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“I tried everything!” : The trap of negative form

“I tried everything!” : The trap of negation

A revelation, thanks to Isabelle Filliozat’s book, “J’ai tout essayé !” (« I tried everything! ») : the trap of negative form.

The brain of toddlers (before three years old) doesn’t know well how to cope with negation yet.

So, if we tell them “We do not go on the road”, he understands better “go” and “road” that “do not”.

In the end, we are nearly encouraging him!

So, let’s keep our sentences affirmative, and say instead “We stay on the sidewalk.” (Note these are not orders, but rules, exactly as is suggested in Liberated Parents, Liberated Children, in the chapter about anger)

Ever since I read this, I found many ways to put it in practice, and to change my negations into affirmations. Instructions are probably better understood, and, non negligible advantage, it makes the mood more positive ! (That’s probably why we talk of positive parenting!)

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