. Parent speaks phrase

.3. Still 10 feet apart, Child turns back towards Parent. Parent speaks phrase

.4. Parent stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Child, both facing in the same direction. Parent places hand lightly on Child’s shoulder. Parent speaks phrase.

5. Child squats down to about 3 feet, facing Parent. Parent speaks phrase.

6. Parent squats down to about 3 feet, facing Child. Parent speaks phrase.

Before discussing, switch roles and repeat the exercise.

Then, use the following questions to guide you:

1. Which positions were comfortable for you?

2. Which position(s) were less comfortable for you?

3. When was it easier to listen?

4. When was it easier to ignore the speaker?

Consider your own parenting psychogeography:

1. When your requests are most effective, where are you located in relation to your boy?

2. Where are you located when you make requests that you have to repeat?

3. How often do you give directions or make requests from another room?

4. How often do you talk to your boy when your back is turned?

5. How often do you talk to your boy when his back is turned?

6. Note which interactions are least effective and re-run the scene through your mind, changing your psychogeography. How might the situation change?

This a subtle and profound tool for understanding our fellow human beings – they aren’t just for parent-child interactions! T

his tool will give you more flexibility and compassion in any interaction.


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