Stop telling your kids what NOT to do
Stop bothering your sister.
Don’t load the dishwasher like that!
Quit messing around!
Hurry up, you’re going to be late!
Managing your child’s behavior is a huge part of parenting. Sometimes, it feels like that’s all we’re doing. (Sometimes, it is.)
But if you’re using negative language such as what’s listed above, you’re likely doing twice as much to manage your child’s behavior than if you focused on using positive language instead. Our words matter. Not only do they convey our expectations and assumptions, they also influence children’s expectations and assumptions of themselves.
If we’re always telling children what NOT to do, our use of negative language:
• Leads to negative thoughts about themselves
• Develops resistance
• And just doesn’t really correct the issue at hand.
However, when we tell children what TO do, children:
• Understand what needs to be done
• Encourages them to have more positive behavior
• Perceive themselves more positively
• Help them develop better awareness and self-control
• Can pinpoint the real issue at hand
Let’s look at our sentences again, but this time, using positive language:
Stop bothering your sister. > Instead of dancing in front of your sister, let’s dance outside instead.
Don’t load the dishwasher like that! > Thank you for helping out, but if you load the glasses on the bottom rack, the water pressure will make them break. Can you please put them on the top rack instead?
Quit messing around! > What’s our rule for wrestling again? That’s right – out on the trampoline!
Hurry up, you’re going to be late! > We need to be out the door in 5 minutes to be on time. Can you be ready by then by yourself, or do you need help?
Learning to use positive language is work, and takes practice – but with the end results leading to your children understanding what needs to be done and better self-confidence, it’s totally worth making that change.
Written by Carol Chapman – Coach Carol C Kids Life Studio
Richmond, Texas, USA