Sunday, February 22, 2009

My First English Post

This is my first post in English. I write in Romanian because this is my mother tongue and words are popping up into my mind easier and more natural. It's like eating a pizza that you really enjoy. I have a lot of friends that are English speakers only, so this post is a dedication for them. I would really like to have a bilingual (Romanian and English) blog, and become international. The only impediment that I find is that I don't have the time to write the same post in two languages.

There is a great blog that I'm following, called The Happiness Project. I enjoyed reading one of the posts, and I decided to quote it on my blog. The lady writing the blog is a mother and I find some of her ideas just great. Here it goes:

My three-year-old hates being told “No” and “Don’t,” and she’s also one of those kids who immediately does exactly what you ask her not to do, so I’ve had to develop some strategies to get the “No” message across without unleashing the very behavior I want to stop.
I realized that although she doesn’t want to hear “no,” my daughter responds very well to certain kinds of explanations. While “It’s not healthy,” “We don’t have time,” and “I don’t want to buy that” don’t work very well, other justifications for saying “no” are more effective:

1. "It’s for safety.” For some reason, my daughter wisely accepts safety as an absolute directive, so I invoke it whenever possible. For example, I characterized the “no slamming doors” rule as a safety rule, not a noise/behavior rule. “When people slam doors, eventually, people get their fingers smashed. So for safety, no slamming doors.”

2. "That’s just for decoration.” We can walk into a store crammed with treats or gimcracks, and when she asks if she can get something, I just say sadly, “They’re just for decoration, they’re not for sale.” She never questions this!

3. "The doctor says…” Invoking the authority of a doctor, dentist, teacher, or grandparent often makes a message acceptable. “The Yellow Room teachers say children must wear mittens to schools, not gloves.” “I know you don’t feel like brushing your teeth, but Dr. Smith says it’s very important to brush every night.” I’m not above pretending to send an email to get a particular answer.

4. "I know you know.” My daughter hates being told “Don’t,” and she loves to show that she’s a big girl. So I often say things like, “I know you know this, but other children don’t know that you shouldn’t tap on the glass of a fish tank. They don’t know that the noise bothers the fish. Fortunately for the fish, you already know that.”

5. "The sign says…” Like most children who can’t yet read, my daughter is extremely impressed by the power of the written word. She will obey any sign. And because she can’t read, a sign can say anything that I want it to say.
Looking at the list, I’m struck by how devious and manipulative I sound. Oh well, I’m using my powers for good.


Dili said...

These 5 ideas are so gooood.... The second and the fifth really worked many times for my daughter, I'll surely try the others too!
I've also tried to avoid saying "no" by giving her an alternative to the forbidden things (instead of saying "don't play with my cellular" I told her to play with a specific doll in some attractive way)
Good luck with your bilingual blog if you have the time for it, you should also try a translation widget :-)

Unknown said...

I already have a translation widget installed, because as I said in my post, a lot of my friends are English speakers. The thing is that that translator does just the wording, so sometimes it can sound weird. Anyway, thank you for your wishes!

kiddo said...

very very good article, I will keep in mind for the future this way of saying "don't" to the children.

Manu said...

I will certainly use these tips.. very good ideas, especially for Luca that hates "No" and "Don't"

Unknown said...

Welcome back to the blog, Manu!

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