No More Negatives

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Several years ago, during my first year teaching, one of my mentors introduced me to a technique that at the time, I thought was totally ridiculous. It was almost the same feeling I had when I was first introduced to the notion of time-out. Well, just as I learned the benefits of using time-out, I learned the benefits of this technique. It is something that I call, no more negatives.

When correcting children, or giving them a command, it is so easy to use negative words: Don’t run. Stop doing that. Didn’t I tell you that you were going to fall? Unfortunately, many parents use these terms between 10-30 times per day, which can cause the following things to happen:

  • Fewer words are used during the conversation.
  • The amount of conversation that children initiate with you is reduced. and,
  • Children learn to speak negatively, at home and at school.

(Eliminating/Reducing) Not using negative words is very hard to do. It means that you really have to think about what you’re saying before you say it, and it will probably take you a little longer to get your message across. It means that instead of using two or three words to communicate with your child, you may actually have a lengthy conversation. Reducing or eliminating negative language when talking to your children also has other benefits:

  • It teaches your child to reason through situations, which is of great benefit when completing classroom assignments, participating in class activities, or interacting with peers.
  • You teach your child how to talk to others. and,
  • You save the negative words for when you really need them.

Charting the number of times you use a negative word or phrase when talking to your child, on a daily basis, will help you see if you need to change the way that you speak to your child. It will also help you see how often you do or don’t have a conversation with our child. Talking to your kids on a regular basis is crucial to your child’s vocabulary and social growth. However, using the wrong tone and choice of words can eliminate the benefits of the conversation.

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