Yes, there’s nothing like a little eavesdropping—especially when we overhear our own name—to make the ears perk up. As parents, we can take advantage of this fact and deliberately create opportunities for our child to eavesdrop.
How does this work? Well, suppose we want to remind our child that he’s not playing video games after dinner if his room isn’t clean. However, if we tell him that directly, he may hear that reminder as nagging or as a confrontational challenge (if he thinks it’s not a fair policy).
Yet, it’s an entirely different ballgame if we casually comment to someone else, “I know that Ryan wants to play video games this evening, and I’m positive that’s only going to happen if his room is clean.”
As the eavesdropper, Ryan still gets the intended message, but now it’s going into the brain in “third” person. He’s merely an outsider hearing a comment that happens to involve him.
And since most eavesdroppers don’t like to announce they’re listening to someone else’s conversation, they probably won’t respond to what they’ve just heard. If so, then we’ve sent the message and avoided a potential squabble. Seems like a pretty easy way to ensure more harmony in the home.
For teens, all we have to do is lower our voice a tad when they’re in the next room, and suddenly they’re tuned in to every word we’re saying. Who knew getting their attention could be that easy?
So eavesdropping probably won’t ever make the list of good manners, but it can expedite communicating a message to our kids without much ado. And that can be really enticing in many households.