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Happy Kids Happy You: linguistic techniques for parents
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Sue Beever
There are some basic steps which Sue advises we take to get ourselves started. There are various methods explained and using symbols such as a mirror to signify reflection, we are guided through new ways of understanding and tackling conflict. Our journey begins with 'Turning Don'ts into Do's'. As a force of habit and often without even realizing it, most of us spend a great deal of time telling our children what not to do. Sue tells us that within five minutes we can turn a 'don't into a do,' and a 'stop into a go'.

Conceptionally setting out with a negative is not the best way to achieve good behavior or household harmony. Logically, Sue observes: "To understand not doing something it seems the brain first creates an impression of what it is we're not meant to do. This impression can influence us to actually do it." So rather than use words like 'don't', 'stop', 'shouldn't', Sue recommends that we ask ourselves what we say that will encourage our children instead. We can also offer effective choices that will help reduce a child's propensity to say "no". For example, instead of saying "it's bedtime" we can give the child a choice of story to be read. While much of Sue's advice is common sense, negative thinking and bad habits are a huge barrier faced by parents who may not have stopped and reflected on what it is like from the child's point of view.

For Sue coaching parents is a constant learning experience: "There is a lady Leanne who is a case study in the turning Don'ts into Do's section of the book," she explains."I think what always surprises me how simply thinking about what we want has a huge impact in such a simple way in terms of of changing the atmosphere in home. Leanne talks about changing attiudes, that whole release and that initial 'wow' if I just take the moment to think about what I want."


Parenting Editor
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