Monday, May 14, 2012

Eye Contact

As my children close in on the ripe old age of eight, I am trying to hone in on a few matters of etiquette we've not yet mastered. Specifically, the male 2/3 of my crew still struggles to make eye contact with adults when speaking to them. Despite repeated conversations about its importance and some role playing, eye contact with adults has remained an elusive goal.

A couple of weeks ago, while watching a Dateline program regarding how to protect children from predators, one of the experts spoke about the importance of eye contact. She pointed out that when a child looks up and into an adult's eyes it makes their posture and countenance appear more confident and reduces their likelihood of being selected as a victim. She off-handedly mentioned asking your children the eye color of the adult they were speaking to when you walk away from a conversation.

It was as if a lightbulb went off in my head--I finally had an idea that might work for my boys! After each encounter with an adult we've been having a 'pop quiz' regarding eye color. I have been pleasantly surprised at the difference it has made.

If you happen to know us in real life, I apologize in advance for the deep stares you may now get...especially if you are wearing sunglasses. :-) Just thought I would pass this along in case others are dealing with similar challenges!


Ali said...

I have three kiddos and my oldest is my 8 1/2 year old son! Thanks for the tip of a quiz on eye color! I can't wait to try this with him! I've talked to him about how important eye contact is and how it communicates respect and shows that he is a big kid! When communication with adults my son still seems distracted and nervous or unsure of himself! Thanks for this suggestion! I've been unsure how to help him grow in this area!

~ Ali

Diane Tohline said...

That is exactly what we had to do with our son. I can remember one time when after having a conversation with an adult, he promplty ran over to us to report -(shouting), "Clicks eyes are brown!" I can attest - it works!

sandi said...

what a great idea. our children are 9,7,3 and we have to remind them to look at the person they are talking to. they are comfortable looking at us, but it seems when speaking with other adults they sometimes need affirmation that they are doing it right (?) and look at us instead of who they are speaking with.

Wife Goes On said...

You are a wise woman. Thanks for all your posts. I was just able to catch up, and I always feel refreshed as a mama and a daughter of Christ after reading your posts. Great idea about eye contact as well, and if we can keep doing the same as we interact with others, it helps us to keep focused on them and not distracted by texts, etc. Have a great day today. and Thank you.