Can you relate to this parenting fail?
My two-year-old son teetered on the peak of the dog house.
“Don’t fall!” I yelled.
I expected an accident and I talked about an accident. And sure enough, an accident is what I got. I should have pictured a safe behavior and told my son how to stay safe. I should have told him what to DO: “Stand very still!”
Now it’s your turn.
Your daughter is racing down the sidewalk ahead of you, toward a busy intersection. Pushing your baby in the stroller, you can’t keep up. What do you do?
Picture what you want to see happen, and tell her something like:
- “Hold onto the stop sign at the corner!”
- “Wait for me by the cross walk button!”
- “Now run back and tag the stroller!”
And when she does it, give her a big smile, a hug, and some of her favorite encouraging words:
- “You did it!”
- “What a good waiter you are!”
- “Wow! You ran back so fast!”
- “I’m so glad I can trust you to do the right thing!”
It takes some quick thinking, but you can learn to do more than “Just Say No”. You can give your child a good behavior to DO. It’s powerful.
Your child will know what you want from her–what she can DO with all her energy. She won’t feel blocked by hearing, “No, don’t do that.” Instead, she’ll feel smart when she knows what to DO.
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