At a recent trip to the pool, I observed a frustrated mother trying to discipline her young son. He was joyfully playing, splashing and squirting water out of his mouth. Over and over his mother demanded, “Don’t put that water in your mouth!” Each time the order got louder until she decided he needed a “time out.” Her son endured his time out, jumped back in and immediately filled his mouth with water. By this time, all the children in the baby pool were sampling the water because “water in your mouth” was still echoing through all of our heads. I refrained from offering a brief explanation on the law of attraction, but did coax my child into finding another place to put the water by giving her a bucket and some toys to play with.
What commands sound more effective? “Don’t run!” or “Walk slowly!” How about “No hitting!” vs. “Touch gently.” I’m guilty of uttering, “Don’t make a mess!” when I should be saying, “Please put all your toys away when you are done playing.” My point is, if you focus on the behavior you DON’T want, you will get more of it. It’s like those little brains automatically filter out the words “no” and “not” from everything they hear. Years ago, a preschool teacher recommended a book that more fully explains this phenomenon titled Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky A. Bailey, Ph.D. The book drags on in some chapters, but the basic information is very useful. If you can recommend other books on conscious parenting, please post them in the comments.
MOM DARE: Try to catch yourself every time you speak a negative sentence and turn it around to a positive. If you hear yourself using the words “don’t” or “no,” stop yourself and express what you DO want. This is one of the more magical tricks of motherhood/life, because when a child/spouse/coworker hears fewer “no’s” they are less likely to use the word in response to you.
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