Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The D-word and the Child

One of the words adults use most often with children is “Don’t”.

The D word
Don’t, don’t, don’t
Used with children often,
Help us it won’t.

Don’t sleep now.
Don’t eat that.

Don’t play now.
Don’t touch that.

Don’t bathe now.
Don’t take that.

The more we say “Don’t”,
The more the child won’t.

Won’t listen.
Won’t bother.
Won’t care.
And will dare,
To do the same,
Which you don’t
Want him to do.

Try and remember instances in your own life when someone kept telling you not to do something that you wanted to do. It must have been frustrating for sure. No doubt, there are circumstances when the D word must be used for valid reasons. But if it rolls off the tongue every few minutes, even when absolutely unnecessary, it can be quite exhausting for the person at the receiving end, who in this context is the child.

After a while, we realise that the more we say ‘Don’t’, the more the child ends up doing whatever it is we do not want him to do. Sometimes, saying ‘Don’t’ becomes a deeply ingrained habit in the adult that is difficult to shake off.

The next time you feel tempted to say ‘Don’t’ to a child, think about whether it is really necessary to say it or whether it is being said as a matter of habit. For instance, if you are at a restaurant and the child is meddling with the spoon that is kept on the table, is it really necessary to say, ‘Don’t’ touch that,”? He is probably just fascinated by the spoon and is exploring its features. Or when you are walking and the child stops to pick up a leaf that is on the ground, is it really necessary to take the leaf away and say, “Don’t touch. Put that down,”?

This practice may seem tiresome initially but the results that it will fetch would be well worth the effort. Sometimes, all it requires is a little patience to understand the child and why he does the things he does.

So, when you cut down on your usage of ‘Don’t’ and especially when unnecessary, it will have a greater impact when a situation demands that you say ‘Don’t’.

Then it is very likely that the child would listen too!

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