Thursday, June 3, 2010

Your Name = Something Positive

This is such an important concept.
One that I think is terribly underlooked by parents everywhere.

Let's start with a story:
I went to visit a friend, and noticed her kids playing in the backyard.
I wanted to say hello, so I went out and called one of them by name.

Instantly, the child's head shrunk into his shoulders, and he had a terrified look on his face (you know, that 'body language' your kids always do when they know they are in trouble).

I took the next minute or so reassuring him that I just wanted to say hello and that he hadn't done anything wrong.

The point?
He was so used to hearing "DAVID!" every time he got into trouble that he was associating his name with something negative.

It should be exactly the opposite:

Name = Positive
A name is the word we use to represent ourselves and others.
You want your child to think of their name as a positive representation, rather than a negative one.

Here's How:

* Don't use your child's name repeatedly:
For example: "Cannon, can you bring that to me?  Go sit down Cannon.  Come here Cannon.  Cannon, leave it alone.  Not right now Cannon.  Cannon, don't ignore me!  Cannon, Cannon, Cannon! (You get the idea).

Whether it is to get their attention or to discipline, most phrases can be used without adding their name to it.  You can just as easily say, "Hey, I'm talking to you, please listen to me".

Also, their name will lose meaning if that is what he/she continually hears (ever wonder why you have to call them by name 15 times, getting louder each time, before they respond?)  It's because you use their name repeatedly.

* Try to avoid using their name for discipline
For example: "Cannon Aaron Denna get back here NOW!"
Every time you do this, your child associates his name with trouble.
Meaning: their name = a negative experience.
Just as before, it is just as effective without the name.

And finally,

* Use your child's name when praising them
For example: "Good Job Cannon!"
If you do this, your child will associate his name with positive experiences, and most importantly, will associate his name with feeling success.

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