To do list

To do or not to do. That's often the question for your young child. However, as parents we have power through our words to influence their decisions in a positive manner. It is more important to explain what they should be doing than what they shouldn't. Let me give you an example. Do not picture a TREE in your mind. TREES are not allowed. If you think about a TREE, you are going to get in trouble! How many of you thought about that tree? I did. That's just how our minds work.

"Don't" is an abstract concept. It's not as concrete in our minds as an action or object would be. Now put it in perspective. Your young child lacks the reasoning ability that we have as adults. When we say, "do not throw that!", their mind focuses mainly on the action part of the command. As an alternative, I could say, "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 a case of willful disobedience. Just remember to be consistent.

This approach to parenting does require more thought on the parent's part. It's easier for me to just point out what's wrong with the situation. However, in order for your child to have true learning potential in the situation, you need to state the desired action. 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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