27. Don’t say don’t!

Try this simple but effective positive parenting strategy to turn around challenging behaviour.

So this one’s called ‘don’t say don’t’ and this was really helpful to me when my children were little.

So basically if I say to you “don’t think of a rabbit, don’t think of its big ears,  don’t think of its fluffy tail and please don’t think of a white rabbit”

White Rabbit

What do you think of? ….. a rabbit exactly!

So it’s really hard – it’s just how our brains work. So if we say don’t it almost visualises that. Don’t becomes silent and you hear the do at the end.

So when you’re speaking to children if you think about the last two words that you’re saying, those are the words that they’re most likely to hear and act on.

Also are when we say those two words our brains will kind of form a visual image of that, so if it’s negative then they form the visual image of the negative. 

So if we say “don’t hit me” they’re likely to hit you because they just hear “hit you”!

or if you say “don’t fight” then they just hear “fight”!

So if you could say instead of “don’t fight” you could say “keep your hands to yourself” or “go to your room” or “just take a moment, take a breath” and things like that so they hear the positive way.

So it’s really something that once you’ve mastered is great.

I don’t do it all the time, even though my kids are not kids anymore.  So just try to be really positive about it and if you hear yourself saying don’t it’s fine just follow up with the positive.