Have you ever found yourself saying to your child "Don't run, you'll fall over" only to see your child fall over almost immediately? Do you find yourself saying to your child "Don't climb on the furniture" or "Don't sit so close to the television" or any other instruction that starts with "Don't"? Have you ever wondered why you child appears to ignore these requests.
If I were to say to you "Don't think of a pink elephant with a blue hat on", what is the first thing you think of? Exactly, a pink elephant with a blue hat on!
When you give an instruction the brain doesn't hear or process the negative word "Don't" it only hears the rest of the sentence. So when you say "Don't run, you'll fall over", your child hears "Run and fall over". "Don't climb on the furniture" is heard as "Climb on the furntiure" and "Don't sit so close to the television" as "Sit close to the television".
Instead of using Don't put the request into a positive instruction, like "Slow down" or simply "Walk" or "The furniture is not for climbing on, get down" or "Sit back from the television".
If you found this blog useful please let me know.
Photo courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2140