Accentuate the Positive

“You’ve got to accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative,
Latch on to the affirmative,
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between”

Being a child is a difficult job. Children are busy learning new skills, testing their limits, and actively exploring their environment.

Parenting is also a difficult job. Parents are busy teaching skills, upholding limits, and making sure the environment is safe to explore.

Whew, it’s a lot of work!

In the everyday hustle and bustle of life it’s easy for parents to find themselves using many negative words with their children. “No!” and “Don’t!” are so commonly used that many toddlers’ first word is “NO!” instead of the hoped-for “Mama” or “Dada.”

Despite how easily as “No” and “Don’t” rolls of our tongues, it’s important to replace them with positive words and phrases. Positive make the relationship between parent and child less stressful, and they make both parents and children feel better about themselves.

One easy way to turn negatives into positives is to express what you want your child to do instead of what you want him or her to not do. This helps your child learn what you expect: “Use your spoon for your peas,” instead of “Don’t eat with your hands!”

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • “How fast can you put on your shoes?”
  • “Running is for outside.”
  • “Use your soft voice inside.”
  • “Let’s see if there’s a better way to do this.”
  • “Show me your gentle hands.”

It takes lots of practice to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, but it’s well worth it!

What positive phrases are you already using with your children?

Amy Sue

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