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Don’t Look at Me When I Talk to You

2012 April 27

“Look at me when I talk to you!”

Rearview Mirror by Gail Rau

We’ve all heard that one before, at the very least as children. As parents we use the phrase as a command to the kid to face what he did, but more often than not we use it out of frustration and even as a sort of punishment.

To the kid it sounds like berating and is more apt to dredge up painful memories of verbal abuse and out of control emotions from an adult than help him conquer the behavior.

With foster children this is particularly unnecessary; sometimes even counter productive.

Without looking at you, while walking the dogs or taking a drive, your foster kid will eventually tell you why he’s afraid of the dark. Sitting on your lap with his back to you, the kid who would never admit to anything will not only admit that he kicked his little brother; but he’ll tell you why.

So if you have to tell them anything, tell them: “Don’t look at me when I talk to you.”

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