Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Do NOT read this!

The title likely sparked your curiosity to see what was so forbidden, or your rebellious side simply took over. :) As a parent, we have the power to use our words to influence our children's decisions. Let me give you an example. Do not picture a DOG in your mind. DOGS are strictly forbidden. If you think about a DOG, you are going to get in trouble! How many of you thought about a dog? You can't help it. Our minds simply work that way.

"Don't" is an abstract concept. It's not as concrete in our minds as an action or object would be. Your young child lacks the reasoning ability that we have as adults. When we say something like, "Do not throw that!", your child's mind focuses mainly on the action part of the command. Instead you could try saying, "Put that in my hand." or "Hold on tight to it." I'm not saying this works like magic every time. You have to take into consideration that we all have a will, and sometimes we just don't want to do what we're supposed to do. A positive approach to parenting does not replace the need for discipline or consequences in the case of willful disobedience. It's important to always be consistent.

This approach to changing behavior requires some forethought. You may even want to take some time to right down a few ideas. Think about some of the more frequent infractions you are having trouble with. List what you would have liked to happen. Be creative and remember to keep your child emotionally engaged in the learning experience. If you come up with any great ones you would like to share, I hope you will post them as a comment below. Until next time, good luck in this adventure they call parenthood!

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