Monday, October 22, 2012

Childrearing with Positive Language

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny”  Mahatma Gandhi

I’ve always admired Gandhi – however I never thought of putting his ideas into the realm of parenting and education.  HOW WRONG WAS I!!!! 

Positive Language

Imagine what would happen if you removed the following words from our vocabulary when it came to our kids!   
Obviously there are going to be times when you HAVE  to say these words – but you’d be surprised at what would happen if you begin to start to phrase directives positively!

How is This Possible?

I first started to tell my kids what to do instead of what they shouldn’t do.  It amazed me how much more compliant my kids became when I started to tell them, “When you pick up your toys you can go outside” instead of saying “You can’t go outside until you pick of the toys.”  It means the same thing – but my children have really warmed to the idea.  I’m not telling them what they CAN’T DO but when they can do it!  

I also learned something very intriguing.  Did you know that our subconscious doesn’t hear negative words?  No wonder when I tell Emma "Don’t Run”  The first thing she does is run as fast as she can.  What happens if I remove that phrase from my mommy vernacular and say instead “Emma, walk to the corner and wait for Mommy.”  Or better yet,  “Chase, walk!”  Here are some other’s I’ve come up with:

  • No hitting (huge in our house) – Keep your hands to yourself.   OR give them some play-dough or something else to keep their hands busy!  Watch what happens. 
  • Stop Yelling (Chase constantly uses an outside voice) – We’ve started to use the set up used at his kindergarten.  Level zero voice – no talking, Level 1 – whisper, Level 2 – inside voice, Level 3 – outside voice (as long as there is no one around it won’t hurt ears).  Chase has really done well with this!! 
  • Don’t pull the cat’s tail – You may pet the cat or leave her alone (Chase likes choices).



You can splash outside
Now it's your turn!  I'd love to hear what you would do for some of these:
  • Quit throwing the toys
  • Don't play with your food
  • No biting
  • Stop splashing in the tub
  • Don't pretend to shoot your sister
  • Quit teasing your brother

1 comment:

  1. We, too, had the same revelation you did when our girls were little. What a difference it makes! It is sad how ingrained that habit is to say what we don't want. Speaking from experience, though, if you work at it, asking for what you do want will become the new habit.

    I also started to add "thank you" to my requests: Thank you for walking through the house. That phrase always slows down my "pack" of 6 young nephews, at least for a while. :-)