Parenting Using Positive Phrasing

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Can you envision a negative command? Your child can't either!

Let’s start out this post with a little bit of trivia: Did you know it is impossible for the human brain to visualize a negative action? What I mean by that is, you can’t imagine something not happening.

Let’s give it a try: don’t think about a purple elephant.

You thought of a purple elephant!

Don’t imagine running across a green, flowery field. You can’t do it, can you?

You know what? Our children’s brains work the same way. And now that you are armed with this information, you can use it to increase your and your child’s success in discipline and obedience.

When you instruct or command your child not to do a negative action, you’re really putting that negative action in their thoughts.

A Quick Easy Change

The next time you are about to tell your child not to do something, just take a minute and do a mental flip and turn it into a positive. Remember, they can’t envision a negative phrase, either.

Let’s have several examples, shall we? These are mostly examples from our home, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Instead of saying:

Emily, don’t spit your food on the floor!!!

Try this positive phrasing:

Emily, keep your food in your mouth! Our food stays in our mouths when we eat.

Instead of saying:

Joey, don’t stand on your chair at the dinner table!

Try this positive phrasing:

Joey, sit down in your chair.

You see, this is much easier for your child to visualize and obey. (Can you tell we have a two-year-old at our dinner table?)

Instead of saying:

Mary, don’t hit the baby!

Try using this positive phrasing:

Mary, be gentle with the baby. Love the baby.

Instead of only correcting your child, you are training them in the way that they should go! You are demonstrating the right way to do something, ingraining it in their sweet little minds.

Instead of saying:

Noah, don’t take that robot from your brother!

Try using this positive phrasing:

Noah, give the robot back to your brother.

Instead of saying:

Kids, don’t go in the street!

Try using this positive phrasing:

Kids, stay in the driveway!

Instead of saying:

David, don’t fall off the monkey bars! You’re gonna fall!

Try using this positive phrasing:

David, hold on tight! Good job! You’re holding on so tight!

NEVER tell your child they are going to fall! You want to give your child a positive to visualize. If you fill your child’s mind with thoughts of falling, you’re increasing their chances of falling, which is the last thing you want to do!

Instead of saying:

Elizabeth, don’t leave the blocks all over the floor!

Try using this positive phrasing:

Elizabeth, pick up the blocks. The blocks go in the bucket.

Are you starting to see how easy it is to make the switch? Pretty soon it will become second nature to you.

Is this earth-shattering, ground-breaking parenting advice? Nah.ย Is this just a bunch of psychobabble mumbo-jumbo? I hope you don’t think so. Really, it’s just a small tool to keep in your parenting belt to help your children understand you better. And that’s always a good thing.

Do you already use positive phrasing in your home? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Positive Parenting!

Dandy

Can you envision a negative command? Your child can't either!


7 thoughts on “Parenting Using Positive Phrasing”

  1. Thanks for sharing this Dandy; I really needed to be reminded to encourage my children with positive changes and corrections instead of just the ‘no’s’ and ‘don’t’ which I’ve fallen back into doing:) So simple, yet so life changing in gently shaping our little ones hearts and understanding to encourage them in what they can do instead of can’t do!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Maggie. I really have to remind myself all the time to do this. You’re right, it’s so easy to fall into the quick ‘no’ and ‘don’t’. Especially on the GAPS diet! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Can’t I blame it on that?)
      <3, Dandy

      Reply
  2. Hi Dandy
    I am not a mother yet but I do work in our churches nursery and this is a tool we use and I can definitely say that I have seen children who aren’t even able to talk yet respond positively to this. Or director is really good at helping us use this also. Thank you for sharing it everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
      • Thank you, Jessica. It really does work – and the funny thing is, after years of practicing, I find myself speaking in the positive, not only with children, but with everyone. We actually learned this in college. My professor called it “You Attitude”. Sounds funny, but it works!

        Reply
  3. Thank you so much for sharing. I try to be a positive parent, but sometimes I’m not. This reminded me what a wonderful son I have, and how important these small tools are. I’ve learned such from you, and will continue to. Have a wonderful week.

    Reply

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