Chapter 12: Practice “Don’t Say Don’t”
The past two chapters, you’ve learned two very powerful tools, including the most-effective five-star tool:
- Don’t Say Don’t
a. Use positive words to make requests that describe the behavior you want to see.
- No No’s
a. Deny requests using positive words.
These tools, when you use them as a part of your daily parenting, can prevent many types of misbehavior and problems. So I want you to take today to just practice using these tools before you learn the remaining tools in the Prevention Toolbox.
Here’s a fun way to practice them. You just need a partner. Even your child can be your partner, but I’ll warn you that once your child learns this tool, they may have some fun with you later to test your skills or remind you to use the tool when you forget. If you are open to that feedback and won’t get defensive, then it will dramatically speed up your mastery of this most-important skill!
Simon Won’t Say “Don’t”
Get a partner and stand facing each other. Decide who will be “Simon” first.
Round 1: do for 1 minute
Simon will give his/her partner commands of what TO do. Simon is not allowed to use the words “Don’t, Stop, Quit or No.” If the partner hears any of those words, they are to ignore what Simon said and not follow the command.
Round 2: do for two minutes
Whoever is not Simon does whatever he/she wants to do. (Such as jump, stand, or run.) Simon must make the partner stop that action and do a different, related action (such as “stand still, sit, or walk) without touching the partner or using the words “Don’t, Stop, Quit or No.”
Trade places and do both rounds again. If you want to see my presentation of this tool and Round 2 of the game in action, watch this Parents Toolshop YouTube Channel video beginning at minute 8:22.
Process by asking yourself:
- Which kinds of commands are easier to follow, those that tell you want TO do or those that tell you to stop/quit/don’t do something?
- Which kinds of commands are easier to give, telling people don’t/stop/quit or telling them what you want them TO do?
- If you think it’s easier to use don’t/no/stop/quit, but know someone is more likely to do what you want them to do if you use positive words, are you willing to make the extra effort to give descriptions that help them cooperate faster and better?