Train yourself to acknowledge their behavior without a judgment, such as “You chose to sit the other way on the chair” or “You colored the grass purple instead”.

This gives them the freedom to be creative and discover things without expectations.

I will also give the Play Therapy based alternative with a short explanation of why it is more effective.

You can always rephrase the sentence from a negative to a positive, which will correct the behavior without sounding critical.

Train yourself to say what you want them to do instead of what you don’t. Notice the common element is starting with the word “you” and then acknowledging what they worked at, rather than what you think about it.

“If you choose to (continue that behavior), you choose to (receive whatever consequence has already been established as a punishment)”.

You might say, “Erin, if you choose to poke your sister again, you choose to not watch TV for the rest of the day”.

Encouragement, and this phrase is arguably the most commonly spoken praise children hear. Instead of cutting off the conversation, you can say, “I know you want my answer to be different, but it will not change”.

You can also train yourself to make sure the child fully understands your response, with “I just told you my answer. ” This allows the child to present their opinion or get clarification.

” This gives the child respect and responsibility for their actions.

I can’t tell you the number of times I hear that phrase when around other parents, even though it is highly ineffective.

Of course, there will be times when a task must be completed in a certain fashion (homework, etc.).