Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Parenting Puzzle of the day: Don't=too late

Problem: My children do exactly the thing I told them not to do!

This is a common problem with a simple sounding solution. I say it is simple sounding, because once you think on it enough it seems like common sense and it appears easy to do. Sadly though, Habits are hard to break.

The cause of this problem is our wording. Most of us always tell them no. To use an example from my own life this week. "Will Please don't run in the Church." All my son hears is the Key Words:Will run Church.

When we read, most of us do not actually read every single written word. What we tend to do is pick up the key words and the rest falls in place. This is true with our children. When you tell them not to run. They simply hear RUN!

Every three year old boy and girl knows that the long hallway just outside of the sanctuary is just begging for someone to run down it.

When children hear adults using the same words that they are already thinking. Its natural to link them. So when my three year old is looking at the big long empty hallway, just knowing that it WANTS him to run down it, and I say "Will Please don't run." He just heard his permission to run.

What I should have said instead was "Will, we walk in Church." I did this after telling him not to run, rather than yelling at him for running. Even I have a hard time remembering to rephrase for him. Once I instructed him what TO-DO, I gave him a new thought in his head. He slowed down and waited on me.

It is difficult to change our habits. It takes a conscious effort on our behalf to rewire our thinking, in a way that enables our children to listen. Children want to please us, they just have other things on thier mind as well.

What are some other things you say that you could reword?

Don't pee in your underwear .
We pee in the toilet.

Stop jumping on the couch.
Please sit on the couch, or you can jump on the floor.

Shut Up!
Use our quiet voices outside.

There are other reasons our Children don't listen to us, but that is for another day. Right now let's focus on one thing we can do to help the problem! Try this for a day and report back how it went.

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