Breaking the Habit- Negatives - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-26-2009, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some advice on how to break away from using negatives ("no" "don't" "quit" "stop") and start offering alternatives/redirection instead. I know that this is what I want to be doing- I WANT to say YES to everything he wants! I just can't break my old habits of "No no no" "please stop touching" "don't hit" "quit biting." I have found that I've started to replace don't hit with "let's be gentle" and "show me gentle touches" but I am having trouble with IMPLEMENTING redirection vs "NO" in other situations.

(reference: DS is 15 months old so all of this is very new with him and the habit of me saying "no" to him dates back only a couple of months (to the beginning of walking,) however I have a gaggle of little sibling to whom I feel like I've been saying "no" for my entire existence More proof that "no" doesn't work eh? So the habit is very solidified in my mind.)

Anyway, how do you break the habit?
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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I found that it's best to work on this situation by situation.

So, you've made a great start with changing "don't hit" to "be gentle". What's the next one that you say most often? What specific situations are bothering you? What do you want him to do instead?

Some suggestions:
Food stays on your plate (for the inevitable food-dropping stage).
Stay on the sidewalk.
Feet on the floor.
Sit in the chair.
Keep the water in the sink/tub.
Let's roll the ball.
Put the ball down.
Here's a toy you can throw/bite.

The other thing I'd recommend is to set up your house so that some of the most common reasons to say no are eliminated. If you're saying "no, don't touch", then block access or move the stuff. He won't be 15 months forever.

One thing that helped me was to think about what my child was trying to do, and see if I could find a way to let them do something similar. They want to throw? Let's go outside. If we can't do that, then let's find a balloon or soft ball to throw. They want to play in my mop bucket? Nope, can't happen, but I can set up a dishpan on a big towel for them to play in.

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Old 10-27-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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Thanks for this question. I am also interested to see responses since I am the same as you, trying to stop the negatives in favor of positive redirection.

The one I am having the most trouble with is getting her to stop pushing buttons - The TV, the VCR, and under the computer, she likes to push the button that opens and closes the CD drive. I think she needs better, more stimulating toys, but Christmas is coming, and I don't wanna go out and spend a bunch of money on toys literally RIGHT before I go out and spend a bunch of money on toys.

~ Erinn ~ I believe in the power of a good conversation, a good book, a good cup of coffee, a good glass of wine, and a good nap.  Not necessarily in that order. 
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:13 PM
 
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Instead of focusing on changing your words, could you try to overhaul your thought process?
What I mean is this: I looked at it as DS had a legitimate desire to do something, to explore, to learn. So my goal was to find a related activity that would satisfy his impulses, and not simply to get him to stop what he was doing. kwim?
So if he was banging a block on the window, I'd try to give him another outlet that IS ok to do- wipe the window with a cloth, bang on the floor with the block, or build with the blocks, etc. This gives them a method of controlling impulses in the future (instead of just stopping), let's them know that you're on their side (and you want them to be able to do it, just in a socially acceptable way), and is far less frustrating for them (because they still get to satisfy their impulse).

I don't necessarily avoid saying "no" or "don't." I just always try to give an alternative that satisfies the original impulse.

Maybe if you look at it that way, then your language will naturally become more positive.

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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Old 10-27-2009, 06:34 PM
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just want to say i am really glad someone posted this thread. DD Is only 4.5mo but i sometimes find myself saying no if she is pulling my hair or something, as if she understands no right?? I have been trying to train myself early now and i say to her be gentle with mommy's hair or something like that. i know she can't understand me but i am trying to train myself for the future!!

Bump for all the good info
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevaMajka View Post
I just always try to give an alternative that satisfies the original impulse.
This is a wonderful way of approaching it. Sometimes I find myself letting DD do things that hurt me because I want her to be able to explore on her own impulses.

DevaMajka is incredibly gentle.

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Old 10-28-2009, 06:41 PM
 
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Lynn and Becky for the fantastic ideas! Your examples were just what I needed. Great info here!
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