How can we stop this vicious circle?

Don't use 'Don't......' statements! Here's why....

1. Leads to confusion

The child might not understand the reason why they shouldn’t engage in that behavior.
Therefore, they wouldn’t stop when they are asked to stop. They haven’t had a sense
of right or wrong yet.

2. Negativity

It’s considered the negative term, and has been used excessively to stop what the
child has been doing. Every time when the child hears the word ‘don’t,” it is associated
with pressure and negative feelings.

Don't touch that!

Don't use


Don't climb on the sofa!

Don't run around!

Sound familiar?

You tell your child to stop doing something.

What happens after that?

Child may stop that behaviour in that moment.

After few seconds, the child will start again.

So the loop begins and you may lose your temper after few repeats.


3. Counter-Control

Your child may resist your request and engage in other behaviours to gain back their sense of control. The word 'don't could cause tension in the relationship as your child will want to be a dictator for their own behaviour too.

4. Doesn't teach            replacement behavior

It only tells the child what not to do at the moment, it doesn’t teach what to do or express your expectations. Instead of asking them to stop, let's try to come up with what they can do instead!

What can I do when my child misbehaves?

Try these 3 easy steps!

Don't use don't
Be clear what you want
Praise them

Don't climb on the sofa!

"Sit on the sofa please"

"Great sitting and watching tv"

Want more examples? Check out our video


Want more parenting tips? Check out other posts

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