Whenever you open your mouth to say the words “don’t,” “no,” “not,” “stop,” or any other similar negative word, pause. Then, replace the negative word with a positive alternative. This way, your words convey a positive suggestion, rather than a negative reprimand. For example, if you are about to say, “Stop teasing your sister!”, pause, and instead say, “You can either come help me in the kitchen, or you may go upstairs and play on the computer until dinner is ready.” If he is not convinced, then add, “Do you want to decide which you will do by yourself, or should I decide for you?” This usually works if you stick with it!
Kathleen Traylor, M.D.