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The Power of Negative Suggestion
I have just realized that I have parenting all wrong.

You see, when I want my children to do something, I ask them. When I find a toy, a book, a song I think they will like, I tell them.

And it seems that my words have the magical effect of making them want to do the exact opposite.

For instance, my youngest daughter isn't much of a reader. But we are studying the War of 1812 (bonus points if you know what year it was fought in!), and I have been trying to get her to read Laura's Choice: The Story of Laura Secord, which is by Connie Brummel Crook, an author she just loves (and that I know personally, by the way).

She has read two of Connie's other books, The Hungry Year and Maple Moon, and loved them both. But she wouldn't read this one because I SAID IT WAS GOOD.

That is obviously a no-no.

After trying for a year, today I finally told her that she had to. I was assigning it in our homeschool.

She whined and cried and flopped all over the living room as she went to get the book and then start to read it. She flailed her arms around and sighed.

And then she read.

And read.

And read.

She read during lunch. She read during dinner (at the table!). She read at bedtime. She is even reading now, even though it is past her bedtime. Normally I would not let her do these things, but as I said, she is not an avid reader. If she finds a book she likes, I want to encourage it.

So next time I find something I think she will like, perhaps I will tell her that she will hate it. That it is not for her. I will make it into a type of dare: "I know you won't like this!" And then maybe she will try it just to get back at me.

What do you think? Does negative suggestion work? Maybe it even works on potential spouses! We tell our kids we hate the guy we secretly want them to marry.... hmm... shall have to give this more thought!

To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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At 9:36 AM , Blogger Tara said…

I'd been trying to get my son to read Charlotte's Web for two years. I tried all summer to get him to read the Encyclopedia Brown books. His third grade teacher had them read both of them. Now he can't get enough.

Find a friend. Have HER suggest that your daughter read those books. She'll read them. :)


At 12:00 PM , Blogger Megan said…

That's my official job as Aunt - I'm still cool enough to my niece that she grabs up any book I recommend. Since I live a few hours away, that may even last a couple more years!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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