Staying Positive

Replace negative "If you" threat sentences with positive
"As soon as" or "When" sentences and neutral,
problem-solving questions. Examples:

-- "If you don't get in the bathtub right
now, there will be no story tonight."

Better: "As soon as you've taken
your bath, we'll have a story."

-- "If you keep leaving your clothes all over the
floor, I won't buy you any more this year."

Better: "When you've picked up
your clothes, we'll start a game."

-- "If you two keep fighting, I'll tell your father
when he comes home and you know what
he'll do to you."

Better: "It seems that you two want the same
book at the same time. What do you think you
could do about that?"

Because children often perceive threats as challenges,
they sometimes repeat the offense just to see what the
parent will do. After threats are not carried out, children
stop taking their parents seriously, resulting in parental
loss of authority. Phrasing the statements as illustrated
above also helps cultivate within children a POSITIVE
ATTITUDE, with innumerable advantages over the
course of their lifetimes.

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