No, Don’t, Stop! Commands Inviting Rebellion Instead of Cooperation

It’s easy to get into the habit of repeatedly saying to your children some form of “No, Don’t or Stop”. Once you have the habit, it’s hard to even recognize that you are using so many negative phrases with your kids.

Do any of these sound familiar?
  1. Stop fighting!
  2. Stop that whining!
  3. Don’t give me that look.
  4. No, you’re not going out at this time of night.
  5. Don’t touch that.
  6. Stop bothering him.
If you catch yourself using negative phrases, the challenge is to figure out how to communicate the same message in a more positive way.

Here are some ideas for the statements above:
  1. You both want to play with the bear. How are you going to solve this?
  2. I’ll be happy to listen to you when your voice sounds like mine.
  3. I’ll be happy to talk to you just as soon as you are looking at me with respect.
  4. You’re welcome to go out tomorrow night when it’s not so late.
  5. That could break, you can hold this instead.
  6. He wants to be left alone right now. What else would you like to do?
The more positive messages give kids a choice without demanding that they change their behavior. This increases the possibility for cooperation instead of rebellion.

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