Monday, December 7, 2009

Little Pitchers and Big Ears: Selective Hearing

Why is it that I can ask my kids 20 times if they've done their homework and get no response?

I can say one thing about a wacky relative in a whisper voice on the phone and EVERY TIME they will crank their neck around with whiplash speed and ask me why I said that?

Selective hearing.

It works the same way with my husband. He swore up and down on Thanksgiving that I never asked him to do X, Y or Z. I am 100 percent sure that I did.

It's kind of like a "If a tree falls in the woods..." situation. If you ask a question, and no one hears it, or acknowledges it, did you really ask?"

Amazed at the frequency of use, this week I started experimenting with the phenomenon. To my surprise, selective hearing is actually an addicting habit. Now, I find myself using that technique with my whole family.

Here's how in 4 easy steps:
  1. Say you are working at the computer. Stare straight ahead at the screen. If the request is one that just doesn't interest you, keep staring straight ahead.
  2. On the second request, keep typing and staring.
  3. On the third request, move to the kitchen and begin slicing carrots (keep the knife in hand, most grown ups approach you with extreme caution when you are brandishing a knife).
  4. If the inquirer is persistent or crying, you can finally say with a smile, "What did you say, dear?"
Of course, if you really have no interest in the tasks, tears or screaming, just continue along in you blissful blank state until the inquirer walks away.

This technique also builds the useful skill of people not realizing that you are really listening and spying on their conversations. This is quite good, especially with teens.


Terri said...

oh my word!!! This is hilarious!!!! have you been a fly on my wall at my house lately? I am def. going to give this a try.... you are the best!!!!

Mommy Is Green said...

I do this to my husband. After a while you don't hear what they're saying. My husband gets so annoyed. Lol! -Victoria from MBC Follow Me Club

kOny said...

HI ! nice blog :) I'm from Chile, visit me !

Rae Ann said...

I SO hear you! I had an experience with this just the other day: I told T that I was going to a Mom's Night Out Christmas party and that he would have to put the kids to bed. He swore up and down that I never told him. Arg!